The art of flower arranging - with Rachel Petheram
Kair’s jewel-toned frosted glass bottles don’t only look good on your utility room worktop. After treating yourself to a luxe laundry day like no other, you can repurpose them as a colourful vase (discover other ways our packaging is more than a bottle). From fresh cut flowers, to long-lasting dried bouquets, to fluffy pampas stems, our bottles are as versatile as they’re sustainable. With the upcoming RHS Flower Show, we spoke to Rachel Petheram - artisan florist, experienced teacher, founder of Catkin (@catkinflowers), and ardent champion of British-grown flowers - who here shares her top tips on how to arrange flowers yourself, so you can show off your Kair bottles and seasonal blooms in style.
1) Grow your own
Petheram grows many of her own cut flowers for her floristry business in the stunning walled kitchen garden of Doddington Hall in Lincolnshire, but assures us that it’s easy to grow your own flowers at home. “Not only do they look beautiful”, she explains, “but they play a big role in increasing biodiversity in our outside spaces”.
2) Cut and condition
If you’re cutting flowers to bring inside, it’s important to always start by conditioning them, which simply means allowing the flowers to sit in deep water for several hours in a cool place. “This allows them to recover from the shock of being cut and to hydrate before you bring them inside so they will last longer”, Petheram explains.
3) Strip the stems
After giving your flowers a drink, strip the leaves from the stems, so that they’re nice and clean. This makes them easier to handle, while also helping to keep the water clean - you wouldn’t want to end up with mushy leaves inside your bottle! Then rinse the stems under water, to remove any bacteria lurking around the base, before cutting them at a 45-degree angle whilst still under the tap (again to limit bacteria transferring from the scissors). Be sure to also clean your bottle before transferring the flowers, using soap and water.
4) Select your specimens
Petheram recommends selecting a good range of different shapes and a mix of flowers, foliage, and interesting bits like seed heads or grasses. To make your arrangements smell delicious, you can either choose beautifully scented garden flowers (such as sweet peas, roses, lily of the valley), or add in herbs like mint, fennel, lemon balm, or rosemary to flowers without their own natural fragrance. “These plants have a great vase life and add gorgeous texture and fragrance”, Petheram enthuses. For a super clean, fresh look, simply pair our blue bottles with a selection of green garden herbs, as below, then add a pop of contrasting purple to elevate the arrangement and bring a sense of refinement.
5) Play with variety
After picking out your flowers, it’s time to arrange them. Petheram advises playing with stems of different shapes and heights, taking inspiration from how flowers grow naturally in a garden: “have some that are tall to add height, some glamorous ones at the front, some filler to add lightness”. Colour variation is also super important, depending on the mood you want to create. Here we’ve gone for a fresh, vibrant, uplifting and confident aesthetic mixing strong, eye-catching colours, to capture the essence of Kair’s signature scents.
6) Remember to water
Once you’re happy with your arrangement, make sure the stems are in the water, and keep them out of both sunlight and direct heat. Be sure to also top up the water every day.
Now you know how to make the most of both your Kair bottles and fragrant florals. Be sure to share your own arrangements with us @kair.care - we’d love to see them!
All images by Dr Rachel Petheram