Flower School

The Flower Fix is a floral fantasy of DIY arrangements from British florist Anna Potter. While her creations are true works of art, the step-by-step guidance and refreshing wisdom contained within prove that any flower lover can become an ad hoc florist if fueled with enough inspiration and confidence.

Florist Anna Potter’s rambling, wild arrangements first caught our eye on Instagram, where we tend to obsess over all things floral. Potter’s approach, which is equal parts Dutch Master and haute hippie, yields artistic creations that spill over with color and texture: think smokebush fronds and ranunculus, heady garden roses and delicate, wiry sweet peas. When we learned of her book, The Flower Fix, obtaining a copy ASAP was the order of the day. This summer you’ll find us in the garden, clipping and arranging via the 26 inspiring tutorials in the beyond-beautiful tome. We caught up with Potter at her Sheffield, England studio, Swallows and Damsons, to chat about her book and our collective love of all types of blooms.

We’re also thrilled to share two summer arrangement tutorials from The Flower Fix, which bring the beauty of the season indoors.

How did you fall in love with flowers?
My flower journey really began when I was just a small child. We had a big garden growing up and my Nana used to grow many different varieties of roses, which I used to enjoy picking and pulping the petals into perfume.

What sort of trial-and-error did you work through when finding your footing as a florist?
Learning the rules, techniques and methods and then relearning how to break them and being fully led by the flowers themselves: how they move, the weight of each stem, which direction they turn and how long they will last as a cut flower.

Sustainability is tricky when it comes to flowers. Can you offer some tips on how to be a flower lover and remain sustainable?
Buy locally and seasonally whenever possible, avoid unnecessary plastic wrappers or floral foam.

Like us, you are on record as being a rose lover—do you have any favorites? Do you love them for fragrances or their look (or both?).
I love them in any way shape or form.

"The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is." - Paulo Coelho

If you had to look at only one flower for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A tatty and speckled garden rose in full bloom.

Your book with photographer India Hobson has such gorgeous inspiration for creating arrangements. How do you create these floral art beauties?
Every arrangement is approached in a different way. It’s more about considering your environment, vessel, your ingredients and what feeling you hope the arrangement will invoke. From that point, it’s a playful and experimental process.

What are three pieces of advice you have for at-home floral tinkerers?
Experiment. Be curious. Don’t be afraid of failing.

Bring the Wild Inside

A bouquet to celebrate nature

Try this joyful tumble of flowers in the more formal parts of your home, or even the workplace, to bring a bit of wild nature into the man-made world as a reminder of the untameable and free.

Copper jug
Chicken wire, measuring 30 x 30cm (1 x 1ft)
Wire cutters
Florist’s pot tape
Strong scissors or secateurs
Spirea blossom x 6 branches
Icelandic poppy x 2 stems
Ranunculus x 8 stems
Narcissus x 8 stems
Brown sedum x 3 stems
Fritillaria imperialis x 3 stems

Start by creating a chicken wire base inside the copper pot, then place the spirea in the chicken wire structure, using the branches to determine the height, width and basic shape of the overall design. To this structure, add the poppies, ranunculus and narcissi, instinctively distributing the blooms evenly, while following the shape of your design. The fragility of these blooms inspires an innate sympathy between their transient nature and the hard permanence of the environment in which they have been placed.
2. The brown sedum will have weathered and dried in the garden over a harsh winter, so adding contrast to the fresh spring blooms and young foliage – a hint of the past season giving way to the new. Use this to fill in the spaces in your design and fill out the shape.
3. Finally, place the Fritillaria imperialis high in the arrangement to show off the bloom’s architectural form. They make the perfect finishing touch to this glorious celebration of nature’s wild, eccentric glory.

Flowers for Gratitude

A mix of summer’s bounty to inspire thankfulness

This bountiful arrangement, bursting with a wealth of blooms and fruits we enjoy in summer, celebrates the season’s abundance by bringing it into the home.

Terracotta bowl, 20cm (8in) in diameter
Chicken wire measuring 30 x 30cm (1 x 1ft)
Wire cutters
Florist’s pot tape
Strong scissors or secateurs
Mock orange x 5 stems
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’ x 5 branches
Euphorbia x 5 stems
Smoke bush x 3 stems
Garden rose x 10 stems
Echinacea x 5 stems
Daucus x 7 stems
Spray rose x 2 stems
Chocolate sunflower x 3 stems

 Start by creating a chicken-wire base in your bowl. Build a base of foliage in a variety of tones, using the mock orange, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’, euphorbia and smoke bush. Here, one particularly heavy mock orange stem tumbles over the side of the vase and sets the draping shape of the arrangement.
2. Place the roses next, following the shape already set by the foliage. Use any stronger, straighter stems higher up in the arrangement and place heavy-headed blooms that bend their stems lower down, cascading over the sides of the bowl. Now fill any gaps with echinacea, daucus and spray rose stems, mainly focusing on color balance when placing them.
3. I refrained from adding the sunflowers until the end for the fear of their large heads and dramatic dark centers detracting from the delicate nature of the roses. I was somewhat surprised, however, that they worked in a completely different way: the dark centers dance with the dark Physocarpus and they imitate, on a larger scale, the echinacea. Use your stems to balance the arrangement either side; refrain from placing them too centrally or tucked in.

Projects taken from The Flower Fix by Anna Potter,
published by White Lion Publishing.

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