In the third week of an intensive 4-week floral course for a Paris School of Florists’ Adult Training session, the group of 19 took a trip to the bonsai greenhouses of the Vallée-aux-Loups in Châtenay-Malabry, where they were greeted by the century-old evergreen below:
After this wowing experience, they soon reached the bonsai greenhouses, where more awesome treasures awaited them . The first stop was in the temperate greenhouse to learn about the history, the background, and the stories related to these age-old bonsais or “penjing” for the Chinese, originators of this ancient art.
It was then time to visit the tropical greenhouse, where they were instructed about repotting, watering, care, and maintenance of these precious miniature landscapes.
Here’s a look at a couple of bonsais that are kept outdoors all year long:
The ideal time to visit the park, which is walking distance from the RER B Robinson stop, is in spring to appreciate all of its attractions.
I’m sure you have all heard of the movie The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann, the stunning adaptation of the book by Scott Fitzgerald with the main subject being love. As it embodies the Art Deco movement, gorgeous flowers were brought into play to embellish the scenes. It begins with a nob with one of the protagonist who was named Daisy to symbolise innocence, fragility and purity.
For the flowers, they chose to use only white ones to emphasise Daisy’s innocence and wholesome personality. It was exclusively noble flowers like phalaenopsis, cymbidium, and dendrobium orchids, which are very delicate and expensive, no doubt even much more during the days of the prohibition in the 20s.
This scene above provides us with very abundant, very luxurious, and very rococo floral arrangements. We can see that Gatsby is extremely wealthy and spares no expense to impress and seduce his beloved Daisy. He wants to regain her love in anyway possible even if utterly exuberant, knowing that flowers are a very powerful way to express a feeling, an emotion, a desire…
Will his efforts be in vain? Or will he be able to seduce her again?
As there are no spoilers here, you will have to see this beautiful movie to find out for yourself if all his floral efforts paid off!
Since their Inception, houses like Dior, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton have been working in association with plumassiers, one of the most important in Paris being “Maison Lemarié”.
Thoroughness is the most important asset in this job, in which the plumassier transforms ostrich, cock, pheasant, goose and other feathers into accessories for hats, for haute couture and for the entertainment universe. Feathers are as fragile and delicate as flowers and that’s why some artists have taken it upon themselves to create their sensations.
Beside feathers, flowers have held on to their place on the fashion scene, as we can see in this Louis Vuitton fashion show of its 2020 Spring-Summer Collection.
Meanwhile, some floral designers have also made fashion their playgrounds, such as Pierre Banchereau, a former student of the Paris School of Florists and owner of Debeaulieu; Flora Starkey, a bespoke floral designer based in central London; and Azuma Makoto, a Japanese flower artist and botanical sculptor. From these designers, we can catch a view of inspirations from Flemish masters, heritages of English gardens, and the Japanese art of ikebana.
In Paris, Tokyo or London, these three artists work in sync with fashion designers to redesign life through plants and flowers.
The attraction of opposites, the fragility of the petal, and the morbid solidity of the ice largely contributed to the surreal atmosphere of this collection, featuring "women gardens" because for this creator based in Tokyo, a floral composition is as much a craft as a conceptual art.
Like a cure to a gloomy mood, flowers upholster fabrics like the podiums of the season. Perfumes, textures, and colors are sources of inspiration, while these poetic connections give birth to new ephemeral pleasures.
Flowers are also the muse of perfumers
We have seen perfumes as the symbol of femininity for a long time, and then as a symbol of romanticism.
In perfumes, they know their glory hour in figurative bouquets, then in single flower vases, which undress them to show them in their simplest forms. Then they get crushed, a little, a lot, passionately … Since then, year after year, the flowers have come back, like swallows in spring. It is no coincidence, the season being that of love, their petals will never fail to fall.
Each and every year, florists must stretch their imaginations and reinvent themselves in order to offer their customers some brand new floral dreams.
Mrs Dupont wants something fabulous to beautify her refined tablecloth and her porcelain crockery, and this year, she will need to amaze her guests with glitter, delicate flowers and some succulent hors d’œuvres.
The perfect centerpiece must fill several criteria:
– In order to not destroy the “fabulous silk tablecloth”, it must be absolutely waterproof. – The flowers used mustn’t emit a strong fragrance; otherwise, it would ruin the flavours of the stuffed turkey. – The very purpose of Christmas is to gather and enjoy some good family time; therefore, the centerpiece must be quite low. Indeed, the guests need to see each other and talk while eating. – If there are any children around the table, there mustn’t be any poisonous berries in the composition. It would be a shame to be taken to the hospital before the opening of presents. – And obviously the flowers must be chosen very meticulously and be absolutely impeccable since everybody will be seated around the composition for about four hours. Consequently, even a tiny spot on a petal will be noticeable.
There’s a very thin line between a festive and original centerpiece and an outmoded composition shaped like a Christmas pudding; therefore, the traditional association of red and white must be very subtle. This year’s trend was placed under the notion of refinement and purity. White and gold, white and blush pink with a dash of silver, or even a hint of purple.
As for the elements used, the most appropriate ones are indeed seasonal flowers and foliage:
Beautiful buttercups or Ranunculuses
The famous hellebores, also called Christmas roses
And of course for the greenery, especially different kinds of pine and fir tree branches
The original touch remains in tinted foliage such as golden eucalyptus and golden skimmia.
Mrs Dupont had a fabulous centerpiece to ornament her table. Her guests were particularly pleased by both the dinner and the table decoration. She can now put the composition on the mantelpiece and enjoy it for a week, provided she pours a little bit of water in the centre of the arrangement every two days.
In terms of cultivation, roses are the most produced flowers in the world, and because of technical difficulties , such as transport, handling, state-of-the-art growing techniques and more, the production of roses have for many years been a business conducted on land in the northern hemisphere.
However, in recent years, with the progress in manufacturing techniques, and the many new species created to withstand different climatic environments, producers have been able to broaden their cultivation in countries where it was once impossible to grow them in, such as Israel , Kenya and Latin America .
The French production of roses is the leader in France in terms of the ground production field, and in 2001, the census taken reported that the country produced 233,000 stems per year. Since then the French production has diminished greatly. In 2007, the census was that of 190,000 stems, hence a drop of 18.7% in production. Most of the country’s rose production comes from the Occitanie, a south-east region of France, which claims 39% of the production, or one in two roses.
Unfortunately, we can witness a decrease in the areas of production in France due to the pressures of urbanisation, the rise in production costs, and very fierce international competition as well. Furthermore in the Parisian region, there used to be many rose farms, but they were usually family businesses and when it came time to pass the production on to the children to carry on the business, many of them decided to take on a career other than horticulture. The consequence of these decisions has led to the loss of many Parisian rose farms.
So we can infer that with the current economic state of the world, the domination of the Netherlands in flower production, and the trampling on the tradition of family-owned operations, the future of French-rooted rose production is not looking very bright.
To ring in Christmas 2019, you are invited to Pavillion 18 at the Floral Park in Vincennes to see the Paris School of Florists’ creation of an Enchanted Forest. There you will find, among other sculptures and Christmas delights, our cat-tailed plant structure, created with natural elements to bring life to our original sketch below:
Our concept: Work from a rectangle shape to break away from the conventional constructs of Christmas decor like circles, wreaths, triangles or pine trees. Moreover, we wanted to realize a modern structure with the majority of its parts in natural elements like dried pandanus leaves, different kinds of pine cones, natural moss, pine branches, and cinnamon sticks, with a bit of sprinkling of Christmas decorations and floristry material.
First, we cut a block of polystyrene for the support, then we stuck natural moss in the middle of each side and on the top of the structure. Ambre and Julie stuck pine cones and Christmas balls onto the moss while Franck was making cat tails with wired raffia and pine cone ends. In Act II, we glued pandanus on the other parts of the structure by layering the dried leaves and giving them a hairy look as you can see in the picture below:
As a conclusion, we were very pleased with this structure because we imagined and created it all by ourselves, and we were also intrigued to find different ways of using the materials at hand in an attractive and elegant manner. Happy Christmas everyone!