Waitrose and Partners Weekend Issue 579

43 25 NOVEMB ER 2021 healthcare. Both loved arranging flowers for fun but didn’t see their style reflected inmainstreamfloristry. “Tome, it seemed like a very traditional British industry until Instagram showedme what was going on in NewYork, Sydney and Lisbon,” says Romy. An idea began to blossom, and they launched Sage. “We didn’t want to be traditional,” Romy adds. “We wanted to stand out.” They certainly do that. Alongside their burgundy and pink wreath, they’ve created a blue and purple version, finished with feathery asparagus fern. “Flu y stu ’s pretty consistent here,” laughs Iona. “It adds an element of playfulness that we love.” Another design uses pampas grass, shot through with zingy green stipa. “You can’t escape colour,” says Iona. “Green will always be there, but we use unexpected tones and textures, too.” During the festive season, when British blooms are in short supply, dried flowers and grasses have the chance to really shine. Plus, unlike fresh foliage, they will last forever. “Our wreaths really will stand the test of time,” says Romy. “You can wrap themup and store them in a drawer for next year.” Or, you could keep themon display. Who said wreaths were just for Christmas? “You could hang themon the wall as decorations long after December,” says Iona. The pair also suggest using a wreath as a centrepiece for the Christmas table, placing a candle in the middle. Miniature versions, with tealights at the centre, make great place settings, too. Green-fingered customers flock to the south-east London studio for Sage’s popular wreath-making workshops. “Demand has really gone up,” says Iona, who puts the influx of interest down to shows such as The Great British Bake O and Sewing Bee , which both inspire viewers to get inventive. “There’s definitely a trend inmaking wreaths at home, too,” she adds. “People want to pick up new skills, especially during the pandemic, whenmany hadmore time.” The pair praise floristry as a great sideline for creative souls who don’t see themselves as conventionally artistic. “I never sawmyself as artistic at school, because I couldn’t drawwell,” says Iona. “But creativity can takemany forms.” For those wanting to step into the ring from the comfort of their own home, the pair suggest using a 14-inchmetal base and typical 24-gauge floristry wire. While there are no ‘rules’, they recommend using dried or freshmaterials, rather thanmixing the two, as the fresh supplies will begin to wilt and ruin the overall aesthetic. Dried helichrysum, broom– and grasses including phalaris, lagurus or wheat all look wonderful and are easily sourced online. You can always forage, too. “Use twigs and leaves that have fallen o trees,” Iona says. “Dyeing thema bright colour is a great way tomake a design really pop,” adds Romy. “Think of it as art through themediumof flowers.” sageflowers.co.uk; @sage.flowers circle of life Romy and Iona ( left to right, main picture) are giving traditional wreaths a new twist

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