February 11 2011
Lucia van der Post
Fake flowers used to get the taste police in quite a tizz. They could see that they were useful, not to mention a great money-saver, but few would allow anything faux to pass through their front door. It is, however, the low season of the year and February, in floral terms, is a crueller month, I think, than TS Eliot’s April. And these days, I notice, faux flowers are blooming in the strangest of places. Partly it’s all those fancy pads put together by interior designers for the international set who don’t like to fall into a flower-free zone when they’re back from their wanderings. A fake orchid here (in a stylish granite box), a great bunch of interesting leaves there, and the house soon begins to look a little more lived-in.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to artificial flowers. Some like them to look as real as possible and to keep them strictly seasonal – white lilies and roses in summer, primroses or blossom in the spring, lots of greenery in winter. Others believe that the whole point of going the fake route is that they should never pretend; they should look as artificial as possible, taking on the role more of sculpture than floral tributes. This accounts for great sticks of bamboo, groups of twigs and other greenery.
Some of the best faux flowers are to be found at Bloom, which has a very comprehensive online shop; they are also sold at two branches of Scotts in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire. All Bloom’s flowers are made entirely from silk and it offers almost every conceivable variety, from extremely chic calla lilies (first picture, large calla lily centrepiece, £149) to droopy country roses that look so real you want to sniff them (from £6 each). And to make them seem even more real, just add a drop or two of its English rose scent (£5) and you can sniff away. Its arrangements come in multifarious moods – chic and geometric in glass containers, all countrified and artless in a sweetly old-fashioned jug or simply as a hand-tied bouquet. (Third picture, Sandringham arrangement, £45.)
Mostly, Bloom sells its collections in ready-made arrangements that arrive with their own bowls or containers. A few single stems are sold – a white ranunculus is £3, and a plum tulip bud £4. Think of how long they last and remember, too, that a single tulip in a vase can look amazingly elegant.
Sia, a Swedish interior design company, also does stunning fake flowers – succulents, gorgeous purple lilies, orchids, hydrangeas – and its website is well worth checking because it is filled with ideas as to how to use them so that they look hip and modern instead of dozy and dust-ridden. (Second picture, hydrangea buds pot, £24.99.) Buy them through Verynice2.com.