Flora Starkey spends most of the year creating sumptuous flower arrangements for the likes of Alexander McQueen and Frieze London. Come Christmas time, however, she also turns her hand to festive wreaths. There are two designs on her website; one prettily traditional filled with rosehips and ivy (first picture), the other in this season’s most fashionable shades of pale lavender, crafted from thistle and eucalyptus (second picture). These can be bought as seen but, as each wreath is made to order, they are really intended as a starting point for people to commission their own unique pieces.
And commission they do: one client asked for a wreath measuring two feet across, another for one containing nothing but roses and Starkey has just completed a composition of hydrangeas, peppercorns and berries. “Nothing is out of the question,” she says, “but the finished piece does have to reflect my style” – which she describes as wild and romantic, inspired by Victorian flower photographs and the work of Dutch masters and renaissance artists.
Starkey only uses fresh materials and considers the ephemeral, fleeting nature of fresh flowers and foliage to be part of their joy. However, wreaths traditionally hang on front doors until Twelfth Night, so she advises clients to choose things that will last outdoors for two to three weeks without anything more than the occasional spritz of water. “It’s best to go for foliage that will dry out and fade well such as heathers, rosehips and berries,” she says.
The wreaths themselves are constructed on a base of damp moss, wired onto a round frame. They come in three standard sizes – 12, 14 or 16in (£80, £95 and £120), but she will make others on request. And provided orders are received by December 15, Starkey will deliver a beautiful, bespoke wreath in time for Christmas anywhere in the UK.