Next Sunday (13th) we’re hosting Margot’s Wedding Fair at The Worthing Dome. If you’re coming along you’ll be able to meet Petra from Sussex Florals and view her blooms. Here we get to know Petra a little better with a Q&A.
Q. What’s your background and how did you get into flowers?
A. I used to have a business importing and designing wrought iron furniture. We had a garden furniture range, which brought me to the Chelsea Flower Show where we used to exhibit every spring. I remember the first time I stepped into the Great Pavilion I was just hooked, seeing the flowers really got me mesmerised. When we moved into our house seven years ago we inherited a gorgeous garden, with an abundance of flowerbeds and I just loved learning more and more about flowers and started picking them and experimenting with different colour combinations, I thought I would love to do this for a living and enrolled in a course at Plumpton college and, well here I am doing what I do and loving it every day.
Q. How would you describe your style?
A. I am quite rustic, I love creating flowing designs and do a lot of barn and outdoor weddings, but I also love elegant and simple designs that work well in gorgeous old manor houses. So, ‘rustic elegance’ if that can be a thing! It really is hard to define an exact style as every wedding and event I work on is so different. It depends so much on the venue and theme, the colours and so much more…
Q. What’s your favourite thing about your job?
A. There are so many things I love about it, but my favourite part is meeting the lovely couples, going through their ideas and visions and then turning them into reality. I just love the wedding morning too when everything is set up, installed and all in it’s place. I think ‘wow this looks just as I imagined it’.
Q. We know you did Sophie & Nick’s beautiful flowers. We absolutely loved the look of that wedding. How much fun was it dressing that tractor with flowers?! What was your brief for that event?
A. Ah thanks, it really was one of my favourite weddings this summer. The brief was ‘country meadow’ i.e. a ‘just picked’ look. I wanted the tractor to look like it had the meadow simply growing on it, so it looked like it was always there. I used lots of seasonal flowers, like delphiniums and scabious in pastel blues and pinks and of courses Sophie’s father’s home grown sweet peas which added such a special touch. It really was such good fun creating their arrangements.
Above photos: Katie Rogers
Q. What other unique/memorable jobs can you tell us about?
A. I worked on a really lovely wedding at Hyde Estate, it was also a marquee wedding and from my first meeting with the lovely bride Nikki we had a vision of bringing the outdoors in and one main element was to cover to the three large wooden tent poles in the marquee somehow. We first thought just ivy trailing to cover them, but I wanted to create more of a wow factor and then had the idea of a cluster of flowers in the middle of the poles, almost chandelier like, it turned out beautifully. The venue is on a beautiful little lake so we also used lovely glass cylinders filled with water and floating candles and surrounded by a gorgeous foliage and floral wreath to create the look.
Q. What’s your favourite flower and your favourite colour combos?
A. Now this is a tricky one… at the moment I just love dahlias, they are a such great statement flower and come in so many colours. The cafe au lait which is a gorgeous warm cream is my favourite, it works perfectly with so many combinations. For colour combinations, I do love the simplicity of white and green – though elegant, with the right mix it works well in a rustic setting too.
Above photos: Hana Laurie
Q. What floral trends are you noticing at the moment?
A. Eucalyptus is big again, I am almost always asked for this foliage. It is perfect for sweeping designs and making flowing floral or foliage garlands. Little bottles of flowers are popular as well as so many couples are going for less formal grazing tables which are long and narrow so work really well with both designs.
Q. Tell us about your workshops.
A. I run workshops at various locations through West Sussex and at my home studio. The workshops at the studio are small groups of 4-8 so I can really work with each individual to create their designs. I also offer group workshops at client’s homes and workplace. At the moment we have a lovely autumn pumpkin workshop at the end of October at Great Betley Farmhouse in Henfield. We are also very excited to be hosting the first ever Christmas wreath workshops at the Winter Fair at the South of England Showground in Ardingly. All of our workshops can be booked directly through our website. They are always good fun and it is so nice to see everyone’s finished designs, all are always completely different!
Q. We know you’ve been involved in some beautiful bridal photo shoots. What do you enjoy about providing flowers for shoots?
A. I love working on bridal shoots, it is always such fun getting together with other wedding supplier creatives. There is always a brief and theme and it is nice to add my own creative twist to it. There is also a lot of improvisation and I end up creating on the spot a lot which always pushes my creative boundaries.
Featured photo: Katie Rogers