TBR loves… amaranthus

We used amaranthus in the urns created for the recent Strictly Come Dancing wedding between Karen Hauer and Kevin Clifton at One Great George St, and it’s such a beautiful flower we thought we’d look into it a bit further.

The first thing we found out is that it’s actually cultivated for food in various places across the world! It’s leaves and roots are highly nutritious and supposed to taste a bit like spinach. It’s used widely in Asian, Indian and South American cooking. It has an important role in Aztec history and ritual. In Mexico, the grains are toasted like popcorn and served as a treat with honey and chocolate. It’s known as ‘alegria’, meaning ‘joy’.

But it’s the flowers we’re really interested in. These beautiful tassels come in shades of purple, red, green and gold and the delicate tails sway in the wind. Otherwise known as “Love lies bleeding”, the amaranthus symbolises unfading love and longevity, which makes it perfect for weddings.

One of Aesop’s Fables compares the amaranthus with a rose to illustrate the difference between short-lived and everlasting beauty:

An amaranth planted in a garden near a Rose-Tree, thus addressed it: “What a lovely flower is the Rose, a favorite alike with Gods and with men. I envy you your beauty and your perfume.” The Rose replied, “I indeed, dear Amaranth, flourish but for a brief season! If no cruel hand pluck me from my stem, yet I must perish by an early doom. But thou art immortal and dost never fade, but bloomest for ever in renewed youth.”‪


TBR and Strictly Wedding

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to work on the most fabulous wedding. It was top secret, so we Strictly couldn’t talk about it, but now that the coverage has appeared in Hello! magazine we’re good to go.

So now we say a massive CONGRATULATIONS to Strictly stars Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer!

We were delighted to provide flowers for this star-studded wedding at one of our favourite venues, One Great George Street in London. We worked closely with the venue and the couple to create a theme in contrast to the glitter-bomb bling of the show.  This beautiful couple opted for a softer, romantic theme of pinks and white. We hand-tied Karen and her bridesmaid’s bouquets using a mix of peonies and white and pink roses. Whist Kevin and his groomsmen wore roses in their buttonholes.

The glamour continued with some complimentary pedestals using tones of the two key colours and green: hydrangeas, amaranthus, lisianthus and and lillies contained in vast silver urns.

For the tables at the wedding breakfast – held in the Great Hall – we did a theme of Highs and Lows using towering candelabras and bowls filled with roses and hydrangeas.

Whilst their family, friends, Strictly colleagues and past contestants Susannah Reid and Frankie Bridges looked on, Karen and Kevin performed their first dance to Tom Odell’s Real Love with the AC Academy Children’s choir.

A magical day, best of luck in your future together and, as Bruce would say, “Keep on dancing!”.








RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015

Hoping to make it over to Hampton Court Palace this week before the end of the annual RHS Flower Show, but in the meantime it’s been great to see the highlights on the BBC with good old Monty and John.

Celebrating it’s 25th year, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is an much of a seasonal institution as Chelsea, Glastonbury and Wimbledon. They are expecting over 140k visitors over the course of the week, which finishes on 5th July. The silver anniversary has been marked with the creation of a massive floral birthday cake made using 3,456 red begonias and ipomoea.

The gardens this year look fantastic, and what sets this event apart from something like Chelsea, for example, is that the plots are a lot bigger, so you tend to see more natural displays. One of my favourites won Gold in the Best Show Garden Category:

The Macmillan Legacy Garden, designed by Ann Marie Powell. Of course, Macmillan is an amazing charity that offers both practical and emotional support to those suffering from cancer. The planting is calm, soft and inviting around a large pod-like structure that offers a relaxing space to sit, and from where one can look over the garden and contemplate life’s journey. This is a calm outdoor space with a tranquil atmosphere where small groups or individuals can enjoy a quiet conversation or solitary contemplation. The garden is created to encourage people to consider leaving a legacy or gift in their will to support the work of Macmillan Cancer Support.

I also loved Gold winner of the Best Historial Garden Botanica World Discoveries; Winnie the Pooh Begins his Journey. In this garden we enter an imagined world where A A Milne is writing in his woodland shelter. As he writes, he is inspired by his son Christopher Robin playing with his toys – the original Winnie the Pooh and all the other characters. This is a garden of childhood make believe and adult creativity. There is an Arts and Crafts feel to the shelter with glass bottles and bubbles in a cob wall, which is placed at the end of a large country garden – a writer’s retreat and a child’s chance to play and use his imagination.

And finally, what about Blue Peter Chris Collins’ Henri le Worm Community Garden. A fantastic, fun filled space designed to engage children in the link between what we eat and where it comes from. Divided into five sections, this garden promotes healthy living, looks at growing food, tells of the importance of local produce, and highlights the value and role of nutrients in a healthy diet. The Henri shed has an edible roof, featuring rocket, salad leaves, oriental mustards and herbs. At the heart of the garden is an outdoor kitchen to really drive home the seed to plate message.

It’s on until Sunday – see you there!