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How to create vibrant floral arrangements for summer

We spoke to Rebecca Ellis – florist for The Runnymede and Managing Director of Lilys Flowers – who shares her insider tips on the best summer flowers and decoration ideas.

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Colour is key

When it comes to making interiors bloom, few things make an impact as much as flowers. But getting it right involves so much more than just picking your favourites. When creating summer décor using flowers, your colour choices are really important. Fresh white, verdant foliage, bold yellows and punchy pinks can really lift the spirits. And whilst you can opt for a more subtle palette of calming pastels and candy floss shades, summer is a time of year when you can display all these colours together, resulting in a beautifully on-trend meadow-inspired look.


Summer Staples

There are so many amazing flowers that are readily available at this time of year. Hydrangea are brilliant if you’re looking to keep things simple – just buy three or five heads (odd numbers work best) and put them together in one vase – it’s incredibly effective, especially if you keep them all the same colour or tone. You can also get some fabulous peonies at this time of year; voluptuous and graceful, their wonderful fragrance and standout colours provide an eye-catching addition to any display. But you’ve got to be quick, the season for this bountiful bloom isn’t long, typically ending late June. Another one of my summer staples is the Clematis. Most commonly known as a plant that winds beautifully through the garden, they can also be purchased as a cut flower – proving great visual impact in a vase.

Bringing the outdoors-in

During summer, I’m always looking for flowers that bring the look and scent of the season inside. Corn flowers are absolutely lovely at this time of year as is larkspur. The tall spires of tissue-like blooms really give you that meadow feel and are surprisingly long lasting. Another of my current favourites is the Geranium and although the flowers are lovely – I often choose it for the foliage which can be beautiful in arrangements. But I have to say, during the summer months I love using herbs in arrangements – not only are they wonderfully aromatic but brilliantly unexpected. Mint is particularly versatile and you can get flowering mint too (it also looks great in a jug of Pimms!). Basil is another good one but keep an eye out for the purple variety which can be very effective next to some lavender.


Décor with a difference

It’s amazing where you can find inspiration, there are so many items we have around the house that are perfect for displaying the season’s flowers. Jugs, little pails and terracotta pots are ideal. Anything that reminds you of the garden works a treat. Windowsills are ideal for displaying rows of jam jars wrapped with pretty coloured ribbons and filled with delicate summer flowers. One thing I love to do, if we’re having a BBQ with family and friends, is to hang flower-filled jam jars from our pergola over the dining table. It’s brilliant because there are typically always so many bowls, condiments and containers on the table that large bulky arrangements just end up being taken off and put on the floor. Plus, if you’re eating al fresco in the evenings, pop some tea lights into the jars to create a magical atmosphere as the sun goes down.

Go Green

Using foliage in flower displays, as well as for weddings and events, has been a trend for a while now, and this is continuing into the summer. Eucalyptus, trailing jasmine and a range of different ferns and grasses are really effective. I like to make foliage feel more summery by adding clusters of bright summer blooms.


Tropical touches

Another very popular trend at the moment is the use of big glossy leaves. We’ve been seeing these big tropical leaf prints in fashion and interiors recently – and this is definitely transcending into the use of flowers and greenery as decorations. In fact, we’ve just re-done all the plants at The Runnymede on Thames, using species such as Monstera, the Aspedistra plant and Colocasia Gigantea – which means ‘elephant ear plant’. These plants are really evocative – I love them!

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