The art of flowers

Like a piece of jewellery, flowers have the power to communicate, evoke emotion and mark an occasion in a spectacular way. With an innate sense of style and creativity, Rebecca Grace of Natural Art Flowers has set herself apart as one of Australia’s leading florists through her ability to translate the floral language. Ahead of Mother’s Day, we sat down with her to talk all things floral and being inspired by motherhood.

How did your career start?

One of the many jobs I had while I was at university was working as a florist. After finishing my degree and travelling, I wasn’t 100% sure about what I wanted to do. I went back and worked with the same florist just as an in-between job, thinking that eventually I would get some sort of ‘proper job’ – but never did. I had studied photography, completed an arts degree at the University of Western Australia and also did a post graduate at ECU Mount Lawley before starting a Master of Fine Arts, which I didn’t finish as I was working too much by then. I had never really considered that I could make a career from floristry but I guess that is what I have done. In retrospect, it did fulfil a couple of my requirements, being creative and making things, but most importantly having a job where I don’t need to look neat and tidy.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love making things, but being part of a team environment with the gorgeous girls who work with me is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Of course, the flowers themselves are beautiful – even though they are the same each year, there’s always something new and different to work with. It’s a bit like fashion that way in that things come and go. I always try to evolve and change instead of doing the same thing over and over – apart from being boring, it’s always good to challenge yourself.

Ahead of Mother’s Day, what are some tips for putting together an arrangement at home?

I think it’s always best to keep things simple. Either have a lot of one type of beautiful flower, or alternatively you can buy a few stems of something that is long lasting and special. If you have the right vase, all you need to do is add one beautiful orchid and that will be a feature. You can have something like this in your home to create impact and it will last for ages.

A statement vase with a single stem of phalaenopsis (LHS), peonies (RHS) A statement vase with a single stem of phalaenopsis (LHS), peonies (RHS)

Everyone wants to buy flowers that last. You can often extend the life of your flowers by cutting them down when they start to look a bit droopy and they’ll come back to life again. The other thing you can do is remove the ones that die and then just keep a few. I sometimes have roses by my bed and they last for weeks because I’ve cut them down really short and they don’t have so far to drink the water. Cutting your flowers stems is one of the most critical things in making them last. Also, when buying flowers go for quality and what is looking good at the time.

Key picks for this Mother’s Day?

It is a really good time for roses at the moment as it’s starting to get a little cooler, which means they tend to last a bit longer. Coming into autumn, I love the soft, warm colours that we can work with. I think we’ll probably be getting in some anthuriums and the phalaenopsis orchids are always a good option. I am also loving the disbuds at the moment because there’s so many great colours and they can last really well. Even just a single stem in a vase may be all that a house needs to give it a bit of life. I also like using foliage – five beautiful, big leaves and two stems of one nice flower will often last for a long time and give you extra impact.

Pearls rings and bespoke couture A bouquet of disbuds, roses and peonies

What do you love about being a mum?

My daughter gets involved in the business and has been helping me with work – she came down south with me recently to do a wedding, which was really nice. My son is in year 12 at the moment, but hopefully when he finishes he might come and work with us too. My kids are a lot of fun – they help me to keep my finger on the pulse. Although I think I actually have a pretty good taste in music and culture, they’re always telling me what’s actually cool. Balancing motherhood and work isn’t always very easy, but I’m lucky that when I was young I worked from home and that made it easier. My kids are very understanding and I think they like me being an interesting mum – they get that.

Quick tips

  • Keep it simple – choose either lots of one type of flower, or select a few stems of something long lasting and special to create an impact
  • Choose the right vases – you can make a feature out of a single stem if you have a suitable vessel
  • Trim your stems – this will freshen up your flowers and extend their life
  • Remove dead flowers – you can just keep a few and get the most out of your bouquet
  • Buy quality not quantity – select a few beautiful stems and choose what looks best at the time
  • Use foliage – this will help to extend the life of your bouquet

Throughout, Rebecca wears – pearl strand bracelet, baroque South Sea pearl strand, yellow gold pearl ring, yellow and white gold pearl and diamond ring, the infinity necklace worn together with the infinity bracelet, yellow gold, pearl and diamond cuff and a baroque pearl couture ring.

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