Wishing Shane Connolly the best of British

Written by Alastair Owen
April 28, 2011

The world is going completely Royal-Wedding crazy! You can’t move for Union Jacks, souvenir brochures and mugs, Royal Wedding garden parties and patriotic bunting. Makes you proud to be British, doesn’t it?

Since the wedding had been branded a celebration of Britain, hopes were high that the Bride would be carrying British-grown flowers down the aisle of Westminster Abbey, securing a much-need boost for the British cut flower industry.

'Like any other wedding'

So it was with great delight that we read this week that Shane Connolly, one of our favourite Flower Market Florists and known to be a great advocate of British flowers, foliage and plants, is directing floral proceedings for the Royal Wedding.

Many congratulations to Shane, whose media pronouncements have been charmingly understated: we love that he is quoted in BBC reports as treating tomorrow’s celebration "like any other wedding". Shane probably means it, but we suspect that the team around him may well sense a difference!

Shane, who was awarded a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales in 2006, will be using a lot of container-grown trees and seasonal flowering shrubs as well as cut materials.

British maples and hornbeams will line the Abbey, and seasonal flowers and foliage from British cut flower growers and the Royal Estates will feature prominently in Shane’s floral decoration inspired by The Language of Flowers (which, by happy coincidence, is also the name of a book by Shane Connolly…).

The bouquet

So, what will THE bridal bouquet of the decade look like?

The premature summer weather with its high temperatures and light levels has really brought flowering crops on a pace, which means that the Bride of the Decade should have access to those quintessentially British summer flowers for which British floristry is rightly famed.

Think peonies, liatris, scented garden pinks, delphiniums and garden roses and you will be scraping just the tip of the summer flowers iceberg on offer at British flower specialist, Pratley, and 12 other traders at New Covent Garden Flower Market.

Nerines, alchemilla mollis, astrantia, lavender and snapdragons are amongst the most beloved of English country flower alongside stocks, alliums, foxgloves, calla lilies, nerines, phlox, cornflowers, Japanese anenomes and others too numerous to mention.

Some flowers will make but a fleeting appearance, whereas others will be available for longer, like the glorious sweet pea.

As for the design style, will it be the teardrop, the simple, modern posy or hand-tie or a trendy (but rather unregal) pomander? Traditonal or modern? Conventional or daring?

Much will presumably depend on the identity of the floral designer about to create probably the most important wedding commission of his or her career. Will Shane Connolly be creating the bridal bouquet himself? Presumably. Or perhaps not…… Our hopes are firmly on it being a Flower Market Florist, one of New Covent Garden’s loyal customers and a lover of British flowers.

Good luck to you, Shane and all the talented team hard at work this week, and may the Royal Wedding Flowers be a celebration of British flowers, British floristry, and the British Flower Market!


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