Steal top tips this Mother’s Day from the queens of flower power

If you’re wondering what to give your mum this Mother’s Day, beautiful flowers say it best. The Rhodes sisters of florists Hayford & Rhodes run a Flower School and are experts at putting together stunning bouquets. ACHICA Living asked the sisters, Amy (left), Laura (centre) and Joanna (right), for their top tips on creating beautiful flower arrangements for the home. Here’s their expert advice…

We never know what to do with a bouquet when we get it home – how do we arrange it and what vase should we use?

‘Hand-tied bouquets like the one for Mother’s Day are fantastic as the styling has already been done for you! Simply find a suitable vase (we recommend a conical shaped vase with a wide neck) and fill it two thirds with fresh water and add the flower food provided in a sachet. Trim the flower stems and then place the bouquet in the vase so that it sits securely. If you want to untie the display simply cut the string after placing the bouquet in the vase, and gently ease the flowers into a looser arrangement.

What are your favourite flowers?

‘It’s got to be peonies, hydrangeas, roses, delphiniums and orchids, which all have strong shapes as well as gorgeous colours.’

And what types of foliage would you recommend?

‘We love to work with seasonal English foliage, such as tree blossom in spring and the elegant stems and furry catkins of pussy willow in winter, while eucalyptus and salal are perfect for small vase displays.’

How do you extend the life of flower displays?

‘Keep the water very clean and trim the stems regularly. If you do this every other day the flowers should last well. Keep them away from radiators too!’

We see that you are generously donating 100 per cent of the profits for Mother’s Day bouquets to Arthritis Research. Why did you decide to support this particular charity?

‘We have family members who suffer terribly, as do some of our staff. We see their daily battle with the pain and disability that this condition brings and we are keen to help do something to improve the lives of those living with the condition.’

Do you grow you own blooms at home in your garden?

‘Joanna is the most green fingered and loves to grow roses. She is a big fan of David Austin roses and is growing them all over her garden!’


TOP TIP: How to grow your own bouquets

The sisters recommend some beautiful flowers and, apart from the orchids, they all make fabulous garden plants too. And, as luck would have it, March is the perfect time to plant roses, peonies, hydrangeas and delphiniums for bouquets of beautiful blooms this summer. Choose from David Austin’s vast range of roses for a selection of colours, flower shapes and fragrances – they are launching this velvety crimson rose, ‘Heathcliff’, at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, and we’re just itching to get our hands on it. Or opt for the sophisticated creamy yellow ‘Tranquillity’ [see above], which would add a stylish note to any indoor display. Plant your roses in a sunny site and soil enriched with well-rotted manure, and add some Rootgrow and a granular shrub fertilizer to the planting hole, as these will help your roses to establish quickly.


Plant peonies and hydrangeas in the same way in a partly shaded spot or in full sun. Try specialist nursery Kelways for a fantastic range of peonies, and look out for Endless Summer hydrangeas (above), which bloom from June to the first frosts in autumn, and will give you a continuous supply of flowers for indoor arrangements.

Delphiniums are best planted in groups of five or more if you want plenty of flower stems for the home. They must have a sunny site to perform well, and need moist, rich soil. Also remember to tie their tall stems to sturdy canes or you’ll find them broken and languishing on the ground after a windy day.

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Zia Allaway, Garden Expert

View all posts by Zia Allaway, Garden Expert