Kata & Ross, Morden Hall, South London, August 2016. A wedding in the city. So many roses. Leaves just on the cusp of a colour-shift, petals freckled and speckled, blackberry scratches, muggy weather. Above right, our ward for the week. A sleepy puppy and endless buckets of flowers; shan't complain!
Between puppy walks and puppy naps and puppy cuddles we cut and condition and forage and polish. Take in deliveries, drive between London and Hampshire with car-loads of branches. Stop at Fleet services and agonise over which Waitrose sandwich to have today, which is entirely pointless as always end up having the same one. They are digging up the M3 so it is an arduous journey to our cutting garden, all narrow lanes and average speed cameras. Thank God for Fleet and the Starbucks drive-through.
We gather together flowers and branches from this particular moment in the year - still very much summer, but with just a touch of the autumn ahead. I love making arrangements like this, where every element seems to bleed into the next - lime beech turning yellow, yellow-green apples on the bough, roses with golden centres, gold-crowned poppy seedheads, blush hydrangea, blush roses, cafe au last dahlias with paint-streaks of the same dark pink of the hydrangeas, a seeping hint of yellow at the centre taking you back to the start.
Those tiny white roses on the briar, golly. Ruffly, plump Juliet sweet peas left long on the vine. I have stared at the photo above long and hard; Jess is getting good at the old Flemish seventeenth century light thing.
Dreamy white plasterwork and ornate cornicing and ice blue, a match made in heaven. Rooms like these, grand as they are, can be a little austere however. Our answer to this was dishevelled, organic tangles of oak and beech foliage with trailing rubus and rangy wild carrot for the majestic fireplace in the room where the ceremony is held.
Apples shed in transit do not go to waste...
Months after they are drawn Jess's sketches for the original design brief come to life. We cluster pots of thyme, chocolate mint, sage, lemon balm, basil, rosemary, verbena and catmint along the aisle, down the staircase, through the bar, in various corners. It smells like an Aesop, like a kitchen garden after the rain. The bride's friend had donated boxes of candles. Always a good thing to have a mate at Diptyque.
For the evening dinner: twelve metres of bespoke-built installations suspended from 18ft beams. I couldn't watch while these were winched up; I'm ashamed to say I hid in the next room faffing with the aforementioned fireplace. La la la la la! When I came back they spilled over with wild clematis, white cosmos and wild carrot. Delightful - green and wild, hedgerows pendulous in the air.
The maid of honour wore a silk dress of emerald green. Her bouquet - garden roses, berries and chocolate cosmos with a mustard silk grosgrain ribbon.
The bride held a tumbling bunch of roses and sweetpeas trailing hand-dyed silk streamers.
Rocking a deranged barnet pre bouquet handover; never knowingly under-tousled.
Her excellency the Japanese anemone. I can't tell you how many stems we had for this wedding - it was a lot. At this time of the year they are my most favourite flower. Those pale pink bowl shaped flowers - the height, the shade, the wispiness, the ruffly-ness, the buds - sublime.
We grew feathery cosmos down at the cutting garden and transplanted them into pots just as they bloomed, crisp and white.
Gleaming blackberries, Japanese anemones and diabolo foliage. A mouthwatering trio.
We are still recovering from the blackberries. But it was worth it. (Gloves on order.)
The biggest of thank you's to our amazing team, Steffi, Emma and Ben; you were a dream. Congratulations Kata & Ross; we hope you had a magical day! May you be cooking with herbs forevermore.