A Tuscan Summer with Oh Flora Studio
In July I ventured off for my first ever Europe trip! While the trip was amazing (and I could spend a good few hours talking about it), I figured I would make a post about the highlight of the entire trip for me… Oh Flora Studios ‘A Tuscan Summer’ workshop. This is a long post folks, but I could make it a hell of a lot more longer if I wanted to…
I’ve been a lover of Tanya’s floral work for many, many years now. She was actually one of the first florists I ever followed on Instagram, back when the thought of being a florist myself was just that… a thought! Towards the end of last year, I had a good ol’ bit of money saved up and was feeling a little uninspired about the floral world when she shared that she would potentially be hosting a workshop in Italy in 2018. Of course I jumped on that message and expressed my interest right away and before I knew it I was en route to Europe for the first time.
To start the workshop off Tanya and her team had organised for a wonderful dinner at Agriturismo Il Rigo, just a short drive outside the quaint village we stayed at, Montepulciano. It was simply magical and words can’t really describe just how beautiful it all was! The food was not only exceptional but the backdrop was flawless, the company incredibly lovely and the drinks kept coming. We all got to introduce ourselves to each other and get to know one another, including the photographers for the workshop, Lyndel and Daniel from Lost In Love Photography (who took all the photos used in this post!) and our beautiful model for the workshop, Olive Cooke.
Our first day of the workshop was just as incredible. We arrived by car to the location of the workshop, Puscina Flowers and my oh my, it was insanely beautiful! I’ve never been lucky enough to visit a flower farm before and what I saw really took my breath away. A beautiful old house was set against the breathtaking Tuscan backdrop with an incredible vegetable garden before you can walk down and see the rows and rows of flowers, a beautiful walkway covered in grapevines and farm cats a plenty! We started the day with a farm tour, followed by a bouquet demonstration, we then had lunch (home cooked Italian food… need I say more?) before we got to work on creating our own bouquets!
Obviously, I’m already a qualified florist, so I wasn’t attending this workshop to learn how to make a bouquet, but to experiment with a different style, different product, and different textures! Tanya’s demonstration was wonderful to watch- she explained everything thoroughly and with enough detail to cover everything we needed to know! When creating our bouquets she and her assistant, Sarah, were so helpful- giving us feedback as needed and grabbing product we might need more of, or may have forgotten. We had so much beautiful product to choose from- picked straight from the farm! Stunning, ‘Cafe au Lait’ Dahlias (among many, many other beautiful varieties), Scabiosa, Cosmos (a favourite of mine), Zinnia, Roses, Queen Annes Lace, and a wide variety of foliage and grasses such as olive (… how Italian) and plum foliage (fruit included!). After our bouquets were made, Lyndel and Daniel got snapping away with our bouquets and Olive while we sat down and had a bit of a business chat. I have to say, the photographs they took are phenomenal, I can’t quite believe how beautiful they all turned out! Having my work shot in such a beautiful location with such talented people really was a dream!
Then came day 2 of the workshop! We started with a centrepiece demonstration by Tanya- which again, was very informative and easy to follow-despite having to stop in the middle because of some pesky summer rain. I’ve never created a centrepiece in a low, wide, style vessel before so it was a fun change from my usual! We used a combination of chicken wire, foam and floral tape to create these and I actually really loved how easy it was to use this method! I experimented a little more with shape than I usually would and whilst I didn’t love the end result, I still think it looked pretty (it helps when you’re product is that beautiful, doesn’t it?)
While our centrepieces were being photographed we ventured further down the farm for a chat about our floral installation! Originally, Tanya had planned for the installation to be built under the grapevine archway, where we could place long tables and have dinner under a floral masterpiece with our centrepieces! Unfortunately, a large summer storm came our way and changed our plans for what likely would have been a very special evening outdoors, but the ladies of Pusicna Flowers very kindly invited us into their own home, where we set up our centrepieces after a little lesson on styling by Tanya. The sunset we witnessed just before dinner over a foggy, Tuscan flower farm is something I’ll never, ever forget. Our meal and wine was of course, exceptional and the hospitality of the Puscina Flowers team had me feeling very grateful.
And then the time came for our third and final day! As we missed the chance to create our installation the day before, we arrived nice and early to the farm and got busy!
Tanya and Sarah began by starting the installation off for us, answering the hundreds of questions we all had about how to attach materials and form the right shape. This was what I was personally most looking forward to, as I don’t have that much experience with floral installations myself so it really did give me a good idea of just what I can create for clients and what I’m capable of!
We worked as a team to create something that I think was pretty damn spectacular. We had free reign of the farm once again and I still can’t believe we got to use so much beautiful product. As corny as it sounds, good quality flowers and foliage really makes all the difference, and finding the best product back home (preferably directly from growers themselves) is something I really want to focus on.
Olive of course, modelled for us and the photographs are incredible once again. Lyndel and Daniel really captured everything so wonderfully, I feel so lucky to have had my work photographed by them over the workshop!
After a quick brunch (pastries and fruit… the perfect combination) we were taken out to Villa La Foce where Tanya had booked us on a tour. Wandering around the perfectly manicured lawns and pathways were magnificent, and a right treat for us flower lovers! When we finished the garden tour we ventured over to the Salecho Winery for a wine tour to end a wonderful few days spent together. The winery itself was amazing to see, it’s one of the worlds most environmentally friendly and conscious vineyards and it was so interesting to learn about their sustainable approach to wine! The wine and food we had was of course, delicious and an afternoon spent reflecting on the weekend with everyone was such a lovely way to end it!
Soon, we all had to go our separate ways and that was that- ‘A Tuscan Summer’ was all finished! I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with such a wonderful group of people, in Tuscany of all places! I want to thank Olive for modelling all our pieces and Lyndel and Daniel for photographing the entire experience for us, I know I’ll be keeping these photos forever. Of course, I have to thank the team at Puscina Flowers for their generous hospitality and for educating us all on the hard work that goes into growing blooms! Lastly, I have to write a big ol’ thank you to Tanya and her team from Oh Flora Studio. They made the entire workshop enjoyable, I never once felt lost or stressed and there was always someone right nearby if I ever had any questions! They carted us around the Tuscan countryside in the horrifying heat and never once complained. Tanya was a wonderful host and teacher I would wholeheartedly recommend an Oh Flora workshop to anyone- florist or not!