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Ahead of Brown’s Summer Sensations Masterclasses, we meet with renowned florist, Ellie Hartley for some tips, hints (and a secret or two) on creating all things bright and beautiful.

British Flower Week takes place from 14th to 20th June, and we are keen to decorate our homes and workplaces with the best local flowers.  What do you suggest?

Ellie: I recommend seeking out typical British grown flowers such as lupins, sweet peas and my all-time favourite, the garden rose. As for decorations, I suggest thinking of a loose garden-style theme for your assortment.  Perfectly timed, our first Summer Sensations Masterclass on 12th June will focus on beautiful summer flowers where I’ll be giving away a few tips on decorating your homes and tables.

The summer months tend to be a time for celebrations, from birthdays to weddings. What type of bouquet would you recommend to gift friends and family?

Ellie: For girlfriends, I would go for something feminine, like a bouquet of peonies. I know my mother loves scented garden roses, lupins, or sweet peas. And for friends, I would choose flowers that are fun and vibrant, like dahlias.

So, what is the secret to making flowers last longer?

Ellie:  I have three answers, so bear with me!  To keep flowers fresh, you need to re-cut the stems on an angle as soon as possible.  The stems reseal when left out of water even for a short time.  Secondly, the choice of your vase is important, slim necked vases with wider bottoms work well for flowers such as peonies and hydrangeas, it keeps the flowers in place and makes them look fuller.  A slim necked fishbowl vase is good for sweet peas as they are so delicate.  One other suggestion is to switch clear vases to coloured varieties, this way the vase becomes a piece of art and can match the interior design of your home.  Finally, sunlight is not a friend of flowers, they will wilt very quickly.  Find a spot that has some natural light and where your eyes will be drawn to as you enter the room – flowers will fill you with joy when placed in the right place.

What is your favourite flower to work with?

Ellie: I support local British growers wherever possible, buying seasonal flowers from local suppliers reduces our carbon footprint too.

To book a place on Brown’s Summer Sensations Masterclass, please contact Brown’s Reservations on +44 (0) 207518 4172 or email