The Flower Fix: Modern arrangements for a daily dose of nature

The Flower Fix: Modern arrangements for a daily dose of nature


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The Flower Fix presents wild inspiration and modern arrangements by Swallows and Damsons florist Anna Potter, with beautiful photography by India Hobson.

Blousy blooms, speckled branches, rich foliage, and delicate petals; nature has the power to inspire and energize, calm and soothe, focus and still. Anna has harnessed this magic with 26 tailor-made combinations of flowers to bring a floral boost to your home, no matter what your mood.

With easy-to-find seasonal blooms, found items such as twigs and dried fruit, and any assortment of containers, discover how simple it is to bring a little bit of nature’s mystery into the everyday. Spanning all seasons and including both larger installations and smaller, simpler projects, there is something for anyone looking to play, experiment, and create atmosphere with flowers.

Get your daily flower fix with these and more inspiring arrangements:

  • Inspire Playfulness is a spring arrangement to bring joy, featuring lilac, roses, ranunculus, poppy, narcissi, and forget-me-nots.
  • Flowers for Gratitude is a mix of summer’s bounty to inspire thankfulness, including garden rose, daucus, echinacea, and chocolate sunflower.
  • Find Beauty in the Everyday is a colorful arrangement to bring a fresh perspective, featuring autumn foliage, hydrangea, dahlia, crab apple, and rosehip.
  • The Shape of Self-Expression is a circular wreath design to express individuality, with holly, lamb’s ear, yellow holly berries, twigs and dried seedheads, and ivy berries.

Each project lists the equipment, flowers, and foliage needed to start the project along with step-by-step instructions. You’ll also find a guide to basic flower arranging; notes on color palettes and how to use color; and a flower glossary listing the color, seasonal availability, and vase life of each flower.

Be led by the flowers, foliage, stems, follow their shapes and form, feel their weight and heft to create versions of these gorgeous arrangements that are uniquely your own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781317884
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Publication date: 05/30/2019
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 212,077
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Anna Potter is the florist behind the flower shop Swallows and Damsons, based in Sheffield and popular on Instagram (swallowsanddamsons). Her style of arranging has a luxe and wild feel that uses containers of all sorts and moves beyond the confines of blooms in her decoration—incorporating foliage, fruit and vegetables, sea shells, and most things that grow out of the ground.

India Hobson is a UK based editorial, lifestyle and still life photographer, and one half of Haarkon. Haarkon published their first book, Glasshouse Greenhouse, in 2018. India has enjoyed a creative partnership with Swallows & Damsons for a number of years, working with Anna Potter to develop their signature style.

Read an Excerpt


Taking Your Time

Creating to foster patience

'Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians.'

H.G. Bohn

Observing the seasons can inspire patience, telling the ageold story of miraculous death and rebirth. The display combines a man-made, conventional way of telling time with that of nature's counterpart.

Ever fleeting, always changing, shifting with the seasons: flowers weren't made to last. Time spent in admiration and observation is time well spent. The study of the life cycle from seed to mature growth, full bloom to decay is something that resonates throughout the natural world.

The 'slow flower' movement promotes the use of sustainable and locally grown flowers that are 'field-to-vase' rather than mass-produced and imported. Familiarity with the person who passionately grew the flowers, the place in which they are grown, the floral designer who arranges them and, finally, the customer, creates a powerful and personal chain of connections that has great meaning in today's fast-paced world.

In one of my favourite books, The Little Prince, the author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry writes that it is the time we put into caring for plants and flowers that makes them so important. The journey these flowers have already undertaken is vast, the process of arranging takes patience, and the length of time for which the flowers will bloom is short. This arrangement draws attention to the juxtaposition between time and effort spent for such short-lived beauty. It is a poignant reminder not to rush, to take time in the moment and to enjoy the practice as much as the result.

Small vessel, Wedgwood or similar style Chicken wire measuring 30 × 30cm (1 × 1ft)
Wire cutters Florist's pot tape Strong scissors or secateurs Lilac × 5 stems Blossom × 5 stems Narcissus × 5 stems Vuvuzela rose × 8 stems Ranunculus × 5 stems La Belle Époque tulip × 5 stems


1. Two large, statement clocks with bold shapes and block colour provided inspiration for this arrangement. I wanted to cut across their rigid lines with something soft, blousy and full; something fleeting and seasonal in nature, to relate to time and transition. Lilacs were the perfect answer to create a plump, pillowy base.

2. First create a basic chicken wire structure inside your vessel (see here). Weave the five lilac stems into the chicken wire to create an even base for the arrangement. Space them evenly throughout the top, centre and bottom of the arrangement. Next up are a variety of blousy blooms and blossoms in buttery shades of yellow, peach and apricot. Narcissi and vuvuzela roses fill in the centre stage, and the ranunculus and Belle Époque tulips break out of the design with their bendy stems. Use the largest, fullest blooms first, following the shape already set by the lilacs. Fill any spaces with smaller flowers.

3. The mass of pale florets and buds creates a soft but dense asymmetrical shape, whilst retaining that transient feeling that it's all just a matter of time.


Inspire Wonder

A multi-vase arrangement that sparks childlike imagination

'The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.'

Katherine Mansfield

Use collected vases and stems to tell a story inspired by wonder and mystery in an everyday home setting.

Imagination is infectious. That's how it feels in this colour-filled family home – the objects, tones, shapes and light cultivate it, stir it up and provide a space where anything is possible. As Tove Jansson says in Moominsummer Madness, 'There's no need to imagine that you're a wondrous beauty, because that's what you are.'

To capture this atmosphere of imagination and magic, I decided to use a collection of stems and vessels to create a full, impactful arrangement. The final design is very much greater than the sum of its parts. Like a chapter in a book, each vessel is wonderful on its own but, together, they tell a magical tale of far-flung places and secret gardens. Light, bright and playful mixed with dark and mysterious.

The flowers and vessels mirror the dominant colours of the room, yellows and rust, whites, blues and almost black. Warm, spring-garden blooms on the brink of summer jostle with unexpected flowers from houseplants: the great outdoors meets the indoors working together to conjure up a wild narrative to spark the imagination. Weave your own story when recreating this design, by incorporating small objects from your home to complete the scene. Working creatively with nature brings out the storyteller in us all.

Selection of vessels in a range of sizes × 15
Strong scissors or secateurs Prunus blossom × 5 branches Foxtail lily × 4 stems
Fritillaria persica × 3 stems Rose × 6 stems Anemone × 7 stems Icelandic poppy × 6 stems Anthurium × 6 stems Hellebore × 5 stems Daffodil × 9 stems Eucalyptus × 7 stems Privet berries × 5 stems


1. Having gathered your eclectic selection of bottles, vases and pots, order them in your chosen location, to make sure you have the right quantity to fit snugly, but not too closely that you can't see the interesting mix of vessels. I arranged my collection on a mantelpiece. Position the taller vases towards the back and the smaller, shorter ones at the front.

2. Place the blossom branches first, using their long sprawling stems to form the highest points of the arrangement. Next, decide where to place the long-stemmed blooms: the cone-shaped foxtail lily and the dark, dramatic Fritillaria persica with its curves and bends. The foxtail lily gives perpendicular, architectural lines, while the fritillaria dances between them.

3. Use the roses, anemones and poppies to fill the design mid-height, again working with the tallest stems first. The straight, sturdy rose stems play off the wiggly Icelandic poppies and anemones beautifully. Now add the anthuriums, lower down and stretching into spaces where the light hits their glossy heads and, although they are dark, they quietly shine.

4. Finally, dot the hellebores, daffodils and privet berries – staples of the winter garden – among the lower vessels at the front of the mantelpiece. Drape the last few stems without a vase on the surface of the mantel. Intersperse small objects, figures or curiosities from around the house amongst the vessels as part of the story.


Inspire Playfulness

A spring arrangement to bring joy

Perfect for a family home, this arrangement celebrates curiosity, imagination and creativity with joyful blousy blossoms. The perfect antidote to a long winter, it adds a little spring cheer.

In Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, the elephant's child was full of 'satiable curiosity' and it was this sense of curiosity I wanted to evoke with this arrangement. There was humour and a childlike playfulness in the hallway of this family home, which served as my inspiration for this fun and uplifting design. Alongside the light and muted tones, the brighter pop of colour from peach-hued roses continued the narrative that the blackboard wall and painting had initiated, as a source of my floral colour palette inspiration. Bringing together the subtle tones and form in the painting and objects in situ, this design evokes a feeling of imagination, creativity and curiosity, making it the perfect floral boost for a creative home.

This project works perfectly for social areas of the home – the hallway, living room or even a playroom – where the playful arrangement can be enjoyed by all. Use this arrangement to bring a sense of creativity and joyful energy into your home.

The hint of blue from the forget-me-nots connects the flowers visually to the sky blue in the painting. Their Latin name, Myosotis, comes from the Greek word meaning 'mouse's ear' – it was hard to resist this elephant and mouse scenario.

ºSmall, low terracotta vase Chicken wire measuring 30 × 30cm (1 × 1ft)
Wire cutters Strong scissors or secateurs Lilac × 7 stems Amelanchier × 5 branches Rose × 12 stems Ranunculus × 9 stems Poppy × 3 stems Narcissi × 3 stems Forget-me-nots × 5 stems


1. Starting with a terracotta vase filled with chicken wire (see here), use only very little amelanchier foliage as an initial guide for the shape of the arrangement followed by the heavy lilac blooms, which provide the main shape and body. The density of lilac in an arrangement can be really useful for filling in gaps and adding a foundation of block colour.

2. Once you have your basic shape you can add the big blousy blooms of roses, ranunculus and poppies. Dot these throughout the arrangement, nestled amongst the lilac, following the lines that have already been set. The key is to distribute the weight of the heavier flowers even though the arrangement will only be seen from the front. When using a low vessel and creating height, place bigger blooms towards the back to help balance and to create depth and wholeness in the design.

3. Complete the arrangement with a delicate sprinkling of forget-menots for a tiny hint of blue.


Meaningful Colour

A small table top arrangement to celebrate the qualities of pink 'The chief function of colour should be to serve expression.'

Henri Matisse

Embrace the warmth of pink as inspired from nature, leaving the social connotations of the colour behind, in this simple yet effective design.

From the very organisation of this book to my Instagram feed, by now you will know how important colour is to my designing process. Colour has the power to impact our mood – to lift our spirits, soothe, energise or welcome. Autumnal pink blooms and the soft plaster walls of this café invited me to play with one of my favourite colours: pink.

Researching quotes on the colour pink, it is depressing to find so much prescriptive nonsense about 'pretty girls' and 'lipstick'. Pink is ultimately one of my favourite colours: there's a shade of it for every season, a tone to fit every scheme. It is present in nature from sunset to sunrise, when the sky and the Earth join forces in one big illuminated pink glow. It can calm and nurture. If there's one thing that makes me mad, it is the gendering of this beautiful, expressive colour.

For me, pink in autumn is the most wonderful of all. When the sun casts its rosy glow on the turning leaves in shades of rust or stretches of copper bracken, everything is alive and wildly glorious. The plaster-pink walls and warm wooden furniture in this café quietly echoed this autumnal scene and I felt a small table arrangement in these complementary tones would be easy on the eye, focusing on warmth and texture as opposed to anything overtly pretty, frilly or feminine. I wanted to enrich the space, without overpowering or showing off.

You can use this arrangement in a similar way in your home, bringing warmth to a space with the subtle, soft shades.

Ceramic pot, 12 × 12cm (4 × 4in)
Chicken wire measuring 30 × 30cm (1 × 1ft)
Wire cutters Florist's pot tape Strong scissors or secateurs Bracken × 5 stems Vibernum × 3 branches Amaranthus × 7 stems Sedum × 7 stems Rose × 9 stems Cosmos × 5 stems Astrantia × 5 stems Snowberry × 3 stems Anemone × 5 stems Echinacea seedheads × 7 stems


1. Start by making a chicken wire base inside the vessel, taping over the top in a criss-cross pattern to secure the wire in place (see here and here). Next, use the foliage to create the outline of your design. I chose to keep this arrangement at a low level, extending out to the sides. The fronds of dry bracken create fanlike shapes; position these higher in the arrangement than you intend the flowers to be so they will be seen. Drape the autumnal, transitioning vibernum leaves either side, cascading over the vase. Add the amaranthus and sedum at this stage too, mimicking the shape already created by the foliage.

2. Of the blooms, add the focal flowers first – all the different roses, some of which are about to give their last breath and others about to bloom. Use tiny spray roses in mottled pinks to fill the base, with the more extravagant roses tumbling over the sides.

3. I tend to struggle most with the front centre of every design, be it a bouquet or arrangement. All too often, I save the most spectacular or plump rose, dahlia or peony for the central spot, but then find it clumsy, large and brash. The negative space in a design is as important as the filled areas: it makes the difference between wild and organic and forced or manicured. In this arrangement I spent a long time contemplating the centre section, trying different flowers, large and small. Every time I removed an unsuitable stem, the whole arrangement looked relaxed and more complete. As I added the more delicate, gestural and filler flowers – cosmos, astrantia, snowberry and anemones, the need for a strong focal bloom waned. Instead I used light touches of these last flowers throughout the empty front section, to give the perfect impression of colour and form.

4. In your arrangement, place the echinacea seedheads last, adding a most rich and wonderful rust tone to the design. Nestle the stems in the shadows of the deeper toned foliage, where they will glow.


Let Creativity Flow

A joyful design to inspire ar tistic freedom

'It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.'

Wendell Berry

Allow yourself creative freedom with a loose, romantic design. Be reminded of the joy of unplanned situations and happy accidents that invite us to respond with creative license.

I have an uncanny ability to find myself in situations where I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing; no plan, no vision and no thought-through intention. It can arise in situations when I am very busy or disorganised, or trying to avoid a difficult scenario. I spend a great deal of my time planning weddings, events and the family calendar to the very finest detail. So, when all the spinning plates stop and there is nothing left but a few ingredients, a space and a world of possibility, it can feel creatively freeing and terrifying in equal measure. It's at such times that I'm reminded of Carl Jung's words, 'The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.'

Even if not on purpose, I would recommend this practice to anyone: an exercise in unplanned creative play, whereby expectations and preconceived ideas are left at the door.

This design was just such a happy exercise. The selection of flowers owes itself not only to the season, but to a mistake I made when ordering for the shop. It happens. If when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, then when life gives us roses let's fill a whole bathtub. It is, after all, the largest vessel in the house.

The juxtaposition of a functional object, such as a bathtub, used for a flower arrangement brings a sense of fun and frivolity to this design and makes a fantastic statement piece for the home. However, any large vessel could be used here, such as a garden container or wide bucket.

Bathtub or large vessel Small buckets × 4, approx. 20cm (8in) in diameter × 20cm (8in) in height Chicken wire measuring 40 × 40cm (16 × 16in) × 4
Wire cutters Florist's pot tape Strong scissors or secateurs Autumn foliage, such as nandina × 8 branches Rose × 40 stems Dahlia × 20 stems Crab apple × 3 branches


1. First prepare each bucket with a chicken wire base, taping it securely in place using florist's pot tape in a criss-cross pattern (see here and here). The buckets won't be seen once the arrangement is complete, so this practical stage doesn't have to be the neatest or prettiest attempt, it just needs to be secure for the arrangement. I wanted to concentrate the flowers in two-thirds of the bath, so I placed my buckets together at one end of the tub. Once you have an arrangement you like, fill the buckets to the top with water.

2. As with most arrangements, start creating yours using the largest branches. In my case, the longest and most royally coloured piece of nandina scales the right-hand corner of the design, using the wall to support its weight. Use bushier branches lower down, to obscure the buckets and add a fullness to this bottom section of the design. A branch stretched lengthways along the rim of the bath will help to give the illusion of using the whole tub for this arrangement, without actually having to fill it with flowers.

3. Having established the shape of the design using the branches, you are ready to place the roses. Dipping in and out at different heights, arrange the stems as if they might be growing out of this oversized vessel. Use the chicken wire to hold each stem securely in place. Cut some stems shorter so that you can tuck them in closer to the buckets, to create the depth and difference in height that would occur in the natural world.

4. Now dot the dahlias in amongst the roses like polka dots; I made the decision to do this instead of keeping them all together in one area, so drawing attention to the piece as a whole. In an arrangement like this, grouping the dahlias in one area would instantly draw attention to that isolated section of scarlet. Now take the red of the crab apples across to the furthest point to create balance. Simply wedge the branches between others if they are not long enough to reach the buckets.


Excerpted from "The Flower Fix"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Anna Potter.
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Creating Atmosphere With Flowers 10

Part 1 The Arrangements

Taking Your Time 20

Inspire Wonder 25

Inspire Playfulness 30

Meaningful Colour 38

Letting Creativity Flow 43

Flowers for Gratitude 49

Inspire Creativity 57

Bringing the Wild Inside 60

Appreciate the Unappreciated 67

Learn to Let Go 73

Meaningful Memories 79

Find Beauty in the Everyday 84

Bringing Energy to a Dark Space 90

Simple Focus 96

A Still Life 100

The Shape of Self-Expression 107

Silence and Growth 110

Ageing Gracefully 120

Blossoming Hope 124

Beauty in the Imperfect 128

Be in the Moment 135

The Colour of Growth 139

Capturing True Beauty 143

Making the Everyday Magic 152

A Season to Contemplate 159

Everything Belongs 162

Part 2 Basic Skills

Choosing and Buying Flowers 174

Tools and Equipment 176

Vessels 178

Preparing Flowers 180

Longevity of Floral Arrangements 183

Basic Skills 184

Glossary Of Flowers 198

Index 204

Acknowledgements 206

About The Author And Photographer 207

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The Flower Fix: Modern arrangements for a daily dose of nature 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
leylaj More than 1 year ago
Whilst the flower arrangement projects are lovely, what I really like about this book is the easy going and informative style of writing, decorating and thinking behind the projects. I enjoyed the adventure into the colour and use of the seasons, and the thinking outside the square aspect of arranging the follows There are detailed information on copying the arrangements in the book, but the book is more than this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Flower Fix by Anna Potter is crammed with numerous floral arrangement ideas that should spark the creative juices when it comes to arranging flowers. The two things I really liked about Potter's book was the Basic Skills and Glossary of Flowers chapters. In the basic skills chapter the author explains how to create frames such as a free-standing or wreath structure to use in floral arranging. In the Glossary of Flowers chapter the author tells about various flowers including the length of time for their use. Recommend. Review written after downloading a galley from NetGalley.
PanglossMystic More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book. The concept of "The Flower Fix" is to work with nature, use seasonal flowers, and incorporate out-of-the box containers or personal items to bring the wilderness indoors. Although guidelines are given to replicate the designs in the book, the stunning photographs are truly inspirational for those of us who enjoy grabbing whatever seasonal flowers are growing in the meadow and making an arrangement for the home. This book inspired me to do much more with my free-form floral arrangements and gave me lots of ideas. For instance, the designer uses multiple vases of varying sizes and shapes in one arrangement for a fireplace mantel. She even uses a bathtub for one arrangement. The photographs of "nature-led" floral arrangements are stunning, as are the mood boards and details of the arrangements. The book has a whimsical side; one materials list includes "one tabby cat." The quotes included in the text are wonderful, ranging from Gertrude Jekyll to Oscar Wilde to Richard Rohr. I loved the philosophy of this book - using flowers and objects right under our noses to create deeply personal floral arrangements that are also in tune with nature. This book helps lead readers to a new, sustainable concept of aesthetics. Highly recommended!!!
AMGiacomasso More than 1 year ago
This book is fascinating and very useful if you want to learn how to arrange flowers. I loved the explanations and the beautiful pictures. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley, all opinions are mine