Flora in Italia

A Wildflower School workshop in the Marche region of Italy

9th to the 16th of June 2018

We were so excited to be offering this workshop in one of our favourite places in the world!  A trip to Italy is always enticing- but in springtime, with the fields full of wildflowers-  could there be a better place for a floral workshop? And Le Marche has the beautiful landscape, hill top towns and rich cultural and artistic history we all know from Tuscany- but without the crowds!

It was a week of flowers, art, antiques, food and wine- all set in a stunning landscape-and the whole experience was totally wonderful. Thanks so much to those who joined us for a week of creation, exploration and indulgence....  here are some stunning photos of what we got up to on the workshop (by the amazingly talented Italian duo Lato Photography) and of our dream day at the Tuscan flower farm Puscina Flowers (photography by Lisa Poggi)

We had such an amazing time that we came home and immediately started planning our next international workshop- in France this time- and in June 2019…. so watch this space for more details!!

a detail from Botticelli's Primavera

a detail from Botticelli's Primavera

PRIMAVERA: Flora in Italia

We stayed in an 18th century mansion in the countryside beyond the elegant seaside town of Pesaro. We were inspired by the incredible collection of Renaissance art in the Palazzo Ducale in nearby Urbino. We forage in the surrounding meadows and woods. Strolled through fields blanketed with wildflowers. Shopped at the local flower markets. Learnt the “undone” aesthetic of botanical styling that is Wildflower’s signature.

From an abundance of blooms and foliage create natural hand-tied bouquets, floral crowns, vessels overflowing with floral beauty, lush garlands and wreaths.

After a long leisurely lunch prepared by Mark for us each day, we relaxed by the pool in the olive grove or explored the beautiful hill top towns, coast and mountains of Le Marche- including spending one gorgeous afternoon at a Tuscan flower farm called Puscina Flowers… .

And we were so lucky to have award-winning photographers Laura and Tommy of Lato Photography(30 Rising Stars 2016) to take photos of us creating in one of the workshops- and also to take drop dead gorgeous photos of our model Zoe Southwood with our bouquets in the olive groves and gardens… molto grazie you guys- we so appreciated all your kindness and your immense talent!


photos by Lato Photography Flowers from Puscina Flowers and Frenquellucci Fiori Pesaro

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The PHOTO Shoot…

Photos by Lato Photography. Model Zoe Southwood Dress from Otaduy and La Maison du Mariage Hair and make up by. Margherita Cesarano

Bouquets by Sandra from The Flower Crate, Oksana Kotikova, Zoe Southwood, Madeleine Inglis, Vicki from Wildflower

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The afternoon foraging at PUSCINA FLOWER FARM…

Photography by Lisa Poggi

Words cannot express the beauty of this small flower farm in Tuscany-so feast your eyes on the images below from the lovely photographer Lisa Poggi. It was so lovely to meet the 3 sisters Mara, Teresa and Laura who have worked so hard to create this lovely spot- they made us so welcome we stayed way too long and couldn’t bring ourselves to leave! We came with tin buckets and filled them to the brim with the most divine flowers- and then had delicious aperitivi under an old tree in the middle of the fields: a salad made with edible flowers, vino and an incredible cheese made by the girls’ uncle. The whole experience was like going to flower heaven!


We Created...

floral masterpieces in the workshops run by me each morning…. we gathered flowers from local markets and a lovely flower farm in Tuscany- and foraged for foliage in the surrounding meadows and forests. We were inspired by the beauty of the countryside and the rich cultural and artistic history of Italy. We worked on tables in the garden under the shade of century old trees....

we created “undone” bridal  bouquets and arrangements from a selection of beautiful booms and foraged foliage

we created “undone” bridal bouquets and arrangements from a selection of beautiful booms and foraged foliage

WORKSHOP 1: the language of flowers...we learnt about the meaning of flowers in different cultures and used the Victorian language of flowers to create a tussie mussie or nosegay- a "txt message" in a posy. We created a hand-tied garden bouquet fit for a bride in Wildflower’s signature "undone" style.

WORKSHOP 2: flora in vessels.... we arranged blooms and foliage in a variety of vases and create tablescapes in a number of different styles: classic; rustic; boho; whimsical. Learnt the principles of design and how to place blooms and work with the natural arc of a branch or stem in order to create an organic "unarranged" look

WORKSHOP 3: personal flora... learnt wiring techniques and create boutonnieres and corsages- and lush floral crowns to make Frida Kahlo envious!

WORKSHOP 4: flora in art...we .learnt about the symbolism of flowers in art. Were inspired by the Italian Renaissance painters, Dutch Masters or French Impressionists and created overflowing compotes.

WORKSHOP 5: floral installations....we looked at the cross over between floral design, sculpture and fashion. Learnt how to weave garlands and wreaths- and worked on a group hanging installation in the boughs of the olive trees overhanging our final “Long lunch”

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Such a lovely group of women… we loved spending time with you all! Thank you for joining us….

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And thanks so much again to everyone who helped make this a dream workshop: Anna and Francesca from Il Pignocco, Lato Photography and Lisa Poggi(photos), Puscina Flowers, Zoe Southwood(model), Otaduy and La Maison du Marriage(wedding dress), Margherita Cesarano Hair and MakeUp, Fenquellucci (flower brokers),OuiFleurs (florist in Bologna- for great tips and contacts), Anna Engels (floral illustrations), Mark Inglis (chef)

We Stayed...

we stayed on a beautiful country estate- Il Pignocco- that has been in the family for 3 generations. The lovely sisters Anna and Francesca made us all so welcome.

we stayed in the stunning country house Il Pignocco near to the city of Pesaro & 10 minutes from the beach

we stayed in the stunning country house Il Pignocco near to the city of Pesaro & 10 minutes from the beach

The stone villa is stunning inside and out. It is situated in a large park with centuries-old trees, surrounded by vast agricultural fields and green meadows. After a hard morning playing with flowers, it was lovely to be able to wander through the garden and relax by the swimming pool nestled in the olive grove.

explored and experienced...

We visited  the neighbouring ancient medieval villages and cities of art including the stunning renaissance university town of Urbino, one of the more important cities of the Marche region. Its historical centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA Trail... Piero was one of the most influential Italian Renaissance artists- I studied him in my Art History degree…. and on one of the workshop days we took a road trip to follow the Piero della Francesca Trail from Arezzo to San Sepulchro and Urbino to see his stunning paintings and visit the places he lived and worked.

PALAZZO DUCALE: late one afternoon we visited this unbelievably beautiful palazzo in Urbino. It was the home of the infamous Duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro, a Renaissance patron of the Arts. It is now an art museum which has an incredible collection including not only several Piero paintings but also works by Raphael and Paolo Ucello. 

Slow Italian LUNCHES…

After each morning workshop we served a long alfresco Italian lunch on a table adorned with our floral creations…

We ate chilled Zuppa di Pomodoro, arancini, charred octopus salad, spinach and ricotta ravioli with burnt sage butter, pizza marguerita, insalata caprese, antipasti, tiramisu and a tart made with fresh peaches and pine nuts... all washed down with copious aperol spritzes!

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Molto grazie, tanti baci e arrivederci! Hope to see you in France in June 2019 for our next overseas Wildflower School workshop:

FLEURS in FRANCE…a feast for the senses

Flowers, fragrance, food and art in a French chateau