The most beautiful wreaths, generous table decorations, delightful bouquets and flower creations in every possible shape. The creativity and feel for greenery is flowing in Minnas Blomsterverkstad. What started as an interest ten years ago has to date resulted in several books, a heap of reportage, lectures, courses, exhibitions and lots more. Through the years there have been many of us who have been given inspiration, ideas and desires by following Minnas flower creations, as well as through the spaces she creates and how it is all depicted with the camera. Minna is one big bundle of exuberant ingenuity. What ever she comes across she gets an idea that becomes something beautiful and decorative. I ask her where she gets her inspiration and she replies – ‘From nature and that which is closest. I find it important that the material for the bouquets and decoration primarily should be found in your own garden or out in nature. That is how I got properly interested. We were living in the countryside and I started to make table decorations out of things which were close at hand.’
All the photos are from Minna’s exhibition at the big Garden party at Sofiero last year.
It all started with a blog.
Minna started her career in advertising and marketing but she resigned in 2008, two years after she had started the blog Blomsterverkstad. It did not take long for others to notice Minna’s eye and talent through her blog and before too long she had work with magazines and book deals. The real photo interest came with the blog but Minna had already been photographing quite a lot. I will return to the question regarding where she gets her inspiration and how it all started. The inspirational articles that have been seen in numerous magazines through the years all started with the magazine Isabellas and it’s founder that MInna found inspiring. Minna felt right at home with the style of the magazine and it gave her a power boost to get going with doing jobs for magazines herself.
It should be simple and fun
Minna is self taught and wants the things she makes to be simple, fun and suit ordinary people, especially nowadays when the interest for flowers and foliage has become so big in the last few years.
Be environmentally conscious, economical and think of recycling.
More tips from Minna:
- Buy ‘old’ flowers cheaply. They are excellent to use in low arrangements. Complement with greenery if needed. Even dried flowers are beautiful to use in arrangements.
- Reuse an existing bouquet. Flowers have different lifespans, so don’t throw a bouquet away merely due to some flowers withering. Take away whatever does not look pretty anymore and rearrange the bouquet into several small ones, add material from the garden or put in small bottles.
- Strive to first and foremost use material that you can find readily in thegarden or nature.
Things that are good to have when making a bouquet and decorations
- A florist knife or other small sharp knife, for cutting.
- Wire cutters
- Metal sticks and florist wire that can be cut into smaller pieces and bent to make staples for securing decorations on wreaths or other arrangements.
- Coiling wire
- A thicker kind of wire to make the armature for smaller/thinner wreaths with.
- Chicken wire to be used as different kinds of armatures or for support in vases with cut flowers.
- Straw armature for reefs.
- All kinds of natural string
About the garden
Minna’s garden lies in zone 2 (Swedish zone scale) and is an ordinary Swedish detached garden, 100o m2 where ⅓ is a kitchen garden. The house was built in 1924 so there was a foundation of a garden when Minna moved in a few years ago. Most importantly the trees, a lilac and apple tree, were established which is worth gold. In the apple tree there is a bushy lilac hydrangea growing and is one of the most beautiful things in the garden. In the kitchen garden she grows decorative vegetables like curly kale, kale, garlic (that often is allowed to go to seed) but also the edible kind and marigold. In a big part of the kitchen garden there grow a lot of herbs as well.
A greenhouse is a must have
In the garden there is a greenhouse that was built when Minna bought the house. It is 15 m2 big (or small…) and is used as a flower workshop and photo studio but also as a place in which to play board games and have family dinners during the summer. The greenhouse is furnished with a carpenter’s bench and table from her dad’s old workshop. Apart from a grape vine that was already there, everything gets planted in pots in the greenhouse. Minna talks about how the summer flowers often still look nice all the way to Christmas.
This year’s project in the garden
- To make another attempt with sweet peas. Minna says: – Whatever I do I can’t make them grow and flourish like they should. But I am not giving up, I will try again this summer.
- Fighting against the spanish slug. The eternal battle.
Wreath making tips for beginners
- The simplest way of making a wreath is to dress a straw armature with a green base such as moss, then decorate it with leaves or flowers that get pinned into place. Other good base materials for a wreath are: ivy, boxwood, lingonberry shoots, bay leaves and any kind of conifer. Bouquets in small glass vases can be tied onto the green base wreath with wire. Change the decorations periodically.
- An alternative to dressing the base with green is to make a base wreath by twining straw or hay and allow it to be sprawly and bushy. Even on a base like that you can add decorations like small spring bulbs, twigs or why not Christmas roses in little vases.
- Remember that you always end up using more material than you imagine. It is good to prep all the material before you start.
- For the really small and skinny wreaths it is simplest to make an armature out of thick wire. To be able to handle the things you aim to dress the wreath with more easily and stop it from sliding around a tip is to make small bundles or bouquets first and then fasten them on the wire armature.
On my front door there tends to be a spring wreath made out of loosely tied straw or hay on a straw base that I decorate with small spring bulbs.
Flower workshop in the vineyard at Sofiero
During the big garden party in August last year Minna built up her flower workshop in the vineyard at Sofiero. Wreaths, flowers, baskets, vases, arrangements gave us visitors an insight into Minnas world of flowers and how it is all done behind the curtains when she creates her flower pieces. It was a pure delight to see all the beautiful things that were presented amongst the vine.
Flower cake competition
At the big garden party there was a creative competition arranged. Minna and the flower workshop held it , to make a flower cake. Here are some of the creative cakes that made the finals.
Things that grow in the garden that give good material
Snowberry, both white and pink
Ornamental apples (different colours)
Creeping juniper and conifer
This is where you find Minna
A new thing for this year is that Minna has started to record short personal films with inspiration and simple instructions. So keep an eye on the blog, facebook and instagram for them. If you are interested in going to one of Minna’s workshops (decoration, styling, photography etc) and you are a group – contact her. Minna does workshops for groups, it can by any kind of group from friends, associations or professionals who want to learn or get inspired.
In September Minna is running a three day workshop with the world famous Francoise Week from Portland, out on Lidingö for florists. The theme is weddings and already there have been a lot of people enrolling even internationally.
Youtube: Minna Mercke Schmidt
Minna carries on sharing her world of flowers.
It makes me happy.
Thank you for all the inspiration.