FLOWER school could well become the new pastime for those wanting to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life for a few hours - particularly when it’s taught the Rosemary Hume way.
Rosemary welcomes pupils into her home just outside Greenlaw, set up on the hillside with glorious views across the Merse and the Cheviot Hills , and passing through her warm and welcoming kitchen into her flower studio is not like going into any classroom most of us remember.
After all can you ever remember any of your teachers saying:” I like anarchy in my classes”?
That, however, is Rosemary’s philosophy.
“I want to call it a school because I want to pass on genuine knowledge and techniques of flower design,” added Rosemary who is keen to move away from the stiff and formal floristry teaching she associates with college.
“I learnt intricate techniques of flower design and I feel that some of these thing have been lost and that it’s nice to be passing them on because the more knowledge people have at their fingertips the freer they become to do their own thing,” said Rosemary.
“Once you’ve learnt the rules you can start breaking them!”
Only someone secure in their knowledge and understanding of a subject could take such an approach to teaching, and Rosemary has the background to justify her relaxed method of passing on her knowledge.
A graduate of the London School of Floristry, complemented by a City and Guilds qualification in textile design, Rosemary has spent a lifetime creating beautiful, unusual, challenging, modern and classical flower arrangements.
Her creations have graced the likes of the Royal Albert Hall in London, St George Chapel, Windsor as well as functions in Italy, France and America.
“I was trained years ago,” said Rosemary.
“I had been working at the Daily Express and my mum went to Chelsea Flower Show. She rang me when she got back and said she’d booked me in to train in flower arranging.”
And perhaps her mother’s actions weren’t as random as they may have seemed at first.
“I went to train, and never went back to the Express.”
“I really love doing it.
“I love flowers because they are natural and wonderful, and need to be interpreted in such a way that their form is echoed in the design. People don’t realise that they can be therapeutic.”
As well as being the somewhat ethereal headmistress of flower school Rosemary is much in demand as a freelance flower designer and is often called on to take care of the flowers at local weddings, although it has also been known for her to travel as far as France to do wedding flowers.
“I’m a freelance wedding flower designer and have been very lucky doing the flowers for weddings at Wedderburn Castle, Duns Castle and Mellerstain.
“Each wedding I do I put my all into it,” said Rosemary who was quick to praise her assistant Shirley, who under Rosemary’s guidance has become a very proficient flower designer now as well.
One of Rosemary’s biggest challenges was doing the flowers for an Indian wedding held at Mellerstain. Her husband helped by creating a traditional mandap - a platform for the ceremony - which Rosemary then covered with flowers.
A day at Rosemary’s flower school, which includes expert tuition and lunch, is becoming a very popular present – be it Christmas, birthday or Easter present – and she’s also finding that it’s becoming popular with groups of women treating themselves to something a little different for a girly day out.
“My school is very flexible because different people want different things from it,” said Rosemary.
“I’ve given classes to professionals to pass on this more free style.
“Some people want to know how to do church decorating or others might want to know how to do modern crisp design. Once they know the basic techniques they can become creative.
“I like to know that people can get an idea from their own garden flowers to do something gorgeous with them and what I really like is that people are surprised at what they can do.
“I would like to think that men can come too,” added Rosemary. “If people grow their own flowers it’s great to know what to do with them.
“Flowers are a perfect vehicle for creative expression and working with beautiful materials from the natural plant world ensures there is no chance of anybody failing to achieve something wonderful to take home by the end of a class.
“I use silk flower and wild materials.
“What I love is if I’m demonstrating and someone has their own ideas – I’m all about anarchy in my classes!”
Once pupils have mastered the basics Rosemary is more than delighted when they feel confident enough to start being creative with their new found knowledge.
The five elements Rosemary includes in her classes are: flowers in classical form; big displays, in a more relaxed form; modern crisp designs; making containers look beautiful; and making presents – how to make something out of the garden that looks wonderful
If you wanted to take it a stage further you could even enrol on a diploma course with Rosemary.
That would cover big displays; how to decorate venues; design concepts (a lot of texture and form); design elements; and basic rules of flowers.
Hen parties, family groups and groups of friends are spending either a morning or a whole day in Rosemary’s flower studio and Rosemary sends them away full of optimism and joie de vivre.
“Creative expression really does fill the mind with confidence and optimism which is perhaps what we are all looking for at this moment in time,” said Rosemary, who feels that now is the right time for her school.
For more details about the Rosemary Hume Flower School contact Rosemary at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 01361 810321.