Up until fairly recently, fake flowers were a no-no; cheap looking (but not cheap to buy) and rather OTT all round. The British public’s interest in their gardens seems to be at an all time high; this month’s Chelsea Flower Show is one of the busiest weeks in London and as a nation, we have a reputation for getting out and getting our fingers green…but it’s not always that easy. Fake unique flowers and plants provide a surprisingly good backup service when the real thing isn’t available. Companies specialising in faux shrubbery are springing up all over the place and so I’ve chosen my favourite picks from this bunch of rather clever plastic topiary.
One of the best places for all things faux floral is Fake Landscapes. Based on the Fulham Rd, their shop looks like some sort of colourful jungle, with every type of plant and flower you can imagine. They specialise in silk flowers in subtle colours and detailed petals that come in single stem arrangements and can then be arranged accordingly, the point being that they look real. Fake Landscapes also do the most wonderful topiary, in either classic boxwood shapes or in slightly more unusual designs…like the pig. Artificial topiary is great in a city; not only do they require less work but they are waterproof and sturdy whilst still providing that bit of green that is so often missing from city homes. Consider boxwood balls in galvanised pots on a windowsill or outside a front door to smarten and liven up a bland space.
Selection from FAKE landscapes
Photo courtesy of Natalie Fernbach at Cullum Design
OKA, kings of all things homeware have the most beautiful selection of faux flowers, with an entire collection designed by florist Willow Crossley. From sweet peas to peonies and lavender, their artificial plants and flowers are very much focused on an English cottage garden and the result is blooms that are fresh looking, colourful and homely. The faux cottage garden bunch includes all of the above, and you can purchase the elegant hurricane vase with it. This would make a wonderful addition to a Hall or Kitchen table; eye catching enough to have as a centrepiece but is also soft enough as a background decoration.
Faux cottage garden bunch
Willow Crossley’s collection doesn’t just look as great as real flowers but her combination of textures and colours makes them look good enough to eat. This Chatterpie bunch is my favourite because of its softness; periwinkle and irises in various shades of blue are perfectly complemented by cream lathyrus. This bunch would make the perfect bedside table addition. Flowers are notoriously calming and so having some by your bed is an ideal way of prettying up a room but with these artificial ones, there’s no risk of sneezing, bees or spilled water. Pop one on each bedside table in your spare Bedrooms and you’ll never have to think about guests’ flowers again.
The Chatterpie Iris bunch – Willow Crossley
Sometimes, you just want something simple and not a huge colourful bouquet. Enter Bloom, one of the original silk flower companies who have everything from lavender pots to ferns, and this beautifully simple arrangement of white bulbs. For a bachelor pad; for a minimalist house or just to spruce up a smaller area, something simple and classic looks just as elegant as a huge arrangement, if not more so.
White bulb arrangement
If flowers are too flowery, adopt an artificial cactus instead. At 35cm high, it’s a bit smaller than an enormous bouquet but bigger than a space-filling posy and provides the necessary green without distracting from whatever interiors schemes you may already have. Cacti make wonderful house plats but this one needs even less attention and won’t dry out or lose its colour. On balconies, in corners, by French doors…you can literally put these anywhere.
Graham and Green
Faux potted golden barrel cactus
People who assume that fake flowers are a cop-out couldn’t be more wrong; the above examples show that they can easily be just as beautiful as the real thing but with minimal fuss. Nothing is sadder than throwing away a bunch of wonderful blooms and I for one tend to keep them for as long as possible for precisely this reason. Go for faux and you could be pleasantly surprised.
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