Book Review – Birkenhead Blooms


The floral art of Alyson Kessel by Alyson Kessel (Struik Lifestyle) ISBN 9781770078512

I was blown away by the detailed photography of each arrangement. The most useful thing about this book is that it is like an easy step by step recipe book for arranging flowers. You know exactly what you need from the shape of the vase, to the ribbon, to the scissors and coloured cellophane paper.

Every arrangement large or small is a tribute to the artiste’s perfection.  The simplicity of where each bloom is placed makes you wonder if you will achieve the same simple arrangement.  Blending of colours and types of blooms used, amazed me. Who would have thought to combine those specific flowers in that kind of vase?

Simplicity is the name of the game. Even floating flowerheads of different sizes and hues makes for an appealing kind of art.  A lemon at the bottom of a vase adds sunshine to the arrangement. Reeds over a shallow bowl form a grid pattern, add a couple of slices of lemon and loose flowerheads and it is impossible to describe how this layered floral art can impress. Fill a narrow vase with frozen peas and add flowers of your own choice and you have a most unusual vase of lovely colours and textures. Using pared down proteas and roses you can use raffia strands or even narrow antique velvet ribbon for a really shabby-chic effect.  Even the “drowned rose look” is in a class of their own.  Make your serviettes pretty and festive with flowers and woven lavender (you are told how to do this)

Alyson Kessel spent 30 years in garment design. The past six years she had been the contract florist for the Birkenhead House and Villa in Hermanus. With no floral formal training she is not bogged down by rules. Her style is minimalistic yet luxurious, quirky and pretty stunning.

Dee Andrew
5/5