In Conversation with Florist Thomas Broom

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.30.18Floristry & photo by Thomas Broom

It's fair to say flower fever has hit team Chinti - London is in bloom and our gorgeous new Tulip Print Dress has just launched. To celebrate both, we have called upon supremely talented florist, Thomas Broom, for some serious flower inspiration, as well as tips on how to recreate his insanely beautiful, natural arrangements that let a flower do 'it's thing'.

How did you get in to floristry?

I have always loved flowers ever since I was a child. I was a chorister in a cathedral choir and always took great interest in the activities of the flower ladies! This led to an interest in gardening and so on. When it came to career choices, however, I was advised that floristry/horticulture was not an ideal career choice, so I ended up studying tourism and worked as airline cabin crew for 14 years. I then decided that I really needed to follow my heart and work with flowers, so I enrolled on a City and Guilds Floristry diploma and haven't looked back since.

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.31.23Floristry & photo by Thomas Broom

Your arrangements have an incredibly beautiful, natural flow to them. Is this a very instinctive thing or do you have a certain method for creating it?

My formal training enabled me to learn the technical skill I required, but the gardener in me always wanted to be a little messy and let the flowers do their thing. Nothing in nature is perfect - a stem might be a little curvy, or a flower head a bit top heavy; I firmly believe in working with the flowers not tweaking them so they are completely rigid. In this way, you can see flowers and foliage for what they are not what we have made them be. I have always been inspired by the late great Constance Spry, who was a great advocate of this style. More recently, I have been guided by the Little Flower School Brooklyn's Nicolette Owen and Sarah Ryhanen. They have taught me a lot.

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.32.06Floristry & photo by Thomas Broom

Chinti and Parker are launching their new Tulip Print Dress this week. What are your favourite kind of tulips and how do you most like to use them?

Tulips! My favourite tulips! I love them all! So many to choose from... But, seriously, any Parrot Tulip makes my heart sing. The Beauty of their ruffled edges is so unusual and the way that they open so beautifully creates a spectacular display. My favourite tulip for the last three years is La Belle Époque - it has the most fabulous sepia-coloured blooms, which becomes paler with age, revealing coal black stamens. It has everything I want from a tulip, with added 'fin de siècle' elegance. I love to use tulips in mixed arrangements, but nothing is better than just tulips in a vase.

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 11.28.44Floristry & photo by Thomas Broom

What do you love most about your job?

I love the creativity involved. But most of all, it is the fact that flowers make people smile. I want people to love the flowers as much as I do. Every day brings something different, a new flower and a new creative possibility. Working with flowers is the best career path I have chosen - it's sounds terribly cheesy, but it's true!

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.33.38Floristry & photo by Thomas Broom

What are your top tips for choosing and arranging flowers

Always try and work with what is seasonal. I also tend to use British grown flowers. As far as arranging goes, although there are several techniques, it really is about enjoying the experience of 'playing' with flowers. Experiment, mix flowers you have bought with blooms or foliage from the garden. Try not to use floral foam, it is not biodegradable and has no environmental credentials at all!

4166425502Florist Thomas Broom at Petersham Nurseries where he is also horticultural manager