Celebrating International Women's Day 2023
Since I was a child I gave my mother flowers on International Women's Day without knowing the real meaning of the occasion. For about one hundred years, International Women's Day has been celebrated on March 8th, the official United Nations-sanctioned global holiday, with the tradition of offering flowers, particularly Mimosa. Every year the UN sets a theme most relevant to today’s world and it is no surprise that in 2022, nations across the world will be honouring women and their role in climate change and sustainability. The theme for this year’s IWD is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” recognizing the contribution of women across the globe who are leading the direction on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable way of living for us all in years to come.
For this important celebration, I have designed a special hand-tied bouquet and gift set to commemorate these achievements. In a stunning, bright polychromatic colour palette, dominated by the complementary colours of purple (representing justice and dignity, the official colour for IWD) and yellow, the floral designs include Mimosa, alongside an exquisite selection of Roses and Lisianthus, green Viburnum Opulus, a bloom that proclaims the freshness of spring, as well as some very rare and exquisite Orchids.
With such a fabulous assortment of flowers, my talented team of florists are able to create magical bouquets and arrangements of exceptional and rare beauty. The IWD Collection comprises a hand-tied bouquet, available in small, medium, large and deluxe, and a special Gift Set which includes a signature Petite Couture arrangement together with our luxury fragranced candle “Cassis Noir,” made with 100% natural ingredients. Exquisitely wrapped in our signature packaging, delivery is available throughout London.
I have always been infatuated with Orchids and using rare Orchids in my designs has become part of the signature style of Neill Strain Floral Couture. For IWD I have selected two very rare Orchids, the ‘Sunanda Lilac Starlight’ Vanda Orchid from Ansu, and the ‘Baby Purple’ Phalaenopsis Orchid from Walter Grootscholten, both exemplary growers in Holland. For this year’s IWD theme, I felt it is important to include something really special, new Orchid varieties that will take us into a sustainable future.
Since the 1990s Ansu is the sole producer of the rare Vanda Orchids in Europe. Covering 6 hectares of glasshouses, the company has a strict environmental protocol with minimal use of energy derived from their own solar panels, maximal recirculation of water and minimal use of chemicals. They have grown from two Vanda varieties (bright pink and purple) to over 100 during the past 30 years. Creating new varieties can take up to 25 years and an important part of the procedure is to find out if the public will like the new flower varieties.
Thanks to the exceptional relationship we have with Ansu, they send us their new varieties to test on our clients so we can then give them valuable feedback that is essential for their selection process. At our Belgravia boutique and our concession at Harrods, every week we have exclusive varieties for our clients to enjoy. The ‘Sunanda Lilac Starlight’ Vanda is a new variety, not commercially available yet, but we really love the colour and spot patterns and to have it in our IWD bouquet is a great privilege.
Rare Orchid varieties on display at Neill Strain Floral Couture in Belgravia
The other rare Orchid in the Collection is a ‘Baby Purple’ Phalaenopsis from Walter Grootscholten. This is also a very new variety only available in limited quantities. Not long ago, Grootscholten sent us this tiny ‘Baby’ Orchid to test. They didn’t really like it because Orchid growers usually want to make their Orchid heads bigger rather than smaller, but their ‘Baby’ Orchids are just perfect in a hand-tied bouquet or our Petite Couture designs. Instead of using just one head we can place a whole stem which transforms the design. Our unique relationship with the growers allows us to work closely with them, communicating our needs, so that they can develop amazing new flowers that might otherwise never exist.
Walter Grootscholten tending to his new 'Baby' Orchids
Grootscholten have been growing Phalaenopsis Orchids since 1972, for cut stems rather than plants. With more than 12,000m2 of glasshouses, they focus primarily on creating long stems and large headed Phalaenopsis. The ‘Baby’ varieties are new but promise to be popular and more widely available in the future.
You can order these flowers online for delivery on Tuesday, March 7th and Wednesday, March 8th only, anywhere in London. I hope you will enjoy these extraordinary flowers for a very special International Women's Day.