Packages in Action: The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers

In our latest Packages in Action feature, Event took a day-long vintage flowers course at The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers.

Tucked away in St Martin's Courtyard, between Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus, the exterior of The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers was adorned with wooden crates, containers and a wicker basket attached to a bicycle. Each one was filled with fresh flowers of every variety imaginable - the modern day garden of Eden.

The academy's small, ornate shop was stocked with quaint gifts, toiletries, homeware and of course, bundles of blooms. To the left a staircase led down to a dedicated workshop where skilled florists were working on a number of artistic designs.

Event joined nine participants sat around a large table for the vintage flowers one-day course, led by the Academy's principal Gillian Wheeler, who has taught flower design for more than 20 years. The course attracted individuals from a variety of backgrounds including a City worker from the financial sector, a National Trust representative and one of Laura Ashley's team members. It also enticed a number of international travellers coming as far as Sweden, New Zealand and Mexico.

Gillian begun the course by describing the best ways to condition and look after flowers, from the basics of how to take care of them, stripping stems of thorns and leaves, and the best equipment to use including special Japanese floral scissors.

The practical elements of the course shortly followed, starting with the technique of creating a spiral bouquet. Gillian effortlessly demonstrated how best to gather foliage and flowers into a simple but stunning design reflecting bygone eras. Eucalyptus, lemon balm and salal complemented soft, dusky-toned rosesm, which were all included.

After a one-hour lunch break, the bouquets were finished with cellophane wrapping, string and decorative ribbon before beginning the second project. All partcipants were handed a vintage-inspired tea cup and saucer, oasis soaked in water, and a selection of small buds and foliage to create a petite floral design, which Gillian said is becoming increasingly popular at vintage-inspired events and weddings.

The last project of the day was a buttonhole and participants were handed one cream rose, a couple of leaves and a vibrant flower of their choice. Thin strips of wire were carefully attached to the leaves to ensure they could be bent into a decorative display, and then fixed to the stems with green tape. A fickle process but the end result was a stunning creation ideal for a lapel, or even a hair accessory.

At the end of the six-hour session, participants were able to take their creations home and an abundance of inspiration for vintage-themed occasions.

Package details

Guest numbers

Minimum of ten people.


£75 per person, plus VAT.

What does it include?

  • Tailor-made, bespoke courses suitable to what the customer wants to learn.
  • Each participant will take home a hand-tied bouquet put together, designed and wrapped by themselves, and a buttonhole or a corsage.
  • All flowers and materials included.
  • For an extra charge, Gillian can escort students around the New Covent Garden Market early in the morning, from where students can pick their own flowers to arrange later on in the day.


Gillian Wheeler on or (020) 7240 6359.

Want to be featured in a future Packages in Action? Contact news editor Samantha Edwards for further details.

For more in-depth and print-only features, showcases and interviews with world-leading brands, don't miss the next issue of Event magazine by subscribing here.

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