Styling, Photos, Feature by Theoda Solms Iles
The next stop on my flower journey through South Africa brings me to my parents home. In my eyes, my mom is the master and oracle of all things floral! From fresh flowers to floral prints, designs and art – she knows and loves them all. Gerda Solms has the ability to arrange flowers in such an effortlessly way, she makes it look so easy as if everyone can do it. It might sound like I’m showing off with my mom, and I unashamedly am, because it is my mom, so do forgive me.
A green and autumnal foliage display gets a lift with fruit and red love-lies-bleeding.
Green foliage, fern, white lily, rose hip, white asters and trailing jasmin looks great in this urn on the side table.
Below is another corner that doesn’t get left out, here fragrant rose geranium, lavender, grey dusty miller, red love-lies-bleeding and a selection of exotic red plants from the bromelia family, dress this antique chest by the window.
Above: Love-lies-bleeding or amaranths. Selection of foliage, dusty miller, rose geranium, fern, lavender. Two red plants are types of the bromelia-family.
Here my mom and my little girl are picking the flowers for the above arrangement.
My Mom Gerda and Dad Theobald Solms.
Feature & photos by Theoda Solms Iles
All flower displays by Gerda Solms in her home at Bredasdorp, South Africa.
So there’s this small little place in the world that is the curve of my heart. Halfaampieskraal is the farm in South Africa where I grew up, spending very happy and carefree days with my 3 sisters and 1 brother. Before my dad retired, he farmed this little bit of golden land tucked away in the Overberg region, to be precise the Ruens. My very talented brother, Jan-Georg Solms, took over the farming just over 20 years ago and in this time also transformed some of the outbuildings into accommodation and an old barn serves as a venue for events. The manor house has changed just a bit and now acts as the leisure area for guests where they can curl up around the fire drinking local wines in winter or spend endless summer hours on the enormous stoep (veranda), admiring the view to the Riviersonderend mountains. Inside this house the interiors are quite dramatic. During my childhood this was also the case (we often joked that we grew up in a museum) but now my brother, Jan-Georg, has amplified this drama, (giving my parents a go in the ‘dramatic interiors’ stakes) adding lots of eclectic elements, gorgeous items collected from his world wide travels and heirloom pieces that all have a story to tell.
To cut a long and passionate story short, Jan has also inherited my parents’ love for beautiful things and flowers, he knows exactly how to take them to the next level, go big or go home! Here are a few examples of the flower moments that you will find any day of the week at Halfaampieskraal.
Jan-Georg doesn’t do ‘small’, here the dining room table gets a full-on showstopper made up of hydrangea, love-lies-bleeding and small apple branches. The urn standing ontop of a stone plinth, gives this oversize number even more height, filling the room, while still keeping the table surface clear.
Love Lies Bleeding or Amaranthus grows wildly in the the farm garden and looks fabulous on its own against the beautifully hand painted botanical wall art, done by Nelia Solms du Toit (my other sister).
Giant hydrangea heads in opal colours adorning an extra large pale blue vase.
An abundance of farm grown quince fruit, nothing more needed… For me this fruit brings back such happy and nostalgic childhood memories with my dad on this farm. Driving in the bakkie (pick-up truck) with him, dad taking giant bites out of the hard fruit and passing it onto me.
Feature by Theoda Solms Iles
Easter is my favourite holiday and not only because of the chocolate indulgence but also the abundance of flowers that are becoming so readily available. I kind of much prefer it over Christmas. However, the one thing Christmas has that I do like, is Christmas wreaths, so why not borrow the wreath idea and reinvent your own version for spring and Easter.
I made this simple wreath yesterday afternoon from three long Holly bush tendrils that I tied together with bits of wire. Luckily the holly leaves are not too obvious holly shaped! These tendrils are long and very flexibly, you need a bendy plant to make it easier. You can also use willow branches, pussy willow or forsythia for colour (alternatively, buy a ready-made wreath form any florist or craft shop).
For my Spring and Easter touch, I added a purple miniature pansy plant, complete with roots and soil that I wrapped with moss. I’m resting the plant on top of more moss tying it all to the wreath with twine. I finished it off with a few dried bendy twigs that I twisted together to give the illusion of a nest. Adding artificial eggs will also look cute. I initially made this wreath for the front door, but now I like it so much inside, I think it can stay right where it is.
Feature, Styling and Photos by Theoda Solms Iles
A year ago, I visited my family in South Africa. I managed to be in the country for quite a while and so I could spend precious time with each of my siblings and parents. While I was there I took a few pictures of gorgeous flowers and in the next few weeks here on Friday Flowers, I will show you these.
Feast your eye on these burgundy beauties, they are roses from my sister, Ursula Solms’, garden. The dark ones are called, Burgundy Iceberg and the red ones are the very fragrant Papa Meiland. They just look fabulous on their own, nothing more is needed, no foliage even showing. I love how she styled them in an antique brass urn next to the vintage silver trophy and mimicking the fabulous painting in the background (incidentally, painted by my other sister, Nelia Solms du Toit).
Feature & Photos by Theoda Solms Iles
Flowers and display by Ursula Solms, Somerset West, South Africa.
Every time the prestigious fragrance house, Jo Malone London, launches a new fragrance, I think; how can it possibly be more special than the previous one? And every time I’m totally bowled over, and this being no exception (secretly I think this is my ultimate favourite!). As a lover of the colour green and green scents, this collection ticks all the boxes for me. I love that there are 5 different fragrances in 30ml bottles so that you can add to your collection and layer the scents. Just look at the fabulous collection below and as they have just launched in stores, tell me what is your favourite.
The Herb Garden consists of five 30ml colognes; Wild Strawberry & Parsley, Sorrel & Lemon Thyme, Nasturtium & Clover, Carrot Blossom & Fennel, Lavender & Coriander
Smelling the colognes on tester cards right next to the fresh growing herb plants, was such an exciting and captivating experience.
The Jo Malone London townhouse was totally transformed into a herb garden. A stone gravel garden path that’s planted on both sides with fragrant herbs and foliage, led us through to the potted room, that reminded me of an orangery. Here old rustic pots that have been planted up are forming part of an aromatic potted wall structure, showcasing all the herbs involved to create this delectable collection.
feature by Theoda Solms Iles
It’s often the simple things in life that makes all the difference. The past few weeks saw the emerging of purple crocuses painting the lawns purple, lively bushes of snowdrops seem to sprung up overnight and the daffodils have surprised us in early December. But none of those made my heart smile as much as this little posy of wild growing park flowers. My little 4-year-old daughter picked them for me on the way home from school. The simple things are often the best; we must just open ourselves up to them more often and make time to stop to smell and roses, in this case, the daffodils!
PS: Incidentally, all the flowers she picked happen to match the colours in my dress I wore that day, just perfectly, a stylists dream!
Photo & Words by Theoda Solms Iles
Last Friday, while walking back with my little girl from her nursery school, we crossed a cute community garden near our home in Chislehurst. There, on a lonely park bench, my daughter noticed a little floral bouquet of seasonal flowers. My first thought was, ‘oh no, someone must have forgotten them’ and while scanning the area for someone, we notched more bouquets on other benches too and I could even see a bunch of yellow flowers on the steps of the post office. We were immediately intrigued and excited by this unusual appearance. Up-close we noticed that each had a little tag on explaining their purpose; ‘The Lonely Bouquet. Please take me home and enjoy the flowers.’ What a lovely gesture from the guys at National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS)
This Lonely Bouquet certainly made our day.
Our Lonely Bouquet is now a very happy bunch surrounded by love and admiration form the whole family and everyone hearing this heartwarming little story.
Fotos and Feature by Theoda Solms Iles
Have a happy Friday, embrace the weekend and all it has to offer.
Feature and Photo by Theoda Solms Iles
Ah, Snowdrops… probably one of the most magical flowers, evoking imaginative thoughts of fairies and miniature creatures, living in an illustrated world in a different lifetime.
Photo and Feature, Theoda Solms Iles