South of the Liffey, tucked in behind South Georges Street sits Drury Street, a charming side street enhanced by some impressive architecture and a bustling atmosphere. It also boasts some of the most creative outlets in the city, and is adorned with cafes, independent fashion retailers, design studios etc. We decided to spend some time getting to know our neighbours, starting with our friends over at Appassionata.
Appassionata opened on Dublin’s Drury St five years ago this November, after originally starting up as a small studio based venture behind Westland Row. At the time, there weren’t many places to purchase carefully selected flowers and plants in Dublin City, and so Ruth Monahan decided to relocate. Since then, they have catered for all varieties of functions and media events. Their work has been heavily featured in publications such as Image, The Gloss and most recently, Bash magazine. Ruth shared with us some of her preferred aspects of being based on Drury Street, favoring the high standard of creativity amongst fellow retailers. “I definitely think that if there was a prize for best retail displays that Drury Street collectively should win, as people really put so much effort into displaying their wares in the most creative fashion.” It is this approach that keeps the innovative environment of Drury Street so active, which is why we think Appassionata are such an inspiring asset to the area. We popped in for a visit to learn more about their work, and what’s keeping them on their toes this Autumn/Winter.
It’s a busy time of year for Appassionata, with large quantities of Autumnal and Christmas pieces being commissioned. Victoria talked us through some of the primary ingredients for making up their Autumn/Winter treats, with texture and colour being the primary characteristics. Oranges, Pinks and rich Purples are significant in store at the moment, while dried fruits, cinnamon, and lavender are used to create an array of bouquets, wreaths and table arrangements, along with pine and fir to complete a traditional festive scent. During our visit, Victoria was kind enough to spend some time showing us how to create one of their gorgeous Autumn bouquets, using a variety of gorgeous blooms which they stock in store.
First of all, the essential makings are laid out, along with some string, a strong stem clipper, and a vase. The blooms need to be prepared, so be sure to remove excess greenery and stems, while keeping the size of the vase in mind. When choosing your flowers, colour and texture are key. Some of the most effective components for a bouquet at this time of the year are fluffy, coarse and rustic, for example thistle or lavender. Victoria explains that it is important to give your bouquet a strong base, and so she begins twisting together tree fern, oak leaves and salal. These are spiraled together so that they sit nicely in the vase, in addition to giving shape to the bouquet. As they are twisted together, more stems and leaves are removed to keep the structure neat and workable.
Once the base has been pieced together, you can then go on to add some thistle, lavender, and wax flowers, which will give your arrangement a wild and natural appearance. Already, your bouquet should be looking extremely festive, with greens, silvers and purples showing through. The next step is to add some roses. In this case, Victoria chose some gorgeous Orange spray roses, or ‘Miss Piggy’ roses, as they are known. You can just slot these roses into the bouquet, again twisting slightly so as to hold the shape.
At this point, the bouquet is almost complete. You should be looking at a very beautiful and substantial creation by now. The next step is to clip the stems to an even length at the end, and tie them together tightly with twine. After the vase has been filled with water, it is then optional to add a large green leaf in order to hide the stems. That’s it! The autumnal bouquet is complete, and while it may take some practice, there are also a wide variety of flowers to purchase independently in store, so that you can continue to perfect your newfound skill. In addition to plants and blooms, they also stock some beautiful vases, ceramic and clay pots, paperweights and floral greeting cards. We definitely recommend paying them a visit.
Katie Gilligan & Anne-Marie Neligan