Published: 06:00, 24 May 2020
Connecting with nature has been one way we have all kept calm during lockdown - but how about bringing nature inside? There's a whole floral world out there to watch, enjoy and get your hands dirty with...
How about a feel-good floral fight? Kent-based Vic Reeves and Natasia Demetriou have just the ticket. Touted as "Bake Off with plants", Netflix's latest offering, The Big Flower Fight, is so much more than that, say its hosts.
Switching out iced cakes for literal floral fancies, the eight-part series - a major unscripted competition format - sees 10 creative teams square off in a bid to create the most outlandishly beautiful flower installations.
"There are some very, very keen people who produce these magnificent structures almost out of nothing, and very quickly," says Vic, who lives near Deal.
"They're so passionate about it and it's great to see anyone with that amount of passion producing anything."
"It's not Gardeners' World, it's punk rock gardening," the jokes. "I was looking around and thinking, 'A lot of the people here could be in bands'."
Participants are also encouraged to think about plants which give back to the environment - such as pollinating, insect-friendly species.
"I do try and garden, with a degree of success," says Reeves, who next hopes to have comedy film The Glove made - a project he's been working on with comedy partner Bob Mortimer for the last decade.
"My position in this is to be a viewer. If I do get a plant's name right, I get quite excited."
So how has the new interest in floral fancies gone down with the industry?
Nikki Meader of West Malling Flowers, who is also director for the British Florist Association, said: "We're very excited about the new TV show. I know lots of people in the trade, there is quite a buzz about it ."
So if you're thinking of having a go, how do you get hold of the flowers for your full-on creation?
Just as garden centres opened their doors, now florists can fulfil orders online, and, as farmers' markets have done throughout the pandemic, customers will even be able to collect their orders from the shop, but without entering.
"We have always been able to work behind closed doors with social distancing rules to fulfil online and telephone orders, especially funeral tributes. We can now offer click & collect as long as the customers do not enter the shop, which we have been offering from Monday.
"Here at West Malling Flowers we have worked all the way through as flowers supply has been fine, and we've had a continuous supply from both Holland and English growers. Some wholesalers based in England did close for a while, but depending on location and demand we have seen them gradually re-open."
The shop has also been delivering Rainbow Bouquets to local heroes, nominated by local people. Find out more about the bouquets and see the winners on the Facebook page here.
Order online at westmallingflowers.co.uk or call 01732 874874.
Want to try at home?
Kent Adult Education's courses have moved their courses online with Zoom until they are able to return to the classroom.
Among the many subjects you can study from home are a range of floristry ones, ranging from classes such as Floristry - Summer Workshop - Basket of Flowers, which is on Wednesday, July 29 10am to 1pm, costing £26, to Floristry - Designing Innovative Arrangements with Long-Stemmed Flowers four week course from Wednesday, June 10 at 9.30am to 11.30am, costing £75.
You'll get to learn the basic principles of modern floristry, including grouping, balance, recession and shape through demonstrations, group work and discussion.
Courses on offer also include the Arts, languages and more, with details of materials you'll need sent to you in time to join your tutor online on the day.
To find a course suitable for you visit kentadulteducation.co.uk
* Read the full interview in this week's What's On, inside your local KM Group newspaper. The Big Flower Fight is available on Netflix from this week.