spring wreath - tulips, roses,

In a vase on Monday (not)- Spring wreath

Inspiring Women – motto of the Women’s Institute 

I went on a wonderful adventure last weekend – a flower arranging course in a Georgian mansion in the beautiful village of Marcham, in Oxfordshire.   It wasn’t just in any old place – I went to Denman College which is part of the Women’s Institute.

Denman is home of the cookery school, craft and lifestyle courses – there are over 500 courses each year from day courses to week long ones covering all sorts of topics – not just what you’d expect from the WI – cooking, preserves, crafting, dress making, etc. They have classes on history, writing, dancing, drumming, as well as lots of trips and walks.

It was a spur of the moment thing to go – I’ve had such a rough time last year and things are hard going at work, because of departmental mergers. I thought of the contributors to ‘In a vase on Monday’ from all around the world and especially our host Cathy – so much inspiration and support from everyone.  I’ve learnt alot about flower arranging since I started my blog in February last year, though I mostly ‘plonk’ flowers in vases.  I thought now was a good time to learn more.   Also a change of scene – Denman and it’s 17 acres looked amazing on the photos.   So I ‘seized the day’!

spring wreath - tulips, roses,

Spring wreath I made at Women’s Institute Denman College – 1st April 2016

Do have a look at Cathy’s vase over at ‘Rambling in the Garden‘ – she has some beautiful tulips this week. Quite a few of my fellow – vase fillers have chosen tulips this week too.  My tulips in the garden are nearly ready to bloom – lots of purple and white ones from what I remember.   They’re one of my favourite flowers so I’ve planted many in the garden this year,  which seem to have escaped the squirrels – hurrah!

So today’s ‘In a vase on Monday’ isn’t what it should be – not posted on a Monday (Sunday!), not flowers from my garden and not a vase…. so I hope you don’t mind.

  • most of flowers and foliage are from Christine Pearce’s (the tutor) north facing garden in Abingdon in Oxfordshire, or from around the grounds of Denman (with permission) and the roses, tulips and carnation are from the wholesaler. – I hope this counts as ‘local’ for purposes of ‘In a vase on Monday’.
  • flowers – tulips, carnations and roses
  • foliage – Elaeagnus, rosemary, ivy, cornus, Choisya, euonymus
  • wreath base – hessian and hay with a block of oasis at the bottom right.
  • the wreath has a tiny vase in it – can you spot it?
  • I used Oasis for the first time – not too complicated considering everything… and I’ll definitely make more wreaths

My Chap was very impressed!

Wreath Repair 


Spring wreath with the first tulip from the garden by our front door- 4th April 2016

The wreath needed a bit of repair when it got home as it was warm in the classroom and the car…droopy tulips – so I added the first tulip from our garden and a tête a tête.

tulip and daffs Collage

I’m going to write more about my time at Denman in other posts:

  • how to make this Spring wreath – surprisingly simple to do and my first time using Oasis.
  • pot fleur flower arrangement – my 2nd arrangement on the course.
  • my hand tied bouquet with Spring flowers – 3rd arrangement – v simple and logical to do.
  • staying at Denman College – for a Women’s Institute newbie like me 🙂
fountain, garden and view of the house at Denman College,

Denman College – the training centre for the Women’s Institute, Marcham Oxfordshire – 3 April 2016

Anyone can attend a course at Denman – you don’t need to be a member of the WI or a woman! People hold weddings there too.

Fountain and summer house at Denman College - 3 April 2016

Fountain and summer house at Denman College – 3 April 2016

I had a truly wonderful time, in a beautiful location, great food but most of all, with some lovely ladies (mostly from the WI and some not) – the sun was shining too.  I’ll definitely be back.

Carpe Diem

love Bec xx

Note: I paid full price for my course at Denman College and neither Denman or the Women’s Institute asked me to write a blog post about my visit.  


20 thoughts on “In a vase on Monday (not)- Spring wreath

    1. Bec Post author

      Thanks Emma – I was so chuffed with my wreath – really easy to do. Denman is wonderful (great food and cake!) – long days though, so it’s taken me all week to recover…


  1. Cathy

    Thanks you so much for sharing this Bec – most interesting to hear about the college and what it entails. I have never thought of doing a spring wreath before – but why not, as it is very decorative. I know you said it wore you out but nevertheless I hope it was still the tonic that you thought it would be.


  2. Caro

    Thanks for sharing your day at Denman with us, it’s sounds like a wonderful day was had. I’ve checked out some of the other courses – luckily (for my waistline!) the course on making patisserie was booked up! Your wreath is beautiful – it becomes quite addictive so I hope we’ll be shown more of your new skills!


    1. Bec Post author

      thank you – it was really easy to do. And Denman was lovely – like a mini stately home (with amazing food too) and beautiful en suite bedrooms. I’ll definitely go back 🙂


    1. Bec Post author

      Yes – I think I’d have them at other times too. I’m definitely going to make more. I’m writing another post about how I made it. Really simple to do 🙂


    1. Bec Post author

      Thank you donna – it was a wonderful weekend away – the class was great. Long days though. I’m so chuffed with my wreath too 🙂


  3. Pingback: (A wreath not) A vase on Monday – deck the halls | Views from my garden bench

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