Silk roses

Autumn is taking its toll on nature. The trees are showing their bare branches as the last leaves fall onto the cold wet ground. The grass is not as green any more. The days are short, grey and full of drizzly rain. Gardens seem to be hybernating and apart from a lonely pink nerine or a yellow spike of mahonia the eye does not see any bright colours.

Fortunately for us, handmade silk flowers are still there where the fresh ones might have gone. They please our eye and lift our spirits. Old English roses continue to flower despite the autumnal darkness.

Old English Rose brooch

I am often asked to do a rose tutorial. To be honest, roses are one of the most complicated flowers to be created out of silk and before  one attempts to try and make a complicated silk rose dozens of less complex flowers have to be made to gain enough experience, get to know the tools and properties of the silk, learn coloration techniques and flower shapes. Obviously a .pdf tutorial will not suffice in this case. Although a one-to-one session is ideal, in the modern world of technology the Skype lesson is next best. And now let’s concentrate on Christmas pieces!

Peter Beales: classic English roses

Last Saturday in between the showers we set off to visit Peter Beales nursery, which so happens to be only 20 minutes drive from our place. Peter Beales, sadly deceased earlier this year, was very well known as a rosarian, author and lecturer. Beales was considered one of the leading experts on roses, especially species and classic roses, preserving many old varieties and introducing 70 new cultivars during his lifetime.

Our humble collection has one of Peter Beales’ roses and we’ve got our eyes on another one for next year.

Coincidentally last weekend the nursery held the 3rd annual rose festival with garden tours, draws, competitions, workshops and much more. And although we did not manage to win a free rose plant we did have a lovely time and enjoyed spectacular rose blooms. We took pictures too!

I have to say that such places are a heaven for silk flower artist, and Peter Beales nursery is not an exception. 
Every rose bloom I saw was crying to be recreated in silk. The colours were amazing, the shapes   were so diverse. Suddenly everything I studied on silk rose making started to make sense: the form of the blooms, the colouring, the shape of petals etc.
Peter Beales roses are very different in shape and colour but most of them do have scent. In the catalogue the scent values from 0 (no scent) to 10 (strongly scented).
A lot of varieties produce large double blooms so packed with petals (see the picture above) one might mistake them for some other flower. 

More conventional shaped blooms can be found too.

I particularly liked the varieties which produce numerous clusters of small pompon-like blooms. The one above looks almost like a cherry blossom to me.

Large open flowers with a simple shape looked equally impressive and inspired me to be repeated with fabric.

But best of all I like double flat roses in pastel colours like the one above. They are delicate and fragile and irresistibly beautiful.
After this visit I returned home inspired and full of ideas for the weeks to come. I hope you enjoyed the pictures of beautiful rose blooms too.