After nearly three decades of running a model agency, Melissa Richardson started JamJar Flowers in 2009 as a “small, simple flower business.” But it didn’t take long for her uniquely bohemian, elegant flower bouquets to grab the attention of stylish Londoners. “It suddenly turned into this huge thing,” Richardson tells us over the phone from her shop in south London.
There’s a refreshingly unfussy, natural look to JamJar’s bouquets – kind of like a handful of beautiful flowers you might pick on a morning walk. “We like ‘un-messed-around’, simple, seasonal flowers,” Richardson says. “I like them to be as natural looking as possible.”
The same can be said about her floral installation now on display inside Sketch’s Champagne Pommery Lounge, in celebration of the Chelsea Flower Show taking place this week. It's a manifestation of her simple style but on a grand scale – and "grand" it most certainly is. It took a team of ten people a full weekend to make the installation, using 3,000 flowers and another 3,000 pieces of foliage. “The idea was to make the room look like an enchanted forest with a suspended garden and an upside-down meadow,” she says.
Caption: JamJar Flowers' installation inside Sketch's Champagne Pommery Lounge
Alongside JamJar’s work, other larger-than-life floral installations featured at Sketch (until 29 May) include pieces by The Flower Appreciation Society and Carly Rogers Flowers. During the event special “floral afternoon tea” set menus will be available, with musical accompaniment including violin and cello recitals and jazz performances.
Looking ahead at the flower-filled week, we ask Richardson to pick her top things “to-do” in London.
One of our lovely florists is leaving so I’m planning on going to the Dutch Flowers exhibition at The National Gallery with my team. There are so many paintings I want to see there. I try to go to as many exhibitions as possible.
After the exhibition, we are going to go to a bar in East London called Pamela – a strange name, I know, but it looks fabulous. A friend of mine owns it and I’ve never been. I might go for a Whispering Angel rosé – I love it at this time of year – or a vodka and fresh, blood-orange-juice cocktail.
Frank's Café is in Peckham and if you haven’t been, you must go! It’s on the roof of a car park and you can see the whole of London from there. They always have very simple yet scrumptious food. I like ‘un-messed-about’ food – rather like my flowers. I remember recently having a delicious dish of Burrata cheese and amazing tomatoes.
I’m going to the Chelsea in Bloom party at Brora, near Sloane Square, this week. We did an installation there and I’m looking forward to seeing my flowers at the party, rather than before and after. It has a carnival theme. I grew up in a house with a beautiful garden and woods all around me, so flowers have been a passion of mine forever.
I love the atmosphere of Wilton’s Music Hall. It’s one of the most magical places in London. It has an amazing history and is so carefully and lovingly restored. I went to see a Greek tragedy there, not so long ago. I love the beautiful bar inside as well.
Text by Jainnie Cho