There is no excuse for omitting flowers from your life or your boat; it is not about money – one flower or a potted plant is often enough – it is about time and effort. I find them immensely calming and they always give a room a feeling of freshness and homeliness. Usually, I start with white and build upwards. Here are my suggestions for a few ways of introducing flowers on board.
Flowers for the saloon & lobby: Theming your yacht
It is really important to hold your floral theme across the whole yacht, otherwise it will feel schizophrenic. For Lionheart we had a white theme and we focused on different heights to keep the eye busy and add a sense of drama. The look is a modern one that accentuates the height of our ceilings, because I wanted to make a statement when yacht guests entered; the flowers are the same in every room, but we arranged them slightly differently, so as to avoid being too “matchy matchy”. I prefer to keep to one colour and mix shades so as to not have too much going on.
Flowers for a big yacht lunch: Hanging garden
This arrangement was done last year for a yacht lunch party of about 100 during the Monaco Grand Prix, when we always host friends onboard our superyacht Lionheart for about six days in a row. We went for a mélange of phalaenopsis (pale and dark pink orchids), lilac and pink hyacinths, hydrangeas in pale lilac, pale pink antique roses, long hanging dendrobium and a few freesias.
Hanging gardens are a great way of making your yacht stand out, and making the most of the space. It took us a long time to perfect the art of camouflaging the chicken wire (using little hooks discreetly hidden in the ceiling) and timings are crucial: there is no water in a hanging garden, obviously, and so they have to be done overnight.
All my flowers are done by Michelle, who has been with us for 14 years. The first table she arranged for me was full of oranges and pinks and was very overdone. I said: “Take it away, I think I am going to be sick.” She thought I was an ogre! But she quickly learned my style and is still with us after all these years! We spend a lot of time and have a lot of fun, planning down to the last detail.
Flowers for the yacht bathrooms & bedrooms: Intimate details
I always match the flowers in the yacht’s bedroom and the bathroom as I like symmetry; they don’t have to be set in the same way, but the colours and the theme will always match so there is a feeling of cohesion. For this set, we used tuberoses, calla lilies and thai orchids, and made sure there were plenty of candles.
I change the flowers in the bedrooms and bathrooms once a week and if we go on a big trip and I know it will be hard to source flowers locally, I tend to use potted flowers and plants, and then gather any local flora and fauna, shells, leaves etc.
Very occasionally I will use fake flowers, but you have to be careful or they can look naff. Generally, when it comes to fake ones, less is more.
Flowers for yacht bars and centrepieces: Keeping it simple
This was a simple arrangement of bar flowers we did to match a lunchtime yacht event. We worked with green hydrangeas, white and peach roses and peach amaryllises in tall vases, and upstairs sprinkled flower petals in and around the Champagne bucket, spa pool and bar areas to add pretty sprays of colour.
Flowers for evenings on your superyacht: How to use light
I love using different types of lighting with flowers as it can completely change the look. For this arrangement we used those little plastic LED ice cubes that you can get in any good party or hardware shop, and you hit them to light them up. We hid them inside white hydrangeas, which we mixed with younger, greener hydrangeas and thai orchids again; you can also get them in different colours if you want to add red or purple or anything else a bit splashier. I like to build up the tables using different layers, and used mirrored trays here to create a step effect and mix things up a little.
Flowers for superyacht dinners: Formal flowers
This arrangement was for a superyacht dinner we did for about 18 people, which we themed red and black for more of a formal mood. We based it on the Grand Prix red rose, which we sourced from a local market, and adorned each ball with beautiful silver wire we found in a local hardware shop, inserting a fake pearl into each rose head to give it a twist. We had numerous candles, of course, which are as important as flowers; the whole room smelt amazing.