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28 February, 2023

A lifelong love affair with flowers

La Residence

Madeleine has been with The Royal Portfolio for almost 8 years, and her role is a particularly impactful one. As the florist at La Residence, she is responsible for the stunning floral displays that greet guests on arrival, and which add colour, scent and visual appeal to each guest space.
Madeleine’s entry into floristry was slightly unconventional, but is another great example of how we’ve been able to take people under our wing, and give them opportunities to grow professionally through exploring their passions.
Madeleine first became aware of La Residence through helping her sister with upholstery repairs – the then-GM of La Residence was so impressed with her eye for detail and her perfectionism that he immediately offered her a role.

For the love of flowers

Like all true creative spirits, Madeleine loves her work. From a very young age, she gained a reputation amongst members of her community for her stunning floral arrangements. She was soon much in demand for weddings and funerals, and her designs added greatly to the joy of unions, as well as setting a suitable tone for farewells.
Aware that many of her neighbours were not wealthy, Madeleine refused to accept payment for her services. Her passion for flowers and her desire to help people was reward enough.
As a florist, Madeleine has an incredible array of blooms to work with. Her clear favourites, however, are sunflowers which she loves for their bold colours and cheerfulness. She also loves proteas, which are native to the Western Cape, and many of her arrangements feature Lisianthus, which was always her mother’s favourite bloom. These flowers also work well together – they almost arrange themselves.

Learning and growing

When it comes to the finer points of floral art, Madeleine credits Founder of The Royal Portfolio, Liz Biden, with helping her to enhance her skills.
Liz is renowned for her mastery of colour and for her intuitive ability to spot connections between seemingly disparate elements as she creates interior design schemes. These talents flow naturally into flower arranging, and Liz was only too happy to share her expertise and experience with Madeleine.
The result is a signature look for the cut flowers at La Residence that reflects Liz’s design philosophy, whilst still giving Madeleine the room she needs to express her own individual style. As a result of spending time with Liz, Madeleine now often uses tiger lilies and snapdragons – snapdragons are one of Liz’s favourites. Tiger lilies, meanwhile, were the flower that the two ladies bonded over, after Liz was able to advise Madeleine on how to make the best possible use of these striking blooms.

Sharing the love

To this day, whenever she visits La Residence, Liz makes a special point of complimenting Madeleine on the day’s arrangements.
Liz is not the only visitor to La Residence to have been impressed by Madeleine’s handiwork. Madeleine now offers flower arranging lessons on request, where she shares secrets like the importance of starting with a ‘full house’ of greenery before adding the flowers. In this way, a story of passion and proteas that began in South Africa is now making its way around the world, one flower-filled home at a time.
Be sure to look out for Madeleine’s arrangements – on display throughout La Residence in an eclectic selection of containers, each hand-picked by Liz to complement the floral artistry of her protégé. And of course, Madeleine is always happy to share her secrets for achieving your own remarkable results at home.

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