Rather unusually for a florist I don’t sell flowers, or do weddings, or funerals. I run classes, sharing hints and tips from the trade, enabling people like you to gain the skills and confidence to create flower arrangements for your home, your business or that special occasion.
My working background is office-based. I have two degrees and worked for nearly twenty years before I decided to re-train as a florist.
I don’t often get a chance to create flower arrangements for pleasure, but when I do, I enjoy working with the materials that my students cast to one side – you’ll always find me with my head in the bin after class! Naturally, when you’re creating a floral gift for a friend you don’t want to use pocked and marked leaves, but those are the ones I love best.
For me the changing seasons and the lifecycle of plants are there to be embraced. Ideally I’d have a workshop next to the compost heap at a stately home so that I could intercept the gardener and breathe new life into all the garden “rubbish” – show me some dead headed roses, silver birch twigs, clematis trails, hips and berries and I’d be in heaven.
I love teaching. One of the best bits is seeing the life affirming reaction of my students as they explore their own creativity with flowers. It’s not about being the best in class, but reaping the benefits of focusing solely on beautiful flowers and soaking up the “therapeutic” side of becoming so engrossed in what you’re doing that the stresses of your day to day life are for the moment set aside. Really, taking a flower arranging class should be the stress-relief-go-to for harassed workers.
I’m a bit of a hoarder and enjoy savouring memories. This means that the hardest part of my job is throwing my class demonstration pieces away. Sometimes my place looks like a Miss Haversham-type floral graveyard. While others see dead and dying flowers, I see change and beauty. I love the fact that a voluptuous, velvety rose becomes crinkled and papery. Both the same rose, both beautiful. But just different.
On a similar theme my dream project would be to be-deck a decaying historic home with flowers and leave them in situ for as long as I dare. I can’t take the credit for the originality of the idea though – you can follow the story of the flower house in Detroit on social media. I’d also like to work with the National Trust and get an insider’s view of the rooms and gardens in their care – mind you, we have a wealth of historic homes locally which I’d like to explore. I’d flit between working with the Head Gardener and the owner of the house!
If it hadn’t been flowers, I like to think that it would’ve been fashion. I have an A-level in Fashion and Textiles and would love to have pursued a career in that area. I was too scared and too square. Its flowers all the way now!
And if I shared just one thing with you what would it be? Flower arranging isn’t just about plonking some carnations from the supermarket in a vase, its art and nature intertwined.