British Flower Week
This week is when florists and growers celebrate all the fabulous flowers that are grown in the UK.
One of the unexpected but positive side effects of Brexit is that British Flower sales have increased hugely as flowers coming in via the giant auction in Holland have risen steeply in price. This has encouraged our growers to expand their businesses and that is all good news for us florists. Read More
Foam Free Flower Arranging
The challenge for my Confidence Builders (Group 1) class this week was to create a traditional moss filled chicken wire form and use it instead of green floral foam to support their flowers.
I had done research in old floristry books to see how this was done in the past and come up with a method for them all to try. We had to have the right kind of moss, the right kind of chicken wire and practice wiring the flowers into the frame. It was fascinating to (read more) Read More
Heat hours don't sound very glamorous but just try going into your local supermarket and asking them how many heat hours their roses have had! I bet they don't have a clue and don't even know what they are! That is why you should buy your Valentines Day roses from me!
I know exactly what mine are because my roses are coming directly from the growers greenhouse to my studio because I buy direct. Most flowers will have been from the grower to the flower auction in Holland to a flower distributor in Holland to a Wholesaler in Britain and then on to the final retailer. Read More
Have you ever had flowers sent to you and been disappointed when they didn't last well. These are some simple ideas to get the best from your next bouquet.
When your flowers arrive resist the temptation to leave any wrapping on them. Get them into a vase as quickly as possible otherwise the wrapping stops the air circulating round the flowers and makes them more susceptible to bacteria. This shows as brown spots on the petals that eventually spreads and the whole flower collapses.
Check as you put them in your vase that no leaves will be under the water. If they will then remove them otherwise they will rot and spoil the water.
Make sure you use water with flower food added to it to keep the water clear and make the flowers develop to their full size and best colour.
An extra thing to note with roses is that they hate the water from aerated taps. For roses run the water into the vase but then leave it 30 minutes before putting the roses into the water. Read More
20 Years On
Today I am heading back to London to Kensington Palace to mark 20 years since Princess Diana died. I am going because I feel the memory of her is being hijacked by "royal attention seekers" draped in union jacks and conspiracy theorists hanging posters touting frankly nonsensical theories to an eager press.
I will be leaving flowers away from the main hue and cry to remember and exceptional woman who made a real change to our society simply through her innate humanity. She wasn't perfect by any means but that is exactly the point, her faults and her understanding of them made her open to people who we all as a society shied away from. Read More
Now, being a florist it is unlikely that a big bunch of roses is winging its way to me this week. But if it was, what would I want in it? Well, I would be looking for something super special. I would want scented roses. To me a rose without scent is not quite right. It is the first thing we all do when we pick up roses - check for scent.
The first rose I picked was 'Mamy Blue', this is a fabulous rose with a colour reminiscent of the old French garden roses. Just glorious! It reminds me a little of the garden rose 'Rhapsody in Blue'.
I can see another rose, Rosa 'Real Rose', in a beautiful relaxed bouquet, maybe with blue clematis and garden foliage. Loose and flowing, perfect in an old vintage vase on the sideboard. Read More
I started flowers because I saw someone else doing them and wondered whether I would be able to do the same? Flower arranging is such a lovely thing to do as it is all about choosing flowers you love and knowing how to get the effect you would like from them. I was so excited when I found that I could do it and realised how much I enjoyed it.
Our new "Basics" course shows you how to "do" flowers. A friend of mine once described flower arranging as "the dark arts". I think he was exaggerating but I know that if you don't know the difference between a "frog" and a "shovel" it makes it all seem very intimidating.
The good news is that once all those things are explained life becomes really easy and you can concentrate on the fun bit of creating beautiful flowers for your own home. If you get really keen we can guide you to a great local flower club where you can see demonstrations and meet like minded people.
Exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show is an addictive thing. It becomes an essential part of your horticultural year. I've exhibited there with my previous company, Hilliers, for 22 years as part of a fabulous team with decades of experience and an unrivalled record.
When I left Hillier last summer I knew I would return to Chelsea as I am a judge for the RHS. What I didn't know was that I would be back this year. Early in the year I was approached to be part of a team of three Gold Medal winning designers that Andrew McIndoe was putting together. Read More
One of the lovely parts about working as a studio florist, that's a florist without a physical shop, is that you are free to take on freelance projects as and when they crop up. You tend to build up a network of other florists who are familiar with your work and who can call on you when they get a big project that needs extra pairs of hands.
This week saw me winding my way through the Hampshire countryside to a beautiful private house. Andy McIndoe had been called in to turn the blank canvas into a fairytale country house wedding. That needed a bigger team than usual so eight of us assembled early in the morning to start conditioning and sorting flowers as they arrived from the wholesalers.
I love the winter! I am a huge fan. The nights draw in, fires get lit, leaves rustle on the ground and our colour palette gets richer and warmer. My wedding was a winter one with a rich, dark green, velvet dress and glowing red flowers. So the poinsettia is a flower I adore.
Liz Anderson, the PR guru, subtley slid the idea of me doing a bouquet for the Stars For Europe poinsettia campaign into a conversation we were having about me assisting Okishima & Simmonds in producing their Living Poinsettia Dress for International Poinsettia Day 2015. Liz is one of life's quietly persuasive people and before I really knew what had happened I found I had said yes! Read More
December 12th 2015, is International Poinsettia Day, celebrating this most expressive of Christmas plants.
Funnily enough one thing I really do know about is poinsettias, having been plant buyer for the Hillier Garden Centre Group for 27 years I was the person responsible for finding the best poinsettias, working out how many we needed, getting them into store and then back to the customers home without mishap and making sure we sold everything we had bought.
So when I left Hillier this summer I thought my poinsettia days were over, But a quick call from PR guru Liz Anderson and I found myself back in the middle of the most fabulous poinsettia nursery, Hills Brothers, in the wilds of Chichester earlier this month. Read More
Every florist relies on great flowers to allow them to create the most beautiful designs. Flowervision in Southampton are my regular supplier and while I dash in and out picking up orders and browsing for flowers daily, a special open day is always a treat.
Last week it was time for Fred and Andy's Christmas Open Day. This gave me a chance to see all their latest sundries - rustic baskets, colourful glass containers, delicious velvet ribbons and everything I need for wreaths and table designs over Christmas. Read More
Every business has to start somewhere and you are joining me at the beginning of my journey. My posts are going to be just like me: slightly rambling, hopefully with a little humour and all about flowers.
This week has been a bit scary really. My website is set up, the press releases have gone out, I did a launch piece on Radio Solent, I have been pounding the pavements of Southampton putting postcards through doors, My posters adorn various locations round Southampton and my first beginners classes started on Friday evening.
It was a week to stop and draw breath and see how far I have got. I suspect what I really learnt is how far I have to go! It was also a chance to take a little time out and relax with my eldest daughter returning to uni on Friday.
Salisbury Cathedral was my first destination this week
Click the title or image to read more... Read More