The Starting Line

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. Michael Bowyer as Creative Director of Salisbury Cathedral Flowers led the design team and was joined by famous florist Angela Turner and metal work designer and flower arranger Pam Lewis.

My photos don't do the designs justice, I was only armed with my iPad and the light levels are pretty low at Salisbury, but I hope they give you a flavour of the exhibits. The cross and candlesticks were done by Farmborough & District Floral Art Group and the altar front was done by Chippenham Flower Club. Braishfield Flower Arrangement Society and St Lawrence Church, Stratford-sub-Castle did a hanging above the altar and the low design on the step round the altar.

The three designers did the gorgeous crosses above and I especially loved the hanging Physalis lanterns (below) in the North transept.

These incredible installation used ten thousand heads of Physalis and was put together by the Cathedral Flower Arrangers with a team of 28!

These archways were the real showstopper of the festival, the combined effort of fifteen different clubs they were simply stunning. They represented the legacy of the Magna Carta, on whose 800th anniversary the whole festival was based, as it forms the foundation of freedom and democracy in many countries as well as our own. 

I am very much hoping that the cathedral issue a DVD of the event as it would be great to revisit it later.

Later in the week I worked as a helper on a fabulous wedding happening at the Montagu Arms in Beaulieu. 

The flowers were loose and elegant and featured the superb, sweetly fragranced rose Norma Jean. As a "new" florist it is really good to practice and polish my skills so an event like this is perfect.

That evening was my very first beginners flower arranging class. I have taught contemporary designers for several years now but I really felt that I wanted to work with people who had little or no experience and give them a real grounding in all the basics that will help them as they progress in their arranging. As a first time class I had two lovely pupils, Jo and Lin who both had different experience but worked really well together. Their task this week was a simple round design but next week they are moving on to a traditional triangle to practice placing stems in at the correct angle and keeping to a sharp outline. Here are their designs from this week; Lin at the top, Jo at the bottom.

After all that work I was ready for some rest and relaxation this weekend which came for me in the form of flowers. I put all the flowers I had used in class into 6 jam jar arrangements and left them at various points round Southampton: The General Hospital, The Spire Hospital, Waitrose, Sunrise Living.

If you found one I hope it cheered you up, do enjoy it!

Pip