Hello, how are you doing?
It’s been a while since I said hi and filled you in on what’s been going on here at Floribunda Rose.
Where to begin?! Things have been incredibly busy over the last few months and to be honest my feet have barely touched the ground…
I was thrilled to bits to be asked to design an installation at Chelsea Flower show for Tom’s Studio… The brief was ‘Wild and natural’ outside and ‘Understated and Intentional’ on the inside, so there was no stopping me. The final eco friendly design was created to make a brand new building look as if it had been there forever and a day? My team and I added meadow boxes and planting to the whole of the outside of the studio which clambered up and along the roofline giving an overgrown and natural vibe. We added fragrant wisteria, honeysuckle and lily of the valley along with a myriad of gorgeous seasonal flowers to ensure that it smelt incredible.
Creating a design to last a week (when as a wedding florist my designs usually need to last 24 fabulous hrs) was a challenge, it was really hard to keep everything looking perfect every day but I learned HUGE amounts and know that Tom was really happy with how it all turned out. We had masses of people stopping by to smell the flowers and grab a selfie under the wisteria and I got to talk British Flowers (and engage in a little artisan pen talk too) for a full week so it truly was an incredible experience.
You may know that I’m a member of Flowers From The Farm, if not – in brief, it’s a fantastically supportive collective of flower growers, florists using British Flowers and farmer/florists all over the UK. Do have a look on the website www.flowersfromthefarm if you’d like to see where your nearest flower growers or florists using British Flowers are) I digress… So – this year I was asked if I would like to be a part of the team representing Flowers From The Farm at Chelsea Flower Show and I said YES without thinking twice! It was an absolutely fantastic experience and unlike my Chelsea this design was judged by The RHS. We got GOLD which apparently is unheard of – no one rocks up for the first time and gets gold… except we did!!! It was such a wonderful thing to have been a part of I couldn’t have felt prouder of each and every member that worked so tirelessly to pull it all together.
Next up was a huge challenge – find a bigger studio, one where I can teach things like how we make fabulous floral hoops with plenty of space to work, with room to relax and chat all things weddings and events with clients and store all of the vases and vessels and candlesticks and all manner of other gorgeousness that I simply had to have for this or for that… Must haves included floors that didn’t mind the odd dousing with water, parking for 12 cars and a van (minimum) no issues with crazily early or late working times and high ceilings… asking much? Well I found a place!
It’s in a little place called Rotherwick near Hook in Hampshire on a farm, it needed a LOT of renovating but I’m absolutely thrilled to bits with how its all shaping up (I even have a corridor devoted to buckets which might sound deranged but as a busy florist is making me really, really happy!). Getting it completely ship shape has been taking up all of my spare time for a while so I’ll be chuffed to bits to get the final elements sorted over the next few days.
So what else? Well it’s been such a year…
To my amazement my design for British Flowers Week won the competition to be allowed to install a week long design at the beautifully renovated and totally gorgeous The Garden Museum next to Lambeth Palace in London. It was as fabulous as it was exhausting… early starts, long days and amazing times ensued for that whole week – I was interviewed on the BBC’s Breakfast programme (terrifying and exciting in equal measures!) and got to meet The Duchess of Cornwall as well as Alan Titchmarsh and Shane Connolly among others through the week. It was fabulous to wave the flag for the beautiful flowers that growers on our fair shores manage to grow despite battling the elements, pests and marauding animals at times… They are an incredible bunch these growers and without their knowledge and experience and expertise I wouldn’t have access to so much of what i love to include in my floristry… textural beautiful fragrant elements that I simply couldn’t get through wholesalers.
I launched the Floribunda Rose Flower School – Where all the flowers and foliages are British and every technique is as eco friendly as possible. It’s such a satisfying thing to be able to share some of the knowledge that I’ve been building on over the last 6 years as a florist, whether that’s with absolute beginners to floristry, flower lovers or florists who are trained in traditional ways but want to add different techniques to their arsenal of skills… There really is nothing more satisfying than giving someone the skills and the confidence to do something new.
Last Winter I was asked to submit a design for Flowers From The Farm for Hampton Court Flower Show too… (Year of the shows!) The theme for this year’s entries in the floral design studio was Evolution, and like so many of my ideas the final design came to me fully formed all in one go. There were 3 hoops showing the evolution of planting from prehistoric through medieval, to the highly cultivated species we use today and culminating in a large urn arrangement celebrating British flowers and eco floristry… It was a huge amount of work and an absolute honour to have been asked. We got a silver medal and I couldn’t have been prouder given the extreme temperature that we (and arguably more importantly the flowers) endured across the week given the amazing heat wave!
In amongst all of this, my team and I have been busy with weddings and workshops (there have been some real beauties!) and I look forward to sharing pictures with you as I get the professional pics in… I’m now taking wedding bookings for 2019 and 2020 – though there are a few dates still available for 2018.
I’ve also been coordinating shooting a British Flowers calendar featuring British Flowers as worn by dogs of all shapes and sizes for every month of the year which has been dubbed ‘Dogs in Bloom’. The Grange in Northington was the first venue for our shoots and since then we’ve shot exclusively at the beautiful Penton Park in Andover – Their wedding venue is also their home, and the warmth and generosity of spirit is obvious the moment you walk through the doors. I’m so looking forward to going back for the next instalment soon!
I realised at the beginning of the year that I’d finally HAVE to leave my ‘day job’ too… with truly mixed emotions I left my part time nanny job to become a full time florist just a few short weeks ago – It has been fabulous to be able to focus on the business but I don’t mind telling you that I miss my little one daily. It was definitely time to focus and I know that she’s in good hands so it’s onwards upwards and the sky really does feel like the limit for this little business of mine now.
My career change course ‘Elevate and Thrive’ launches this September (It might just change your life!). I so wish there had been something like it when I was starting out, I know it would have saved me a lot of time, money and stress in the long run and I’m delighted to have the fantastic Rona of Flowerona on board to teach essentials of social media, Samantha Hunter sharing how to research for and create a business plan, Gyan Gurung a brilliant fine art wedding photographer teaching and shooting all of the attendees work and Sundari Ferris sharing her knowledge of styling shoots and more. There will of course be a lot of flowering going on too and by the end of the week you’ll have a fantastic portfolio of beautifully shot eco friendly floristry work as well as new techniques and inspiration as well as a lot of practical business skills. This course can be done in 3 weeks straight or over 3 years, whatever works best for you… £500 deposit secures your place & I CANNOT wait to watch the careers of the florists who immerse themselves in this experience thrive! Investing in yourself is so important, and laying solid foundations essential.
If you’d like to know any more about any of this or have any comments I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime though… I’m off for a nap as I was at market at 2am this morning… Night all X