Flower Shop Tales...

Friday, 29 July 2016

Recreating a Bouquet for a Fairy Tale Bride...

Today is July 29 and on an incredible and much more summery day 35 years ago, the world was 'lost' in a sea of enthusiastic flag waving, military parades, dubious hats, the soaring strains of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance, swathes of ivory taffeta and unbridled patriotic fever to celebrate the wedding of the Prince of Wales to the Lady Diana Spencer.

As a young teenager and naive monarchist who would happily spend hours sketching designs for wedding flowers on the odd bit of paper; I remember being the first to claim the best seat in front of the television at the home of my grandparents to watch this real fairy tale wedding.

When some years later we heard the chatter about mistresses, dubious telephone calls, obsessive bahaviour and emotional turmoil; I and the other 750 million who tuned in to watch this unique and frothy spectacle would soon come to learn that this fairy tale had not ended on a happily ever after!

But what of that wedding? 

Even though I had been excitedly anticipating seeing the dress; my excitement soon faded when I finally saw that huge crumpled frock and even as I write this, I can only think of that wonderful quip from Fiona in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral; 'Scarlett, you're blind, she looks like a big meringue.' 

Five years later on another sunny July day, I watched Sarah Ferguson promising to 'love, honour and obey' the Duke of York at Westminster Abbey and even though she couldn't even find the City of York on a map for a US television interview; I still believe that she really was a beautiful bride.

Although I had been a florist for some time before the union of the fun-loving Fergie to the boorish Duke in July 1986, I can only remember one or two commissions from brides who wished to emulate her S-shaped bouquet of gardenias, yellow roses, cream lilies and the obligatory sprig of myrtle grown from a cutting of Queen Victoria's bouquet.

Diana's bouquet, however was quite a different thing altogether and although it isn't one of my personal favourites; I remain just as impressed by this betrothal extravagance of flora and fauna even now!

Even three years after this wedding and as an eager trainee florist I would be wiring lily of the valley, stephanotis, gardenias, yellow roses and endless ivy leaves every Friday afternoon as the 'Diana Bouquet' was the fashionable choice for every aspiring fairy tale bride and even thirteen years later; a mock-up of this bouquet in silk flowers displayed in my design room would still attract admirers with a request of 'Ooo! Could I just hold this please?'

And so it was that one summer with time of my hands and the need for a challenge, I created a bouquet designed as a 'shower' in 12th scale inspired by the one carried by Lady Diana Spencer.

And, yes, it really was a challenge!

For not only did it take several attempts with varying degrees of success to manipulate the individual flowers into place with a combination of strong wire and determination; I also had to curb my enthusiasm for adding more ivy leaves and risk a creation suitable for my niece's Barbie doll!

Yesterday and running the risk of an inquisitive peck from one of my resident chickens, I ventured to the bottom of my garden to capture an image of this bouquet on top of the old corbel which has often served as a useful photographic prop for my creations, 12th scale or otherwise.

And as I was firing off these images, I couldn't help musing on my recollection of how much easier it  had been to create the 'Diana Bouquet' in 'real' fauna and flora!

Adieu for now!

Monday, 18 May 2015

A Portrait of a Beloved Grandmother in Flowers...

Hello and welcome to more of my efflorescent tales from a corner of this 'Small World' and although the doors to Bouvier’s Flower Shop and the Brentwood Flower Market have been closed as of late; my floral endeavours have been continuing albeit tinged with a hint of sadness.

For on the early morning of Sunday April 19, my wonderful Grandmother died and although it was a privilege to have delivered her eulogy before her loved ones during her Memorial Service at Southlands Chapel in York; I also created a tribute to her with flowers.

Calling up her gentle nature and graceful poise, as well as a nod to her favourite colour of blue, I gathered up armfuls of the palest Sea Holly, cheerful Daisy Chrysanthemums that symbolize joy and added stems of elegant miniature Spray Carnations which I finished with lush Fern and speckled with spicy grey Eucalyptus.

After I had arranged these flowers in a rustic basket and inspired by my Grandmother’s ethereal nature, I then added several wisps of Bear Grass as a finishing touch and called it ‘A Portrait of Grandma in Flowers’ the images of which I now share with you, dear reader including the words of Brian Jacques that have long remained of comfort to me...

“Don't be ashamed to weep; 'tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”
Brian Jacques

Until next time, Adieu!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Crazy in Love? Tee's Having Fun Among the Flowers!

“Today's Valentine's Day. There's a whole day devoted solely to love. Does that make any sense? Nah. Love makes us all crazy. But it's fun too.”
Lisa Greenwald.

Yes, romance IS most certainly in THE air at a 'Small' Flower Shop this St Valentine's Day!

Although there is no sign of the sign that reads 'You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Work Here... But it Helps!' here at the Brentwood Flower Market; it has been one crazy day!

For not only have I been perched on a stepladder hanging lots of  'twiggy' hearts from the ceiling beams as well as having to locate the rolls of delightfully romantic ribbons; there have been boxes and boxes of roses to unpack, several buckets of 'Baby's Breath' to arrange and the stems of my favourite asparagus fern to unwrap...

There has also been the occasional customer to attend to and the bouquet of red roses, lush ferns and chocolate 'kisses' swathed in the finest silver mesh has been the preferred gift from St Valentine this year.

And a quick glance at this customer's shopping bags tells me that someone is in for treat today!

Yes, it's been such a crazy day that the shop floor littered with rose petals, snippets of gift wrap, discarded pieces of ribbon and the like is STILL waiting for me to put the broom to its intended use!

However, it's only as I make a move to put the broom out of its patient misery that I catch a glance of something VERY interesting in the reflection of the mirror...

For it's only a box of chocolates perched on top of the wooden dresser! Whoop! Oh yes chocolate, I love you too! 

For as this most romantic day draws to a close at the Brentwood Flower Market for another year and after my chores have all been attended to, I'm going to delight in an evening of heavenly solitude with some confectionery delight.

Wishing you a wonderful St Valentine's Day!

“We offer love to our customers. And in return, we receive the finest smiles. And even if we cannot return their affection, at least we can offer a rose.”
Bisco Hatori

"My Valentine," he said in a quiet whisper "is the girl next door and she loves nothing more than sitting by the rose bed in our garden on a nice day... She just loves those roses and until they bloom again later this year, I will miss her..."