A Workshop for Professional Florists
Running your own business can be all consuming. We love what we do, so we live and breathe our chosen careers, but we all need to recharge our batteries from time to time. So when Lindsey Kitchen of The Whitehorse Flower Company suggested via Instagram, the idea of a workshop day just for professional florists, I couldn't wait to sign up.
The idea behind the workshop was Lindsey's use of traditional wiring techniques for making bridal bouquets. These are something that I learned at college more than 25 years ago, but which many florists who are used to making ever popular hand tied bouquets, are unfamiliar with.
Before hand tied bouquets became the norm that we see today, most florists used (and still use) floral foam bouquet holders, into which flowers are glued with a hot glue gun. This saves a lot of time, but the end result is, in my opinion rather stiff and unnatural. Before this though, for more than a hundred years bouquets were wired, which was a great skill and took time to master. Time is money, and so this labour intensive method gradually fell out of fashion to be replaced by the very popular hand tied bouquets we're so familiar with today.
Lindsey however still incorporates wiring into her wedding work, and came up with the inspired idea of a workshop where professional florists could meet, practice their wiring skills, share knowledge and experiences, and take a day out their busy schedules just to focus on themselves.
The venue for the day was Little Park House near Newbury in Berkshire, where we were hosted earlier this month by owner Jill Houston of Little Park Flowers. After a lovely welcome from Lindsey (with coffee and lemon polenta cake!) my fellow florists, Nicola Eve and Lesley Johnston and Lindsey's amazing team members, Megan and Saranna began the day with a tour of Jill's cutting garden. Here we were able to pick a beautiful selection of flowers including tulips, ranunculus, aquilegia, lily of the valley, foliages and herbs. This was in addition to the wonderful selection that Lindsey had ready and waiting for us in the house.
What struck me most about the day was just how wonderful it was to be in a room, doing what I love to do, with my peers. We weren't newbies or wannabes playing at being florists, we ARE florists and experienced ones at that. We were there to reinforce our skills, share our expertise and aid one another in a mutually supportive environment.
When it came to making our bouquets, Lindsey's natural warmth and enthusiasm encouraged us to be as creative as we liked. I chose to go wild and woolly with a rich palette of deep purple and plum, with accents of white against a backdrop of chocolatey hazel foliage. Lesley's cascading bouquet was a sensational confection of multi coloured blooms including parrot tulips, ranunculus, roses, jasmine and aquilegia; while Nicola's exquisitely structured bouquet in delicate pastel tones was reminiscent of the 1930's.
Throughout the day we we enjoyed Jill's wonderful hospitality with a gorgeous lunch and sweet treats in abundance. We were joined in the afternoon by photographer Caroline Palmer who captured us as we worked (weird working facial expressions by me) and our finished creations
To say that I was on a high when I left at the end of the day would be an understatement. I was on Cloud 9! Lindsey's and Jill's workshop was an absolute joy to attend, and reinforced my confidence in my own ability. We all need to occasionally make time for ourselves; to think things through and learn from one another.
The day I stop learning is the day I give up!