Monday 14th January
Yesterday we talked herbs can we talk flowers today? I have been busy sorting through my sweet pea seeds ready to plant. I always plan to plant them in the autumn and I never manage it. Sweet peas are my favourite flower and I pride myself on having a fresh bunch in the house throughout the summer. I grow lots of cut flowers and I intend to really go for it this year. My creative home is floristry. Back in the day when I was working silly hours I used to walk past a florist in Winchester and wish I had that shop. Since giving up that job I have trained as a florist and even had a shop! Now I have limited myself to providing flowers for a local shop but this year I am going to start offering workshops again. I used to offer workshops to all sorts of people but my favourite were the brides and families who wanted to tackle some of the wedding flowers themselves. I used to teach them simple bouquets, table centres and buttonholes. Every weekend I was busy either producing flowers for a wedding or taking courses. My favourite couple were Ian and Helen. At their first consultation I think Ian wondered what he was doing there. But Ian was a grower and grew a lot of their own vegetables. I suggested he might like to grow some flowers for the wedding and he jumped at the chance. That was it, he was hooked. Ian did , indeed, grow flowers for their wedding but he also attended the workshops and learned how to make his own buttonhole.
He was a complete star and they went on to have a wonderfully personal wedding and I was very proud. When I am adrift from working with flowers I feel like something is missing. One of the challenges of working with flowers on the island is supply of cut flowers. When I was working in the wedding context I lived in Derbyshire and we used to go to the flower market in Sheffield at silly o'clock. Now everything has to come in by ferry and that adds to the cost. So the more I can grow the better. So when the boys are planting willow I will be planting flowers and we shall see what 2013 can offer up. When I worked in weddings I tried very hard to make the flower story as personal as possible. One of my favourite weddings was Emily's. It was a massive rose wedding and a little out of my comfort zone. I tended to work with sustainable blooms but I managed to find a UK grower to supply her wedding. I trained Harry and Molly in the basics and Harry and I started conditionning the roses at 9am and finished at 2pm! Then Molly took over helping me to create the centre pieces. My long suffering Mum helped as well as a lovely local girl who was very creative. Later that day it all got moved to the venue minus bridal party flowers which we then worked through the night to create. Despite the incredibly long hours I loved every minute of it. So this year I am going backwards to go forwards and putting flowers back at the centre of my creativity.
One of my favourite pictures shows a bouquet that I did for a lovely lady who was getting married for the second time. They went to the Isle of Harris for their honeymoon and took this picture.
Today has been a bit of a slog in home school so for all of you I think it is a walk in the park, think again. There are days when my youngest, Max, is not in the right frame of mind and every activity is a bit of a battle. His English work today didn't float his boat but we got there in the end. George and Harry did better with their work so all ended well. We have not had the snow that the rest of the country has had. In fact, it was a glorious sunny afternoon when we took the dogs down the beach. The signets were in the sea and came to say hello. No, I can't trust my naughty dog so she was put on a lead while the collies attempted to herd the swans up the beach.
Over the next few weeks I am going to try and feature some creative work from others. I have had over 700 page views so I am hoping to use that in a constructive way. I hope that I might persuade some of my creative friends to do a guest blog for me. I am passionate about handmade products and delighted to be able to share some of the best I know. If you would like me to feature your work please get let me know and leave contact details in the comments section below and I will get in touch. I will, of course, be sharing some creative work from the island.
I will keep you all up to date with my efforts in floristry. I am going to start by running a workshop in time for mother's day and then take it from there. I will be out in my polytunnel tomorrow sowing the first seeds. I expect to freeze. xx