A Florist’s Trip to London

The Journey of 52 Week 52 Flowers Begins

Wild At Heart Flower Shop in Guildford Surrey

Wild At Heart Flower Shop in Guildford Surrey (click on image to enlarge)

What better way to initiate this journey of 52 weeks than with a recounting of my recent travels to England – my second favourite place in the world. This visit was extra special because I was visiting my daughter Mackenzie who courageously left last fall to live on her own in this fair country far away from home.

One of the first things we did was to take a little hiking trip around the Surrey countryside near where Mackenzie lives. We came across a darling little flower and antique shop called Wild at Heart which is run by a lovely couple who have been creating bespoke floral arrangements for over 3 decades. In the short time we chatted with them I learned much about how the industry has changed over the years and also how much it has stayed the same. They shared insights and knowledge that I will use as I move forward with my business.

The next day I was off to Covent Garden Flower Market.  What a fabulous and wonderful experience to be in the same place as all the great floral designers of London. As I worked my way through the stalls, I came across a particularly intriguing one called Bloomfield of London. There I met Ronnie and for almost an hour he shared with me all that is good, bad, unusual and special about the industry. Ronnie I’m sure, could write a very entertaining book on what he has seen over the 20 years that he has been working his stall. First though, he is looking forward to retiring and not having to rise every day at 2:00am to prepare for a 3:00am opening…

Next was my trip into London where I travelled the underground to King’s Cross to visit Paula Pryke’s shop. There I met Tania, Paula’s right hand person who was generous with tips of the trade and knowledge from years in the industry. I look forward to the opportunity to join her team for a day the next time I visit London.

Then it was back on the tube to Knightsbridge where I visited Judith Blacklock’s shop. This was a high point for me and much to my delight, Judith was there in person.  She graciously spent time talking to me about her life in the industry. At the end of a wonderful discussion, I departed with some sage advice and a gracious invitation to connect with her anytime for her opinion and insights. For the balance of that day I happily window shopped at Harrods, Harvey Nichols, along Oxford Street and through the tiny boutiques off Piccadilly Circus.

On my final trip into London (I was becoming a pro with the train and tube by this time), I spent the day at Jane Packer’s beautiful store taking part in a workshop.  What a fabulous and wonderful day! It was worth every moment and I left with two of the most gorgeous arrangements I have ever made. My journey back on the train back to Surrey was an interesting one. My arrangements garnered much attention and were the source of several wonderful and spontaneous conversations with other passengers. Someday, hopefully in the not too distant future, I shall take another Jane Packer class.

My First Design in Jane Packer's Class

My First Design in Jane Packer's Class (click on image to enlarge)

My First Second in Jane Packer's Class

My First Second in Jane Packer's Class (click on image to enlarge)

Next week I begin with the first of 52 flowers. I look forward to introducing you to my first flowers – the Peony.

Until then, buy a flower for someone you love and bring a little bit of beauty into their lives and yours.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Liz

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5 Comments

  1. Dwyn
    Posted June 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Liz,
    You are a wonderful writer, I could follow your day in London and imagine you with your arrangements on the train. Great story. Will send to all my mother’s naturalist club friends!

  2. Victoria Lant
    Posted June 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Liz – what a great idea! Love it! Can you also feature some native wild flowers in one of your blogs? I’ve always enjoyed picking a little posey while on a stroll and would be great to have idea of how to arrange those to look more interesting in the house.

    • Posted June 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      That sounds like a really interesting idea Vicki, but that I will have to check with the web developer first.

  3. carmel
    Posted June 28, 2010 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Hi Liz,
    I’m so excited for your blog! I can’t wait to see your wonderful creations.

    Best of luck,
    Carmel

    • Posted June 28, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      thanks so much Carm. Lots of fabulous creations to come…