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For the Love of Flowers

For many years now I have been a florist. And if I am truthful, I have struggled with only being a florist, as if it really isn’t enough, as if I should be giving more to the world. Why? To outsiders florists may appear to have no drive or ambition, no smarts, and perhaps no skill. I am always bewildered by the fact people are surprised florists ‘train’ for at least two years. And even more so, when they think that they could learn to create something as good as a florist with a 5 minute tutorial by someone.  But the reality is far from that.

Florists are creatives who work in a time sensitive environment, taking fresh ingredients, caring for them and displaying them in a way that makes each a piece of art. They listen to your ideas and bring them to life, transforming parties to memorable, spectacular events. They construct pieces from trial and error, and detailed consultation. They are savvy business people, seeing opportunities to create niche businesses where they are absent, or working from home whilst juggling parenting. They are forever adapting to the changing landscape of business- offering the punters what they want whether it be fresh cut market bunches, lavish arrangements, small simple gift bunches with local delivery, house plants or gift ware.

When I think about what attracted me to floristry initially, and what has kept me coming back over the years, the reasons are many.

Image; Florist With Flowers Instagram. Clusters of Seasonal flowers including divine Cymbidiums

Seasonality– Despite every flower having a ‘season’, with modern day techniques many flowers are available all year round, but for me, when a flower comes into it’s true season, things don’t get much better.

When the Winter Cymbidium season begins, I gobble them up as quickly as they come in, utilising them in everything that I can. Somehow everything just seems to look better….clusters of the blooms in posies, or lovely long stems in arrangements and leggy bouquets. I begin to wonder how on earth I will ever make something beautiful again once their season passes.

Of course, as one season ends another begins and my senses are delighted once again- Spring offerings such as Daphne, Lilly of the Valley, and Heleborus invigorate my creative juices once more. Summers Buddleja  (Buddleia) and Garden rose varieties are some of the most delicious of the season’s offerings. Autumn gifts me with Cattleya orchids and Calla lilies.

Image; Florist With Flowers Instagram. Where there is little difference in colour tone, the differences in texture can elevate a design.

Texture– Texture is totally under- rated. It has the ability to take a bouquet from drab to fab, to create interest where there was none.  I liken it to the ‘crunch’ in a meal, where you all of a sudden find yourself chewing on something that was almost unexpected, but it is this difference that ties all the other components together.

Image; Florist with Flower Instagram “When you’re a leaf, but so badly want to be the flower”

Colours– The single thing that keeps it most interesting for me in floristry is the fact that there are so many intricacies in nature. There are the tiniest differences within flowers of the same variety- a blush, a variegation, or a pronounced vein, making each and every flower unique. We sometimes find one part of the bloom is overgrown (mutated) or it has a double head (like twins)- it is a beautiful reminder that there is much variation in the world and that the beauty of the world lies within and because of those differences.

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Image; M J Blythe via Pinterest

For many of our talented peers, they utilise training from a previous life when they begin their career in floristry. I know a handful of Fine Arts graduates, Marketing Execs, and set designers. It’s the kind of industry that requires so much broad knowledge, that we have a a broad cross section of skills within it. And despite trying my hand at many other things over the years, I keep coming back. Why? I have found a career that gives me a level of fulfillment that I know I am blessed to have found and feel. It may not seem serious enough or high pressured  enough to command a mammoth salary, but that’s not really why we do it, is it?! Fundamentally, we all do it for the love of flowers, because that seems to be a love that never dies…




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Life of a Florist; A life of Danger

Many people think floristry is the dream job. The idea of being in a small shop and playing with flowers appeals to many people. I have always joked that people don’t understand just how ‘dangerous’ life as a florist can be, and how it can quite literally be risky business!

You think about it, many florist businesses are small owner operator set ups, where you usually find someone is working alone the vast majority of the time. What does that mean? Well, you are opening and closing up a shop, each and every day where the work is laborious; heavy, hard, repetitive and back breaking. Add to that the fact that florists are usually at work long before anyone else is awake, starting the market run around 4 am and they are still around once the other businesses have closed their doors. This leaves them in the most vulnerable position; at risk to armed robbery, fatigue, OH&S incidents/accidents and more.

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Image; Jonny Weeks for the Guardian

Just last week a small florist business at busy Sydney Central Station was the scene of a very sad, and disturbing series of events that unfortunately saw a 30 year old man shot dead. NSW Police were called to the Eddy Avenue Florist at approximately 6:45pm on Wednesday 26th July following reports of an armed robbery.

The florist, who was working alone at the time has said that he was attacked by a man wielding a broken bottle however that the man did NOT attempt to rob the store at any time. Instead, Emmanuel Theoharas explained that he was attacked from behind, and threatened with the bottle before the man demanded that he call the police.

From many reports it seems that the man, since identified at 30 Year old Danukul Mokmool, may have been a drug user with some mental health issues and it is a sad end to his story. But my heart goes out to poor Emmanuel Theoharas who has been running the florist for some 46 years. I’m sure that this was not what he thought his day was going to look like, but he turned up to open the store again Thursday morning and will do each and every day that follows. That would have been some scary stuff and I’m not so sure that everyone could bounce back so quickly.

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For operations that are bigger, yes there will be others there to share the workload and have your back, but maybe you will work off site in an unfamiliar situation. You may be up a ladder hanging things from a ceiling, or lifting large pieces up into the centre of a a table, repetitively straingin your lower back. Long hours, particularly in event work will see you existing as if you are constantly jet lagged, making your response time slower. And remember we work with scissors and knives all day every day (with the occasional hammer, saw, pliers and power tools thrown in too)- sounds like a recipe for success doesn’t it?

The retail world has changed dramatically over the past decade. As a whole, we are a society that relies less on cash, and more on credit.  In years gone by, a florist basically survived on cash transactions, but like any legitimate business, as time has passed, technological advances and society’s demand for conveniences has seen us adapt. In some ways it probably lured us into a false sense of security. I mean, anyone who works within our industry knows, it wouldn’t be worth the risk to rob what cash you would find in the till these days! In some ways we probably don’t feel as though we need to be as wary or hyper vigilant as we once did, and I guess in some ways, because there is less cash, the risk has lessened.


But back in those days, the cash florist was selling posies and box arrangements…..These days we are in the business of construction with no formal certification; creating huge wall hanging arrangements, working through the night on little or no sleep, a concoction of caffeine, chocolate, lollies or cigarettes (depending on your preference).

Let’s think about that for a second….a Jet lagged Construction worker, operating machinery at heights while wielding scissors or a knife…..

Told you floristry was a dangerous job!

Fwf x



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Day in the Life- Things People Say to Florists

A video has been circulating over the last few days which I know has given alot of my friends and former colleagues a great laugh. It is by Tanya Hennessy, a comedian and breakfast radio host based in Canberra, and is entitled “Things people say to Florists”.

It’s by no means the first video of this style she has done, and whilst some people may be embarrassed to find some phrases they have used before in the compilation, this by no means is intended to offend anyone. It’s all the more funny because we all know it is true. And Tanya Hennessy has certainly done her research, because each and every florist who has been  in the industry some time, has heard these….EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

For anyone who has worked in the industry, or has someone close to them that has, this skit portrays a day in the life so well, you could find yourself peeing your pants…just a little. From the misunderstanding that floristry is a mindless skill less job, to the elaborately woven stories of backyard family BBQ’s created to cover up the fact that the order is for a wedding. I kid you not, this really happens.

Any customer service role requires a level of decorum, as well as a thick skin as not to be offended by people’s opinions of you and your creative style. It also requires the ability to bite your tongue and be as diplomatic as possible in response to somewhat offensive situations.

Take a look at the video here:

“Honestly this looks like the easiest job….like I’m going to do this as my retirement job…just play with flowers….and do nothing….I just can’t WAIT to do that. Like, do you just nap sometimes in the flowers?”

Anyone who has ever worked as a florists knows that it is not an easy road. Granted, many florists may not have a university degree, and by no means would we suggest it was rocket science, or brain surgery, but it is a skill nonetheless. Alarm clocks ringing at 3.30am, knock off times well after dinner, bump in and bump out times that basically take up all the possible sleep time in between, working as a florist could quite possibly be the hardest job you’ve ever had.


The hilarious video got me to thinking of all the ridiculous things that have been said to myself or my colleagues over the years, and just how much laughter has roared out from the back rooms when we have retold the stories.

From “Could you wrap these (supermarket/fruit shop/competitor) flowers for me, so they look a bit nicer….I’m happy to pay for the wrapping.” Nope. Just nope *forced smile*

Or my personal favourite “What do you suggest?” only to systematically decline each and every suggestion. Breathe.

“Will you/Can you make it nice for me please?….Not sure, I’ll try but I’m generally in the business of making it as ugly as possible :-(

“Is this all you have?” never gets old for me. Even when I answer, they tend to ask again, but in a different way “You haven’t got anything else out the back or in the fridge?” It’s as if they think I am hiding the best stuff from them. Do I look untrustworthy???


Wedding flower enquiries are great fodder also. Things I have heard over the years include; “My dress is isn’t really a white, but it’s not a cream either, so I don’t want white or cream flowers. Could you colour match my dress?”

“I was just going to go to the markets and pick up the flowers myself, because I just want that ‘thrown together look’ that is really ‘in’ at the moment”.


“Could you show me how to wire some flowers as I’m going to do my best friend’s wedding bouquets because I’m really creative….”

“I really want penonies (yes, I know), and I’m getting married in February….they are still available right? No? Well, Can you import them from somewhere for me BUT I’m on a really tight budget”

“I just LOVED what (enter appropriate over-the-top celeb name here) did for their recent wedding, and was hoping to do something like that….just on a smaller scale….do you think it will still look as good?”

“Will the flowers still look good the next day? I was hoping to give them to my Mother-in-law (or appropriate family member)….No? Well, I don’t really want to pay this amount of money just for something for one day!” *Thinks* You might want to consider the whole wedding day then….

If you enjoyed this video as much as we did check out some of her others here

Til next time

Fwf x


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Being a Florist on Mother’s Day

As we gear up for the biggest day (read: week) of our calendar year, we want to take this opportunity to wish a Happy Mother’s day to all our beautiful mothers, to the new mummies out there finding their feet, mummies-to-be, godmothers, grandmothers and those fabulous people who fill the role of mother for those who do not have them.

Image: Today I Found Out

Mother’s Day is quite simply a day in which we celebrate the matriarch of the family, as well as the idea of motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Anna Jarvis began to campaign to have Mother’s Day recognised as a holiday in the United States in 1905, the year her beloved mother passed away and in 1908, she held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.  Wikipedia says ‘Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers, because she believed that they were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”‘

When you are a florist, unfortunately those around you have to compromise to an extent on these big days; important days in everyone else’s calendar that don’t manage to get the same acknowledgement simply because we do not have the time or energy to see anyone when it is all said and done.

Florists rarely celebrate Valentine’s day, and quite often take a cynical view on the day of lurve…..no doubt largely due to the fact that when you are working that hard, if the day passes with little or no acknowledgement from your special someone, it can feel like an almighty punch in the proverbial face! happy-mothers-day-diet-quotes

Similarly, each Mother’s Day, I kind of get this unshakeable feeling of guilt because I know I am not going to be able to make the day as special as I would like. I have a truly awesome mother, who I love and adore beyond words. I know that she already knows this. But every Mother’s Day, the poor love isn’t taken out to breakfast, lunch or dinner by me (or my rather hopeless younger brother) and rarely does she see me in the lead up or in the days following the Mother’s Day either. Despite knowing after 16 years of me being in this industry that it is all just part of the job, every year I feel like she misses out somehow. Let’s face it, Mum misses out again :-(

I take comfort in the fact that she is lucky enough to spend the day with her own mother who turns 90 this year, a pretty amazing woman in her own right, living alone at home, independant and self sufficient. And most of the time mum’s sister will also get together with them as her own children all live interstate. I guess beyond everything, these three women make the day special by being together.

My own two girls are incredibly blessed to not only have a mother, but also an aunt, grandmother, great aunt and great grandmother; all alive and with all their faculties, healthy and active and involved  in their lives and their upbringing. So many of life’s important lessons have come from these strong, interesting, inspiring and loving women, not simply from me. Hell, I probably can’t credit for a lot of it!

Image: Woman’s Day

I can’t wait for a time where I get to lie in bed and have my gorgeous family bring me breakfast, or jump into beds for long cuddles, rather than try to catch me on my way to or from the shower rushing to get ready. I suppose once those days come, I  will feel restless and unsure of what to do with myself after the ritual of so many years spent on the tools for these big days.

Mother’s Day can also be an incredibly sad and sensitive time for those who have not been able to have children despite having all the hope and love in their heart, for those who have lost children and for those who have lost their mums. Be sensitive to those around you as you celebrate- you never really know what people are dealing with.

If there is someone special who might need some extra love sent their way this weekend, it is not too late to order. Our fantastic team can help you create something totally unique if you wish to call them on 02 9871 1666. Alternatively you can easily order online from our gorgeous Mother’s Day range here.


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