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.
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.
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.
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.
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…