Back in January we collaborated with photography genius Rebecca Douglas on a documentary style shoot based on a ‘Day in the Life’ of a florist taking a look behind the scenes at Joanne Truby Floral Design and giving a peek into what goes on in our flowery world! Working with flowers can be
stressful very stressful believe me & at the moment being in the thick of wedding season I am already feeling wary and tired. When I have a wedding or event on my day normally starts at around 4am when my alarm goes off for me to get up and go to the flower market. I get the majority of my flowers from New Covent Garden flower market along with British varieties which I source from Clowance Flowers. Yes I could make life a lot easier for myself by going to a more local wholesalers and getting deliveries BUT in my opinion you can’t beat the variety and choice that there is at the market. I also like to see the flowers in front of me and hand select the different varieties and combinations so I know exactly what I’m getting for each of my couples and clients. In the summer it’s a bit easier getting up (although I still struggle I’m not going to lie!) in the winter when it’s cold & dark it’s a killer!
When at the market I can usually be there a good couple of hours depending on the size of the event & what it is I need to get, if it’s particularly big I may need two market runs!
It’s like being a kid in a sweet shop, I mean just look at all those flowers & that’s just from one of the stands! I love the change in seasons and seeing which new varieties are available & what always amazes me is I will still sometimes spot new varieties of flowers which I have never seen before!
Decisions, decisions it’s hard not to get distracted by other flowers even when you know they won’t work with the particular brief you’re working on but you really want to buy them anyway!
Making selections & deciding colour combinations… I am a bit of a sucker for ranunculus one could say I get a little obsessed when they are in season! If you have never been to New Covent Garden you really should (that is if you can get up early enough) it is such a wonderful experience! Take note though unfortunately none of the flowers have prices on, the main reason being that the prices of flowers change on a daily basis depending on how much they were sold for at the flower auctions (that is if they are imported) but all the guys on the stands are friendly and helpful so you’re in good hands. The market also does free guided tours which you could always book in advance.
As you all know I adore foliage, I can sometimes take just as long choosing this as I do the flowers! Being a wee 4 foot 11 (or 5 foot with heels on as I sometimes say 😉 ) I often need the guys to help load up the van, squeezing everything in is like a game of Tetris something that Steve is amazing at, myself on the other hand, well… lets just say it’s not one of my strong points!
Once I get back to the workshop & unload the van the first thing that needs to be done before a single arrangement can be made is all the flowers need to be prepped and conditioned. Depending on the individual varieties this usually entails stripping each stem of all the leaves, cutting the stem at an angle and placing each one in fresh buckets of water. The majority of roses have thorns which need to be removed too, carefully! Many a time I have cut my hands when doing this! Now depending on the amount of flowers you have this can take a LONG time and also causes quite a lot of mess.
Now vases and vessels, a floral designer can never have to many of these! Although strictly that’s not true I’m sure my fellow florist friends will understand and empathise with the storage issues we often face when it comes to space (or should I say lack of) particularly when you constantly want to update your collection too! I try and have a good clear out at least once or twice a year to keep on top of all our stock & make room for new items…..
Flower varieties, not only does mother nature continually amaze and surprise me (one of the many things I love about flowers) it’s important to remember that flowers are a natural product and because of this can vary in colour from one bunch of flowers to the next even if they are exactly the same variety! I shall give you a recent example, I was up at the flower market only last week looking at two wraps of White O’Hara roses sat next to each other in the bucket. Now one was more of an ivory colour whilst the other had a very slight pinky tinge tone in the centre and yet they were exactly the same flower! Any brides to be who might be reading this, just bare this in mind when deciding on your wedding flowers my advice as I have always said in the past is be open with your choices trust your florist with your brief and let them work their flowery magic.
Due to the nature of it being so last minute there is only so much you can prep and organise before hand and us florists often work 15 hour days easily on the lead up to a wedding or an event & that doesn’t include installing either! It’s not all roses as the saying goes, but that being said I adore working with flowers & feel so lucky to have the opportunity to be creative and work with the loveliest couples and clients.
This is just a snippet of what goes on behind the scenes, I hope you have enjoyed having a little nose. We have our 4th year anniversary coming up in June & I feel so incredibly proud of all we have achieved so far, I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for us, I have a feeling the best is yet to come! If anyone fancies coming up to the market just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to show you around!
Photo credits: Rebecca Douglas