December 2013 Newsletter

Hello and 'Seasons Greetings' to you all. 
 December seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye and now Christmas is upon us, a busy time for many florists. I don't think my hands can take anymore wiring of wreaths! I hope by now most of you, if not all of you, are able to put your feet up for a few days.
So pour yourself a mulled wine, have a little break from the present wrapping frenzy and enjoy  ........
First up is our regular monthly spot from Victoria and The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court


December at The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court

Now that our autumn planting is all done, and we've managed to weed and mulch a large portion of the garden, the actual growing is taking a back seat and we begin to think about the business side of things.  Recognising my own lack of business drive, I have put myself on a reading programme to drum up a bit of focus and confidence.  First to read were two biographies of successful and inspiring businesswomen.  The first, 'Coming up Roses', by Cath Kidson, takes the reader on a delightful journey through the development of the Cath Kidson world, from chic little London shop selling upcycled items, to internationally recognised brand.  She seems to enjoy building the business for its own sake, and is not chasing pound signs.  She says.  Cath Kidson had and has a strong and vivid vision for her company.  She would not be fobbed off by nay-sayers, and through difficulties she had such faith in what she was doing that she employed her ingenuity to fight though each fresh challenge, and carry on.  The second book, by Michele Fitoussi, is a biography ofHelena Rubenstein, the phenomenally wealthy and successful founder of a beauty empire.  This woman had guts.  She began life in Poland, where her parents seemed to want nothing more for her than to marry.  In despair at her refusal of the many suitors offered her, the family scraped together enough money to send her away to Australia. Helena had nothing, and worked for years in seemingly endless jobs of drudgery.  Always (according to the biographer) she wanted to be rich and powerful.  At last, in her early thirties, Helena managed to borrow enough money to set up a tiny beauty parlour selling a face cream made to a family recipe.  She was so determined and focused and hard-working that the little parlour was an instant success.  Within a few years, Helena had expanded across Australia and was a rich woman.  Not satisfied with this, she returned to Europe and established her firm in first London and then Paris, before moving yet again to New York, taking America by storm and becoming one of the richest women in the country.  Amazing.  I don't think I'd have likedHelena Rubenstein very much - she sounds hard, tough, and careless of other people - but the biography really rams home the lesson that to succeed, in anything, focus and determination are needed.  Helena Rubenstein lived for her business.  Can I be as single-minded as this?  Another lesson learned is that we all have the right to make successes of our businesses, if we want to.  But we have to want it!  I'm very much looking forward to the January meet up of flower growers, in Devon, where I hope to come away with more inspiration, confidence, and renewed zeal and determination to grow good flowers!


I think I will have to borrow these books from Victoria. Hopefully in the New Year I will be able to have some much needed 'feet up' time to read. This rest and the meet up in Devon should help to find my inspiration and motivation to push through another busy year at BareBlooms. A good flowery meet up is always good for the soul. I managed to organise a little Christmas meet up in Hay on Wye with my local TBFC members (Blooms and BeesWild BunchThe Flower garden at Stokesay Court) and our good friend and flower photographer extraordinaire; Sabina Rüber .


The New Year also sees one of our members being featured on the TV. So this months featured Member has to be Rachel at Catkin, who will be flying the British Flower flag for us when she appears on the new series 'The Great British Garden Revival'. So over to Rachel to tell us about her debut screen appearence........

Featured member of the Month - Catkin

 We were filmed by Outline Productions who have made The Great British Garden Revival programme which starts on BBC 2 on Monday. 
It’s 10 parts with 2 presenters and ‘causes’ per programme. Each presenter champions an aspect of horticulture which may be out of fashion, or on the decline, or needs to be ‘revived’. Rachel de Thame is championing cut flowers and as part of the programme they wanted to focus on wedding flowers. Initially they wanted to film my ‘grow your own wedding flowers’ course but the scheduling didn’t work out. However, it just so happened that the day they wanted to come and film was the Friday before two weddings, so they asked if they could film us putting together the wedding flowers (no pressure then) and also if they could film us putting the venue flowers on the tables and filming the brides reaction (so really, no reason to not sleep for the two months leading up to it). Fortunately the wedding being filmed was with a lovely couple and the flowers in the venue were simple hand-ties in kilner jars so nothing too stressful in itself. But you know what it’s like doing a wedding anyway, the stress of making sure its right and you want it to be perfect and she was such a lovely girl, I really wanted it to be right for her so the fear of her reaction being filmed was huge!

We had to make sure really that most of the wedding work was done prior to them arriving, which meant a super early start and all hands mobilised but actually we did really well and were pretty much sorted apart from a couple of table arrangements in kilner jars that they wanted to film us putting together and the brides bouquets (which I did really early the next day). They came and filmed the garden and Rachel de Thame asked questions about it all and for the life of me I can’t remember what I said and am hoping and praying that I haven’t let the side down for #britishflowers. Its' very weird because you know your business and what you do and what you think about it but it isn’t so easy to be articulate when there is a camera pointing at you and it made me realise just how amazingly professional the gardening presenters are. Rachel de Thame honestly couldn’t have been nicer, she was friendly, relaxed, easy to talk to, knowledgeable, and in front of the camera had a poise and calmness that was extraordinary to see, plus she really is very beautiful which is not helpful when you have to stand next to her!!! .........


photos courtesy of Amy Claridge.

we then all put together the final couple of table decs and set them out in the venue and filmed the reaction of the bridal party. It was lovely and I was basically a total heap at the end. The whole thing 
took about 5 hours I think and I expect we will be on for about 2 minutes (well hopefully we will!). It will be shown 6th Jan 7pm BBC 2

I was thrilled to have been asked and also really pleased that the programme will look at wedding flowers, as I think that it highlights that we are serious about what we do - it's not just popping a few stems in a vase for the kitchen table - we are growers and florists who have a great service and product to offer. I really hope that the programme flies the flag for British Flowers and highlights how lovely our businesses are and that British wedding flowers are a stunning, sustainable choice


bouquet image courtesy of Sewell Photography 

Thanks to Rachel for telling us about her 'nerve wracking' filming experience.
I am sure she has done #britishflowers proud. I can't wait to tune in on the 6th of January. This is surely going to be a good British Flower year for 2014! 

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