Satisfying but exhausting few days. Camera loaded with photos but now the damn thing won't import anything, so many apologies for no current pics of weekend's business, I'm sure brides will send when possible .....
So this is how the end of last week went. If you want to grow flowers watch out, you might get into this sort of schedule too!
Wednesday: full day with only two Wednesday helpers as everyone else is (sensibly) holidaying. We weeded, mulched, mowed, and picked for Thursday market. Day started at normal 8.30, finished about 9pm after picking for the market.
Thursday: 5 am start to bunch and sort for market, and to pick for mail out wedding, 6 boxes blue and white wanted - blue larkspur, white phlox, small glads, blue asters, scabious, white asters, snapdragons, cornflowers, white cosmos, a few delphiniums. Picking for mail out orders, fortunately only 7 more boxes to go today. 8am to the market. 12pm back from market to pick and prepare for two weddings: one wants pink and yellow, one wants oranges and purples and creams, plus foliages and hops. Luckily friends staying stripped the leaves off the hops while Meg and I picked and picked and picked - cosmos, lomas, rudbeckias, achilleas, phlox, delphs, scabious, nigella, asters, artemisia, calendula, larkspur, solidago, dahlias..... Then orders to arrange and send... Finally started preparing for Friday's wedding about 5.30pm. 10 table centres plus 12 foot long top table garland of hops and pink and yellow flowers plus bridal bouquet (lots of dahlias, seedpods. solidage, stocks, artemisia, ammi, dill....) with 5 bridesmaid's bouquets and 2 flower girl wands - decided on poppy seed heads and stems with dahlias all beribonned in yellow and pink. Then 15 buttonholes, yellows and whites so used mainly lomas, dahlias, love in the mist and scabious. Thank you Meg for staying so late and being so brilliant. Finished about 10.30pm for something to eat.
Friday: Leave at 5.00 to drop dogs off at their holiday home, luckily en route, and even more luckily I know them well and they don't mind me turning up at 5.30! Get to Henley for 9.00am. Bind bouquets in the van before delivery at 9.30. Discover there has been a misunderstanding on buttonholes and 10 more needed when I get there. heigh ho, lucky I have a van load of flowers rather than a lot of properly pre-arranged decorations! Finish decorating marquee and sorting table centres in pewter pots at 2.30pm. Phew! Lunch and find somewhere to stay. 4.30pm: start sorting flowers for Saturday's wedding. Sort into 6 table centres, flowers for top table arrangement, flowers for registrar's table, flowers for bar, flowers for small pots on windowsills, flowers for bouquets and flowers for buttonholes. 8pm brief supper. 8.30 pm start making bouquets and buttonholes and corsages - go for love in the mist pods, white love in the mist flowers, more yellow lomas, scabious, cornflowers, purple dahlias, all tied with raffia for this very informal wedding. Bouquets needed to be purples and oranges with reds, yellows and foliage so I included marigolds and larkspur and cornflowers with persicaria, dill heads........ Weary so went to bed at 10pm.up by 6am to finish bouquets and corsages, then breakfast and off to the venue for 9. Slight disorganisation that end so the pewter pots I was supposed to be using all had to be found, cleaned etc before I could start arranging... had forgotten about cake and hair flowers but luckily was reminded at 10.30 in plenty of time before wedding at 12.00 but somehow everything became rather a dash to get decorations in place before the ceremony. As the wedding breakfast was taking place in the same room as the ceremony there was a wait as I like to put all the table centres out myself and titivate in position rather than running away and leaving them for the caterers to do. So I was finally done by 2.15, everyone was happy, I got home at 5.45pm having picked up the dogs en route.....
Took loads of photos and now the computer won't recognise the camera. Aargh.
best things: with apologies to those of you who do, but I'm so glad I don't live near Henley, well out of my comfort zone as I am the queen of hopeless personal grooming (5 minutes to get out of bed, washed and dressed average and there are days that I get up in such a rush that I don't even quite remember to put all the appropriate garments on or wash properly!) and could not cope with all that need to look tidy and tanned and made up and drive a clean vehicle and have manicured hands....
staying at Henley Business School was surprisingly fab - beautiful old buildings on the bank of the Thames but with no razzmatazz, just comfort, landscape, peace and the most fantastic breakfast and wonderful staff
Brides: so lovely when I get to meet you and you're happy with what I've done
worst things: I always forget how many hours it takes to prepare flowers for weddings.
The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day.
Timing - the husband has been directing a huge festival for the last week and it's all gone extremely well with dozens of brilliant events and music and it would have been lovely to have been there. But we have promised each other a holiday next month which is very exciting.
Inclined to curl up on the sofa and do nothing, but instead went to the most brilliant open air Shakespeare I have ever seen, the Living Willow Theatre production of Twelfth Night at beautiful Llowes Court (my favourite garden in Britain in fact, very very grown up and beautifully thought out but utterly unpretentious and completely suiting the 12th century house and landscape). It was raining a bit but it didn't matter a jot. So glad I went, great production, lovely crowd, perfect setting. Then returned and sort of by mistake made chutney and went mushroom picking as there are just so many around. Must try to stop doing and practice just being sometimes!