Sunday, 10 June 2012

growing flowers and selling dreams

Little time to blog or breathe lately, or so it has felt. In the last week I have had a photographer here (just before the torrential rain), provided flowers for two weddings and a funeral and the big Rangerover Hay Festival party, plus weathered weather..... and probably been less charming than I should have been to people who have phoned up just because I have been so blooming busy, apologies to anyone who found me a little brusque this week!

One of the weddings last week became rather obsessive and made me question many assumptions. I know full well that it is always best to be prepared but relaxed, and that micromanagement tends to mean mistakes and disappointment. The bride in this case was very pleasant and excited if a little intense when we met for the initial consultation way back when. She seemed to understand just what we do and how we operate, and the kind of flowers we would provide and the sort of style that works best for these flowers and all the options for her particular venue from classic Constance Spry style to relaxed country. But as the months went by things changed, and not subtly until at one point she was asking for trailing dendrobium orchids for her bouquet, and later on asking for bouvardia having seen it in a shop display. My job is to please, and to make sure that every bride gets the flowers that she wants, but within the spectrum of what we provide and do well. I suggested that I was after all perhaps not the right person to provide the flowers for her dream day, but she assured me that was not the case. But it meant that the lead up to her wedding was not the usual delight (anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I actually love my flowers and really want them to shine for people) but became really rather uber stressful until I was fairly sure that whatever I provided might not be what she really dreamt of. And she got married over two days, a privateish civil ceremony on day one and the whole church blessing and big party on day two, which required different bouquets for different outfits - and all nearly 2 hours away, and the day after the long bank holiday..... On Day One I made bouquets for her and her bridesmaids from the most delicious creamy philadelphus, p. aura, spending hours stripping off every single leaf to make beautiful elegantly simple scented delicate bouquets. I don't know if she loved them, I did, but all I know is that my helper delivered them earlier than she was expecting which apparently was controversial, sadly. Day Two I went more trad with peonies and roses and astrantia and foliages for her and adult bridesmaids and the little ones had delicious posies of rosebuds which smelt so heavenly.... I hope she liked them. Tent decorations also included roses and peonies and lots of lovely greens and froth, and the church had huge white china gallon jugs full of larkspur and delphiniums and peonies and greenery and more froth. It was beautiful but I was still left wondering if it really fitted her dream. And I haven't heard.

On the other hand, a country wedding in Glamorgan was delightfully easy, pretty and I knew we were providing just what was wanted for the bride and her groom and for the barn where they were celebrating. And the bride (and her very happy littlest bridesmaid) was delighted with everything because it was all the right fit. I particularly liked the hanging decorations on the whitewashed walls.

And the festival party was also an easy fit, they wanted wild and meadow like and generous so I did swathes of things in bushel boxes and gave them thousands of flowers with which to fill hundreds of vintage glass containers on the tables. That worked well.

But it has made me think about what I am doing. It is not just growing flowers, for brides in particular it is selling dreams. And if the dream is not a good fit that could be a nightmare.

Oh and as well as everything else my beautiful new yurt is now up at the bottom of the little orchard below the flower gardens!

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