I started my adventure with Organic Blooms in April 2015, very new to the floristry industry yet desperate to be given the chance to work doing something I loved. I come from an arts based background, studying the Arts in Bath college then Graphic design at University, finding floristry as a new medium was both exciting and a real challenge. I began my studies with the Academy of Floral Art in 2013 and have been focussed on the floral life every since!
I was interviewed at Organic Blooms early in the year when the ground was bare, the poly tunnels almost empty and the air freezing cold, it was only when the wonderful Wendy and Jo, the brains behind the social enterprise, showed me the portfolios of what they can provide in the summer months that I realised I had hit the goldmine. To be out in the meadows cutting flowers with the sun beating down sounded like a dream come true, and believe me it was the most beautiful summer I have ever had.
Spring came around quickly and I started my position, with rows upon rows of Tulips, Narcissi and Alliums out in the field and the poly tunnels full of every different colour Ranunculus imaginable, I soon realised there was a huge difference between the tight compact dutch style I had been taught at the Academy and the open, wild, country style Organic Blooms has to offer. I had to learn all over again but the flowers grown there are so suited to that particular style it all came together quickly. I learnt so much in the first few months of being there. Not just horticulturally or developing my floristry skills but just how much the organisation has and continues to help vulnerable adults in such a successful way. By providing a normal working lifestyle, a routine, targets, goals and the opportunity to work on nationally recognised qualifications in a safe and secure, not to mention gorgeous environment has a visibly positive effect on the service users who attend regularly.
The Spring became summer and the cutting fields and garden were overgrown with colour, shapes and smells. Peonies, Roses, Clary sage, lupins, Scabious, Nigella, Cornflowers, Veronica, the list was endless, Vibena bonariensis had popped up everywhere you looked, little purple dots standing above a sea of multi-coloured plants and flowers. The smells from the herbs growing was almost overwhelming, Mint, sage, Rosemary, Oregano and Mace to name a few. It was hard not to have a smile on your face as Tilly and Truffle, the resident Springer Spaniels did their rounds checking up on everyone whilst out in the meadows, with the hum of the beehives in the background. Cutting enough for a weeks work would take days and as the weather became warmer and warmer the weddings started rolling in thick and fast. Booking a wedding with Organic Blooms was a really unique experience I realised as the brides started arriving for their consultations. A Bride has to decide on a colour scheme rather than specific flowers, as the whole ethos of the business is to be as eco friendly as possible, this includes solely relying on the weather for watering and as we all know how unpredictable British weather can be and subsequently which flowers would be at their best. That was the beauty of having your wedding taken care of by Organic Blooms, you knew you were in good hands but there was always a slight element of surprise, you would also be treated to a tour around the site to look at the range and quality of the flowers, something every bride thoroughly enjoyed. One of my favourite parts of working on the weddings, after days of cutting, conditioning, designing and making everything, would be to go to the venue and set up, to see the family and how thrilled they were with the work we had done for them.
Soon the summer light became watery and the Autumn started to set in, the leaves turned to orange and the fields started to die down. There were still plenty of flowers to manage and I was particularly taken aback with the basketball sized Dahlias that needed deadheading constantly to keep them under control. The final weddings of the year came and went with beautiful results and at this point I was given the chance to partake in starting a City and Guilds horticultural award. This was not only very informative but great fun and skills I can carry forward in my career.
There’s so much that I will miss whilst it is low season, but a couple of little things like, how the fresh air daily can do wonders for your health, as a city dweller I’d forgotten just how polluted it really can be surrounded by buildings and cars all day, it is so refreshing to be out in the countryside. How as a florist you are forever learning and Wendy and I were constantly problem solving mechanics for various projects we had, keeping our minds active. And finally the morning coffee, wandering around the site looking at the dewy flowers and figuring out what we were going to focus on that day.
I am very sad that the season is now over as I have learnt so much, such an incredible experience, with so many characters along the way. I am so very grateful for the opportunity I was given by Wendy, Jo, and the whole team at Organic Blooms; my employers, tutors and friends. Here’s to next summer, I cannot wait to go back!