Well I never imagined I’d be intimidated by a bucket of flowers..and I wasn’t the only one. Six grown women on a British Academy of Floral Art flower-arranging course! Socially distanced of course. I can hear my sister laughing even though she is 45 miles away. You see it’s always considered that she is the flower ‘maven’. 20-foot pedestal of white roses and lilies? Staircases and fireplaces swathed in gardenias and exotica? She’s yer woman? Me? I’m a jug of daffs girl. Any old receptacle stuffed with sprigs of herbs and wildflowers. Tiny jars and bottles with single buds that have broken off in the garden litter my windowsills. In fact as a child way before dreams of being a film star I wanted to be a florist. To be fair I think what swung it was Edna Sherrell’s in Cornwall Street Plymouth. I’d always been transfixed by their rain window as I called it. Water that poured down the inside of the window to give the impression of looking through a waterfall. Oh and just one step over the threshold was heaven. That indescribable fresh, green lush aroma that you never experience when buying flowers from a supermarket. Anyway back to the course. I sailed through the first round identifying the specimens. Showed off a bit if I’m honest. But the real test, the practical, was still to come. Before that though furnished with our own special scissors and knives we had to learn how to ‘prepare’ our flowers. I thought it best not to mention my usual ‘preparation’, which consists of wielding a Chinese meat cleaver to trim and flatten the stalks. A performance my husband says is terrifying to watch. Flowers prepared even then they were not ready to go on show. Apparently they should be left in a cool place for at least 5/6 hours to have a good drink! I was thinking I’d need exactly the same treatment after this was over. Made me think of all the times friends have brought flowers when they come for dinner and I ram them in any old vase that comes to hand…the flowers that is not the friends! No wonder they don’t last long. Again the flowers that is. Thankfully all our flowers were good to go so we then watched and listened as Kathryn chatted to us whilst effortlessly creating the sort of display you see at the very best county shows in those flower arranging tents. Then it was oasis time. Thankfully not the Gallagher brothers but that lovely spongy foam stuff you soak in water that anchors your flowers just where you want them. But whatever you do DON’T PUSH IT INTO THE WATER because it creates air pockets! You have to let it sink in. That way the air is pushed out!! Who knew? Eventually we were good to go. Nobody moved. We all stood transfixed looking at our implements desperately trying to remember just what and how Kate had created her showpiece determined to ‘get it right’ but after a few minutes we got stuck in and just had fun! Just as six women can all have the same recipe and turn out totally different cakes so it is with flowers it seems. Some, like me, had studiously attempted to recreate what ‘teacher’ did whilst others went with the flow Kathryn and Tina always at hand to encourage and guide. My only concern was getting my masterpiece home safely. Thankfully anchored into the ‘correctly’ soaked oasis it survived and is still going strong some 8 days later! Really enjoyed the afternoon.
So there sister dear. Look to your laurels…and your asters!
Read all about it: Western Morning News