When a friend of mine asked me if I would answer some questions about myself for an article she was writing I thought “erm… might I introduce you to my business partner, Alan…?!” for you see I am not terribly keen on talking about myself.
However, she persevered and threatened to infect my precious garden roses with aphids if I didn’t comply, so under duress, I agreed.
And I have to say I got a lot out of answering the questions! In fact, they gave me space to think about some really big questions, like: “How did I end up as a florist?” and “What is it all about anyway?” I also couldn’t help but wonder: “Would she really be so mean as to ruin my beautiful roses?”
You see, even when you love your job like I do, and have worked hard to ensure the team you work with are happy and engaged, and even when you are surrounded by beautiful flowers in sumptuous settings, you can still feel, sometimes, that things are passing by too quickly and you may want to stop and take stock. I can think of two significant occasions when I’ve really needed to do this: once when I realised that I’d been a florist for over half of my life, and the second when I turned 40 earlier this year.
The “interview” is below, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed taking part!
1. Where did you grow up?
Surrey, but I guess I really grew up when I went to live in South East London at age 19.
2. What’s the earliest thing you can remember?
As all good mums did with their babies in the 1970’s, my mum would often plonk me in my pram and leave me in the garden whilst she got on with yoga, or making a pineapple upside down cake… okay, I can’t really remember that bit but I can vividly remember looking up at cherry blossom. Our road in Ewell was lined with the most glorious cherry trees which were full of stunning puffy, pink petals that, a few weeks later would cover the street in beautiful pink snow-like confetti.
I have a tendency now to place my children under random cherry blossom trees every April just to ensure they have similar memories!
3. How much do you think your childhood influences your work:
As a child, I would always draw and paint flowers and I look for ways to show the patterns and shapes in flowers and leaves now, as then. I will always have a soft spot for begonia and cyclamen leaves.
My grandmother loved sweet peas and would display her home grown flowers in her house every summer. The organic mix of so many colours and varied heights always fascinated me. This memory has taught me that flowers, like the sea, cannot, and should, not be controlled too much.
4. What’s the weirdest place you’ve sought inspiration from:
Well! I am often travelling on the train and as a result, I been known to find a lot of inspiration from the verges on railway tracks. Also, as a car passenger travelling on the most boring of motorways I can let my mind wonder and come up with quite a few creative ideas.
5. What formal education do you have?
I have a Ist class BA hons in Communications and Animation from Goldsmiths however, the past 20 years working in the industry has been my biggest lesson!
6. What’s the wisest thing anyone has ever told you?
You’ve got to give yourself a chance to get lucky.
7. As they grow older, what do you think your children will ask you to tell stories about?
I think they’ll ask me about the time I arranged flowers for the Queen’s lunch table. It was very long and very grand! And I expect they’ll ask me about all the different weird and wonderful places Hybrid have been to in London.
Even now, I play a game with my daughter where we look at a sketch map of London that hangs on our toilet wall, and she points to a random location and I have to tell her an interesting fact or story to do with that area.
8. When did something start out badly for you but in the end, it was great?
That’s easy, it was for the first ever hand-tied bouquet I ever made for the first florist I worked for. I had only made a few beforehand and as I was making it I thought ‘Oh my this is going horribly wrong they are going to see straight through me and my lack of experience will be uncovered!’. But for some reason I kept going and realised that perseverance can take you quite a long way and actually I was alright at this flowery stuff!…
9. Which flower will always be in fashion, no matter how much time passes?
Roses: the whole world has spent thousands of years growing them. Just don’t let my friend near them.
10. Which is the most unusual brief you’ve ever been asked to fill?
Flowers to be given on stage at The Royal Albert Hall to a whole host of amazing female celebrities who took part in The Vagina Monologues in the early noughties. The flowers had to be very themed, descriptive and very striking! I was wincing when I was making them.
11. What are you interested in that most people aren’t?
Vans and trucks.
12. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve broken?
Our first van.
13. What do you think you are much better at than you actually are?
Axe Throwing (ask the rest of our team, this was the first part of our Christmas party last year and I was THE worst).
14. Do you think that aliens exist?
Not in the slightest.
15. What movie, picture, or video always makes you laugh no matter how often you watch it?
Am afraid it has to be the bar scene from Only Fools and Horses and the sick caterpillar scene in CBeebie’s ‘Hey Duggee’.
16. What’s the funniest joke you know by heart?
What do you get hanging from trees?…