I have three beautiful children, two were planned and one was a wonderful unexpected gift.
Since her arrival I do everything in threes….much to the amusement of my family . I am ‘ three’ obsessed.
Some of my customers will also be rolling their eyes as they read this having been lectured on the implications of two sunflowers peering out of a bouquet like a pair of optometrists goggles 😳
We work long hours at go.botanica and operate more than 350 days per year so, regardless of how flattering it has been to be offered new sites over the years we have always shied away from the idea in an attempt to maintain a work / life balance.
Pah! I should have known that it couldn’t last! In May 2016 we opened our beautiful new shop at Haywards Heath Station.
There has been a florist at this station for over thirty years so we had big shoes to fill.
Ripping out the archaic walk-in fridge, revealing the original ceiling height and reconfiguring the layout has transformed the work space and the shop looks fabulous.
Bringing the go.botanica brand a few miles North has not been without its problems, aside from the sheer exhaustion of adapting to running three shops to our usual standard we have been blighted by the enormous Waitrose building project next door which has included closing the drop off points and pavements to the front entrance where we are situated and of course the shambles that is currently Southern Rail.
I am going to resist the temptation of getting on my soap box about Southern, suffice to say their antics are no longer an inconveniences to their passengers, they are life changing.
Delivering real misery to real families and real businesses.
Fast forward six months and Waitrose is almost finished and the drop off point is functioning and go.botanica Haywards Heath is well on its way to running under full steam.
We have been overwhelmed by the loyalty of our customers during such a tricky trading period and owe much to our fabulous delivery driver John for taking the strain.
So…..just as we were catching our breath along came baby no 4! …….
Lewes opened in November and it has been a whirlwind! I haven’t written much about Lewes until now because due to a planning issue we were forced to open half cocked, but I am delighted to report that as of last week the shop is starting to look like we had intended.
With planning consent to remove a ‘carbuncle’ suspended ceiling complete with operating theatre lighting we have now revealed the stunning arched windows and original ceiling height and the shop is light, airy and the perfect backdrop for our beautiful selection of flowers, foliage and glass ware.
Lewes has a plethora of venues that we have worked in many times over the years and we are really excited to be bringing go.botanica’s grab and go bouquets and our bespoke events service to this gorgeous corner of Sussex.
But what about my OCD in 3’s ?
2+0+1+7= 10 /4 = 3 😜
Haywards Heath !!
Serious excitement in the go botanica camp as we prepare to launch our new shop at Haywards Heath Railway station on May 24th.
There has actually been a florist trading at this busy little station for thirty years or so and we are delighted to be able to now extend our brand in a Northerly direction !
Of course a great many of our new customers will recognise us from Brighton and Hove so the jungle drums are pounding but we are also thrilled that we will be meeting a whole new client base.
As the only florist trading in Haywards Heath we are really looking forward to show casing our wedding, event and corporate work as well as providing our usual array of beautiful bespoke hand tied bouquets and seasonal bunches.
We are all excited by the prospect of expanding our merry little band of super talented florists who have all been amazingly supportive and excited by our new venture.
We are also, of course thrilled to be adding even more creative hands and new faces to ‘ the family’
We have spent the past few weeks re modelling the unit, pulling down ceilings , exposing brick work and installing beautiful vintage carpenters work benches.
Now I am itching to add the soft touches and of course the flowers !
And oh ! What a time of year it is to play with flowers ! There will be zinc buckets brimming with gorgeous blowsy peonies,scented English stocks, delphinium and hydrangea as big as your head .
Sweet peas from West Wittering and bunches of garden herbs vying for attention amongst the soft garden roses….dreamy.
But first I had a little break ( well you know me !!!)
Any thoughts about the pitfalls of expanding go botanica have been blown away after a week with five of my dearest friends .
A friendship spanning thirty six years with this nutty lot has proven to be far more valuable than the rather dubious education our parents paid for !
This week I have been encouraged, mentored, counselled, loved and above all laughed until my sides hurt.
Haywards Heath ….bring it on 💪
This month has mostly been celebrating the arrival of spring, tucking away our thermals and basking in the Shards of sunlight dancing their way around the shop.
The go botanica girls have been busy bees , with barely time to catch our breath since our busiest Mothers Day ever .
Easter weekend was unusually frantic and in spite of the gales we still have all our buckets !
Romance has nodded its head in our direction too with a flurry of wedding consultations, bookings and events, we are on a roll.
I won’t ever take for granted the good times, they arise from a committed team of staff and suppliers and of course our fabulously loyal customers. Thank you.
As you may remember Richard and I spent January in Tanzania , a country that reached into our hearts and has left us totally enriched.
Whilst we were in Arusha we caught up with a pretty special young man who is changing lives in that tiny corner of the world.
I think Zac was about 14 when we first met him, scruffy in his Cardinal Newman uniform, skateboard glued to his feet , serious attitude and a penchant for older women !!
He was a regular face loitering around the Hove shop hoping to hone his Italian charm on one of my Saturday girls !
At 19 whilst travelling Zac visited Tanzania and in turn Tanzania stole his heart.
The house that zac built www.thehousethatzacbuilt.com was born and his mission to provide better housing for single women raising often three generations of children began.
Zac has been tireless in his efforts to raise the funds for his projects, we visited the fifth house in time to meet the team digging it’s foundations .
The team are made up of young men who have been living on the street, Zac and his foreman teach them all aspects of the building trade thus providing them with the means to work and better their situation.
The cherry on top is the finished article…a safe, clean home for another Mama and her brood.
It is with the greatest of pleasure that thanks to our good fortune we are able to support The house that zac built.
Thank You !
Hot on Cupids heels follows Mothering Sunday this year. It feels like we have barely picked the last thorns from our sore and swollen hands and here we are bracing ourselves once again.
There is always a flurry of excitement and a cheery air at the stands as the buckets and buckets of scented, sumptuous spring flowers are unloaded.
Regardless of what my iPhone weather tells me nothing says spring like a nodding daffodil, the delicate muscari, gem like anemones , fluffy headed ranunculus and of course the magnificent tulip to name but a few.
What better way to celebrate the person who gave you life than with an arm full of the seasons finest crop.
This year we have teamed up with The Point hair salon in Trafalgar Street to add an extra little treat for your Mum.
The Point is a lovely relaxed salon with a warm , friendly team of professionals on hand to consult and create your look.
Hove manager Emily is The Point’s most recent convert, after realising that my threats to trim her hair with my secateurs were verging on serious we finally managed to get her to sit still for long enough to be pampered and spoilt by the wonderful Ian.
With her beautiful glossy locks tamed and a cheeky little fringe in place go.botanica never looked so glam !
It is always a pleasure to work in conjunction with another local business and we are delighted to be able to offer this introduction in time for Mothers Day.
So….all you need to do is pick up some of your Mums absolute favourites from the stand, or give us a call and we can deliver on the day .
Nestled in each beautiful bouquet will be a card offering a 10 percent reduction on a visit to The Point.
Whilst February will be spent in a red rose blur, January by sharp contrast was all about African sunshine, the squeakiest whitest sands of Zanzibar, wildlife, fabulous scenery and family love.
My primary reason for going to Tanzania was to visit my brother and his wife who are currently living near Mount Kilimanjaro, but secondly I have African blood and only so many years can pass before it beckons me home.
For anyone with a mild fascination for flowers Tanzania is paradise! Copious amounts of exotic heliconia flowers (although my brother may not have quite as many left in his garden since my visit!) heady scented frangipani, bougainvillea scrambling over every wall, not to mention the flame trees buckling under the weight of their incredible pilar box red blooms. The foot hills of Mount Meru offer the perfect growing conditions and as a result are now home to dozens of Dutch flower farms.
I visited Mount Meru Flowers who specialise in rose growing. With only two weeks until St Valentines day the farm was a hive of industry; the latest most sophisticated growing conditions producing hundreds of thousands of roses ready to be flown to the auction house in Holland.
While it is always fascinating to observe an operation of this scale, it leaves me wondering about its’ ethical status.
To give you a rough idea ..the Dutch grown roses that we stock at go.botanica, whilst more expensive, are in quality terms leagues ahead of their African counterpart. Add to this that they are cut, transported (by road) to auction, sold and gracing the stands within 24 hours rather than cut, packaged, air freighted, cold stored etc…I estimate that an African rose is going to be five days old by the time I plop it into a bucket!
Naturally all this is reflected in the price and with cheap labour (the average daily wage in Tanzania is £1.35) these roses are headed for the supermarkets.
Certain supermarkets advertise that their flowers come from fair trade farms in Africa, whereas in reality to qualify a product is only required to be 20 % fair trade which in itself is a pretty outrageous marketing ploy !
Don’t get me wrong, supermarket flowers have their place in the market but make no mistake ….it is still your local florist who has the conscience in this trade.
We build our business on repeat custom and forge personal relationships with our customers and suppliers.
So, this year when you choose where you buy your St Valentines roses from please make an educated decision.
The bouquet you buy from go botanica will be fresh, hand made and beautifully presented by a gifted florist with flower petals running through her veins!
Sincerely, nothing makes us happier than a satisfied customer.
When it comes to special occasion flowers the gulf between supermarket flowers and florist bought is still enormous and remember ….you can’t put a price on LOVE.