Me and Mr Higgins

Me and Mr Higgins

If you were brave enough to venture on to Lewes High Street in storm Gareth last Friday you might have thought you had slipped back in time. The cast of the up coming LOS Musical Theatre production of My Fair Lady took to the streets in costume with baskets of fresh flowers and flyers to give away.
One of the best loved musicals of all time Lerner and Loewe’s witty script and familiar songs will delight audiences of all ages. go.botanica relishes the opportunity to support Eliza Doolittle , a humble flower seller in her rise to society Lady.
Along side our sponsorship we will be designing and arranging the flower arrangements for the stage set and dressing the foyer and bar of Lewes Town Hall with fresh flower arrangements for every performance. Lottie and Mathilda our wonderfully talented florists at Lewes have designed and installed a wild flower spring meadow for Lewes Tourist Information on the High Street who will be promoting the production ahead of the performances.

Whilst I have not quite climbed to society lady I feel a connection with Eliza, 16 years ago with a pasting table, 20 buckets, shaky legs and absolutely no idea I opened at Hove Station. Teaching myself to make a hand tie in front of a mirror it wasn’t until I employed my first right handed member of staff that it became apparent that in floristry I was cack handed! Spiralling my bouquets like a left hander despite being a righty! presumably thanks to the mirror! Being so dexterous has its advantages these days though and I am rarely doing just one job at a
time.

Win tickets to see My Fair Lady at LOS Musical Theatre in Lewes

We have 2 front row tickets for opening night – Tuesday 2nd April @7.30pm to giveaway!
All you have to do is fill in the form below and let us know your cockney rhyming slang for the word ‘Daisy’.

We’ll pick our favourite on Thursday 28th March and let the winner know asap.

Sorry you’re too late – our draw is now closed!

Me & Mr Higgins

I am so proud of everything that we have achieved as a company, always mindful that each and every person who has walked the path with us no matter how short or long has left a legacy and helped go botanica to become the friendly, local community based face of flowers in four towns.

We are now seeing grown up children of our original customers using our stores, which , although makes me feel ancient as Eliza would say it warms the cockles of my heart . Mr go.botanica was / still is my Henry Higgins , he believed in me right from the get go and his gentle encouragement, love and support not to mention his ability to talk the hind legs off anyone passing has been integral to the brand.

And if ever I doubt myself or procrastinate I get a sharp ‘move yer blooming arse !’

Mum’s the inspiration

Mum’s the inspiration

I must be getting old ; the recovery period post Valentines has felt more sluggish than ever.
But here we are .. the redness has faded, the sun is shining and tiny bulbs are popping their heads over the grassy parapet ..hooray !

The new website has been exceptionally well received and I am touched by the amount of people who have called, written or popped in to say how much they love it ! It means a lot .
The refreshed web shop sales speak for themselves and we have all so loved getting familiar with the new designs.

Like a needle stuck in a 70’s LP here I go again. Team work team work team work .
Back in January I set the go bo girls the task of each designing a bouquet for the new web shop and, as ever they did not disappoint.

Each and every one produced beautiful detailed drawings with floral descriptions and insights into their inspiration. It was a beautiful thing on paper but particularly where our product is concerned…. you just can’t beat the real thing and the results are stunning ! Thank you my brilliant team, you are ace.

So, here we are with just weeks to go until our biggest flower celebration and undeniably my favourite….. MOTHERING SUNDAY.

What sets Mothering Sunday apart from the rest I hear you ask ? A combination of the glut of springy seasonal goodies, the days getting lighter and warmer and of course the perfect reminder to celebrate the matriarch in your life.

Easy to take her for granted because she makes few demands and her love is utterly unconditional this special lady will just as likely be as thrilled with a tiny bunch of daffodils as one of our luxury bouquets which kind of got me thinking .

When the girls were designing their bouquets, often the inspiration was a person . As florists we do this a lot, interpreting people in flowers . It’s such a personal and creative way to honour someone.

wild floristry

wild floristry

For twenty years or more I have ducked January by heading off to the tropics.This year a combination of children having left home, no dog care and a much needed new website kept us local.

We have not been idle ! The dogs have been on a walking weekend in Yorkshire, the website is done and I have reconnected with some truly creative friends and forged new bonds with other like minded professionals, whose industry sits sweetly along side my own.

It actually feels more rewarding than a month in the sun ! When I first started out in floristry others in the business kept their cards close to their chest; how times have changed for the better. Largely, I believe, through social media businesses are supporting each other and working together.

This months blog is a shining example of what a creative, talented, enthusiastic and let’s face it probably a bit unhinged group of people can achieve !
So, it all began just before Christmas when a young man popped into our Hove shop and ordered a room full of flowers to accessorise his wedding proposal. Naturally we gave him the third degree and insisted on hearing the romantic details . When he told us he was popping the question overlooking their favourite Sussex view at sunset, a little seed was sown in my subconscious. I knew just who I had to share this with ! Fresh home from her adventures styling fabulous weddings and events across Spain and brimming with fearless enthusiasm my lovely friend Claire @butlerwhiteweddings began to weave her magic. The iconic views at The Devils Dyke seemed like the logical place for a wild wedding proposal styled shoot to take place. With Elena and her incredible eye for atmospheric photography @elenapopaphoto invested a plethora of talent and goodwill fell into place. Every girls dream best friend Poppy Tallulah hair and make up @poppytallulah_hairandmakeup, Bridal gown connoisseur Alex from Wild Heart Bridal @thewildheartbridal and my old mucker Rosie Odette Jewellery @rosieodettejewellery combined resources to ensure that our beautiful model Lilly looked breathtaking in her rue de Seine wedding gown and gems.

The vibe….a Moroccan style picnic setting in the shadows of the gnarled hawthorn trees defied the freezing temperatures and while brass lanterns flickered with golden candle light and persian rugs lay under foot our iPhones froze !

Our beautiful couple @oliver_bone_ @lilyfullstop slipped effortlessly into character. Whilst the lovers indulged in their Laurent Perrier and grazing board picnic Emily and I slid our way down the icy gorge with our beautiful cast iron arch frame hand crafted by the fabulous @madebymoore.

Several journeys up and down later and with burning quads we set about creating the ultimate setting for Ollie’s marriage proposal.
Lush foliages including olive and fern encased our foam free moon gate , cleverly leading the eye into the long distance. The moon gate looked as if it had been there since the Devil started digging , blending effortlessly into the staggering beautiful backdrop. As the happy couple embraced each other before their glorious view groups of ramblers and over excited dogs looked on misty eyed.
Elena’s stunning images tell this love story better than I ever could, it is one thing to have the imagery but the point here is that none of us could have achieved this without the others.

So, now we all want to do it again ! Whose next ? We can’t wait to hear about your iconic setting and create a back drop for your intimate occasion …..10 percent discount on venues 25 degrees Celsius or more 😜

Mum’s The Word

Mum’s The Word

Yeah yeah yeah…. I hear you … another Hall Mark occasion right ?
WRONG
There is nothing cynical about this date in your diary.
Even if your Mum is not your favourite person and you have no intention of buying her some £1.50 daffs ( it happens )
We all have a maternal role model in our lives.
This occasion is a celebration of the matriarch that guides and loves you unconditionally, in some cases this can be someone your own age.
Mothering has no guide lines, no limits it is something that comes involuntarily from within.
I was just eleven years old when I knew for absolute certain that I would be a mother…come what may.
I decided there and then right in the middle of a tour of my new boarding school by the beautiful sixth former Olivia Hames that I was going to be a Mum.

And that when I was a Mum my first daughter would be named Olivia.
Olivia Hames was the epitome of gentleness, kindness and serenity in an otherwise rather daunting environment.
Great qualities for a maternal role model.
I should add that at this point in my life I did actually still have a Mum,although unknown to us only for another few months.
A Mum that ticked all the boxes but that I had yet had the opportunity of forging a bond beyond infancy.
I have, subsequently had the good fortune of meeting many maternal role models, women who instinctively guide and support without judging.
Mothering Sunday is a gentle reminder / a good excuse to present a platform and pop your Maternal idol on top.
The kind of women I am talking about do not look for this type of adulation and thanks..they actually don’t even know what they do most of the time !
But you do..I do ..
Next weekend for me Is the best.
Mothering Sunday is about celebrating and giving thanks for someone’s constant indelible love and support.
Across the four go.botanica shops we will be whipping up scores of hand tied loveliness made with a genuine love of the occasion , Mother Nature blesses us with a glut of springs finest offerings this week and if your Mum is way too cool for flowers you can indulge her in one of our gorgeous succulent and cacti terrariums or one of our much coveted living wreaths.
Me ? Well I am a Mum …five little darlings to boot.
And if I were a gambler I would put my money on it being my daughter Olivia to choreograph the Mothers Day love that I receive.

Our New Babies

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 😜

The Next station is …..

The Next station is …..

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 !!!)
haywards-heathAny 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 💪