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.
Now, there is nothing I like better than a bit of a challenge..oh , wait …I’m also partial to a sumptuous winter wedding.
Well I hit the jackpot last month with a job that will keep me smiling smugly to myself for months to come.
This Bride knew EXACTLY what she wanted and once I had convinced her that I was the girl for the job she gave me a pretty free rein and lots of encouragement.
The setting for this full-on fairy tale was HMS Nelson in Portsmouth; a candlelit ceremony followed by a banquet that would have turned Admiral Nelsons eye green with envy !
Centre stage was an absolutely magnificent table steeped in Naval history including the WW2 signing of the Japanese surrender ,this was to be the head table seating 14 guests facing front with a further ten guest tables.
Working from a sketch that I had translated from a magazine clipping that the Bride gave me at our first meeting we created the most opulent , over the top, dramatic top table arrangement imaginable ( unless you happen to be a Kardashian! )
Add to that two enormous silver candelabra, half of Waitrose’s fruit section blasted with antique gold spray and the piece de la resistance the keys to the Ward room silver ware cupboard !!!
To say that we were slightly nervous handling ceremonial swords worth more than my house is an understatement ! In spite of it’s stiff Naval image the organisers at the Ward room could not have been more relaxed and helpful .
The go botty girls worked pretty much solidly for three days preparing and arranging the table flowers to the point that the night watchman at Hove asked me one morning at dawn if I had stayed the night !!
I am a firm believer that you get out what you put in and we were all determined to deliver an exceptional piece of floristry.
I will let Jay Rowdens fabulous photos speak for themselves but a brief word on my beautiful etherial Bride.
As bold and extravagant as the reception flowers , the Bridal flowers were the epitome of delicate and serene, like a still life by one of the old masters.
The bouquets perfectly complimenting the delicate oyster colour of the Brides staggeringly beautiful gown and her maids in waiting.
I hope that you enjoy this window Into a precious , precious day filled with formality, fun and flowers.
I rather suspect that it is some years since the Ward room rocked this hard.
Congratulations Vanessa and Ben ! You absolutely deserve each other and if your life together is only half as vibrant as your wedding day you will be sailing in the sunset forever.
Dear Santa , it’s only November and I can already feel the tightening in my chest…the yearly angst …this year for Christmas I would like an Elf all of my own …..
1. Ask the children ( all adult ! ) to write their lists
2. Christmas shopping …I loathe shopping and have managed to evade the dreaded Christmas shop for the past eight years by paying daughter no 1 to do it for me . 2015 and daughter no 1 now ‘”has a full time job Mum, I don’t have time to do your running around….I work you know !”
2. Rack my brain for some innovative way to spend the actual day other than in an food/ alcohol Induced state
3. Make the house look better than last year ..the year before and the year before that ( like anyone bloody remembers !)
4. Plan the menu .. One is Veggie, one is a bad veggie, one loves animals and is known to announce this when faced with one roasted..one thinks he is Gordon Ramsey and whatever I cook will..in his eyes be better off in a Clarkes shoe box ..the remaining two will be glued to something ‘sporty’ …I think her name is Suzy Perry !
Oh yes! I forgot to mention dear Santa that before we get to no 1 on my list I have a job to do.
It’s only November but Christmas is in full swing, restaurants and offices are headlong into the run up.
The stands are full of ruby red berries and seductive looking Amarylis, fluffy cotton balls and soft green velvety mounds of moss ready to be whipped into wreaths.
The new season takes us all by the hand and leads us on another flowery adventure, this is MY Christmas.
Huge vases stuffed with festive flowers, boxes of hand tied bouquets ready to spread cheer.
There is no season like Christmas when it comes to celebrating traditional foliages and flowers and each year I marvel at the impact.
A simple fire place transformed by a plump garland of lush greenery, golden pears, berries and nuts
A neighbours door adorned with a circle of holly and fir
Pots of frilly cyclamen , poinsettia or Amarylis
Sitting room windows filled with pungent spruce trees weighted with baubles, biscuits and bulbs.
Interpreting the contents of another persons dream wedding, event or even funeral tribute can be a tall order.
It is one thing to be a skilled florist bursting with enthusiasm and fresh ideas but having the ability to listen to and translate another persons mind vision requires patience and often self restraint !
Over the years we at go botanica have had the pleasure of working along side some seriously stylish clients and some absolute nutters !
Whilst training our lovely new girl Lydia she asked me what was the craziest job we have ever had, and so it was with little hesitation that I regaled the details of the Alice in Wonderland meets Rocky Horror Show themed wedding !
Setting aside personal preferences and immersing ones self in a project such as this was challenging but we loved every minute ! We sourced giant tea cups which we sprayed bubble gum pink for the table centres which we filled with exotic blooms like black anthurium , orchids,protea, nutans and strelitzia , casually creating a tea party in the little shop of horrors !
A dramatic archway dripping with hanging heliconia and amaranthus greeted guests whilst they waited for the Bride to arrive in the hearse ! ( I kid you not !)
The clients were utterly delighted to the point that on their first year anniversary they repeated the order for the party of all parties !
Most recently we were privileged to do the flowers for a very strikingly themed wedding, day glow orange is not the go to colour for the majority of Brides and pumpkin pew ends was certainly a first for us but it looked stunning ! bold, vibrant and a real celebration of the season and all down to the brilliant masterminding of the Bride…..all we had to do was translate the brief !