‘It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends….to the exact place the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was.’
I’m not so gloomy as to say I’m no longer an optimist but it’s certainly true that endings are harder than beginnings. When Joan Didion left New York at 28 she’d spent a large part of the year crying, and where she chose ‘elevators, taxis and Chinese laundries’ for me it’s been in tube stations, on the side of the motorway, at the dentist. To temper this there have been soaring joys; friend’s wedding days, that flower swing that turned out pretty well tho I say it myself. But there’s a change blowing in the wind. Next month we are moving out of London to Amsterdam. Here’s some parting wisdom I’ve learnt as a florist these past few years:
1. There’s no one type of beauty
Beauty comes in many forms that stretch far beyond the reach of the rose. A sweet trailing jasmine, a thorn-covered rose hip, soft old-man’s beard, a gnarled branch of oak.
2. Everything needs Tender Love & Care
Just as with people, flowers need the basics; clean water, a bit of space, to be kept cool. But to really get the most out of one you have to get to know how to love it, slowly, over time.
3. Having favourites
You should never have favourites. However rich chocolate cosmos, sprightly forget-me-not, a very open tulip, a tiny, scented lily of the valley will always make me weak.
4. Romance isn't dead
Many, many people still send flowers. To pen the notes from the naughty to the heartfelt will restore your faith in mankind.
Whilst you can get nearly every flower at all times of the year, you’d be a fool to do so. Every flower has their ‘moment’ and it’s worth waiting for it.
6. Working hard
Being a florist is physically, mentally, creatively and emotionally challenging. To work hard means you're never bored and you have less time or energy to worry about small, insignificant things.
7. Taking Risks
The day my friend Lucy drove me to buy my white van, we were on the back of her red vespa wearing sparkly helmets and I could barely even drive a car. I drove away in Dolly and became as fierce on the roads as any white van man.
8. Making mistakes
Being up a ladder in gale force winds and rain 30 minutes before the wedding of your boyfriend’s brother isn’t ideal. Nevertheless you do finish the arch, find Mearsy's shoes and stride into church (so what if you don't realise the back of your dress is unzipped to the waist?)
9. There’s no avoiding the passing of time
To live and work with flowers, you’ll never fail to notice the passing of the year from the first blossom to the Christmas tree. Endings are nature's way of making space for the new.
10. The importance of friends
To all those who gave up summer weekend's to make flower crowns at soggy festivals. To everyone who has encouraged and helped me along the way. And to Emily who got up at 5am to drive me to Suffolk when I broke my foot. Thank you.
I’m taking a break from writing this newsletter every month, I don’t know when I will write the next. But I surely will once I've found my feet in Amsterdam. Thank you for reading and for supporting me on this ever more winding road. Bye for now X