My favourite local florist is a wonderful lady called Julie, who runs The Flower Grove. When I got my first regular job, working on Sundays and school holidays at Boots, I would always go there at Christmas to buy flowers for my mother. I didn't spend much of my wages most weeks, but being able to buy flowers as a present was a new, grown up treat. Funnily enough, I never bought flowers for my mother for Mother's Day or her birthday; just Christmas. I'm not sure why.
Julie has been wonderful during the past few years as I've been finding my florist feet. She's given me feedback on my work when I worried that it wasn't good enough, she's given me advice on the best wholesalers to use, and she's even given me lifts to New Covent Garden Flower Market to save me breaking my back carrying a box of flowers home on the train!
That period in between Christmas and Valentine's Day can be a slow one for lots of businesses, not least florists. I went to see Julie in January and we talked about the reasons for the lull. While she was understanding, saying that when people reassess their budgets, flowers aren't a priority, I think that the money that some people spend on gym memberships which don't get used would be better spent treating themselves or their loved ones to flowers once a month!
I bought some Miss Piggy roses from her, as I adore the bright colour, the scent and the name, and some waxflower, which I like for its longevity and its lemon scent. I combined these with some sage and some viburnum - pretty much the only thing flowering in the garden at the time - and used an old peaches jar to link with the peachy colour of the roses.
I also made some wintry-looking peppermint cakes and some summery chocolate and orange blossom cakes with peachy-coloured icing. With this weather, I don't know if the seasons are coming or going!