The Village: Floristry Isn't Easy

Posted February 27, 2010

The large banner across the railings outside the Adult Learning Centre said 'Enrolling Now'.  Feeling inspired, I plumped for something I’d never tried before and signed up for the four week introductory course in floristry. This was met with howls of derisive laughter from my family and a quip from my husband along the lines of, “You’re not exactly the most creative person, are you?”

Undiminished by such evident lack of support, I bowled up to the first class eager to learn a new skill. The other students had already taken seats in the reception area and were peering out from behind large clumps of assorted foliage. I struck up a conversation with the human shrub beside me.

“I don’t suppose you went into a florist shop and asked for bears, did you?,” I asked. She blushed and said, “Oh dear, yes I did.” One of the items on our first week's shopping list was a selection of small bears. I did think this was a bit odd at the time and was trying to figure out how small stuffed teddies could be incorporated into a modern floral display. It took the bemused florist in Saffron Walden to point out that it was perhaps a typo and that what I actually required were small beads which we would then thread on to blades of grass. That was a relief as I was thinking that miniature bears would be way too cutesy for me. Anyway, it turns out that I wasn’t the only one trying to hunt down bears. Most of us novices, following our instructions to the letter, had done exactly the same thing.

The next week of the course some class members decided to go ‘off piste’ with their flower selection. This was a mistake. Ladies, never think that a spray of carnations can be substituted for a single carnation. Not only will you be reprimanded for not paying heed to your shopping list but you’ll also end up with gaping holes in your flower arrangement that wreak havoc with the overall artistic effect.

Sadly, my first attempt didn’t look anywhere nearly as good as the teacher’s.  In fact it looked decidedly odd and I later overheard my husband describing it to dinner guests as a floral phallic symbol. This didn’t put me off in the slightest. Over the following weeks I proved that I did actually possess some latent artistic talent. We were both impressed by my posy arrangement of yellow roses on week three and captured the moment on camera (see picture). I finished the course with a flourish by creating a towering triangular structure that just about fitted through my front door. This one we affectionately called ‘toblerone’.

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