The countdown is on for Valentine’s Day and it’s the busiest time of year for florists.
We caught up with Lorna Dunlop who opened The Henley Florist & Flower School on Hart Street last November after moving down from Edinburgh so this will be her first Valentine’s in Henley.
12 years ago, Lorna wasn’t very well and during her recuperation she tried lots of creative things to distract her. One of the things she did was flower arranging which she loved and decided to change her career from Accountancy after learning floristry at night school and then doing some qualifications. She started with a modest flower stall on Waverley station in Edinburgh in 2014, moving to Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre with a stall after a couple of years and then opening her first premises in 2018. She moved to Henley after visiting her good friend and jeweller David Rodger-Sharp and fell in love with the town. Lorna has been delighted with the feedback from her Christmas flowers and she’s picked up some commercial contracts already including The Relais Henley hotel.
Lorna who has been awarded a Master Craftsman in Floristry said “People should start thinking about Valentines from 1st February as most florists have ordered their stock now to be delivered for Valentines. It’s been a difficult time with ordering stock as Holland is only just coming out of lockdown.”
When love and romance are in the air, Lorna loves to be part of it. She says, “I love this part of my job and I feel I’m playing a part in perhaps in a proposal, engagement or the mystery of delivering a bouquet from a secret admirer.”
Although the obvious flowers for Valentine’s are red roses, Lorna comments, “A nice alternative is a Spring seasonal bouquet or a plant.” If you do want to give though the classic dozen red roses, Lorna will be offering her premium 70cm long stems for £80. She told us she once did a bouquet of 250 roses for a Valentine’s client!
Preparation has already started ready for next weekend. Lorna has started to cut ribbons and paper ready. However she’ll start her long hours next week working into the small hours with Valentine’s collections and deliveries starting next Friday (11 February).
“The hardest thing to get a bouquet to look right is the balance of flowers. The preparation is key and takes the most time. Each stem is checked, prepared and conditioned to ensure they are in top condition. Some flowers also need to be wired like Gerberas,” explains Lorna.
If you’re looking to add something special to go with the bouquet, Lorna offers locally made chocolates, bears and balloons. All of Lorna’s flowers are guaranteed for at least 7 days and she stresses the importance of using the flower food that comes with them as it prolongs the life of the flowers.
Lorna doesn’t try to compete with the flowers offered by supermarkets. She says, “You can’t compare my flowers with supermarket flowers as I offer a bespoke service with flowers that you can choose and they are a very different quality of flowers for example the roses in supermarkets are only 40cm long.”
Looking ahead to next Valentine’s Lorna may look at offering a workshop in her Flower School upstairs above the shop to make your own Valentine’s bouquet but she will be offering a Mother’s Day basket workshop on the evening of 8 March for £60 which includes all materials.
So don’t leave it too late this Valentine’s, Lorna would love to help you play cupid. Pop in to see her at the shop or you can order online at https://www.thehenleyflorist.co.uk