Lockdown brought a new way of life for me. I have owned Stems of Holborn for 35 years, firstly living in Islington, and then for the past 20 years, living in Old Windsor and commuting to London.
i think most of us push the long commute to the back of our minds, or tell ourselves the job makes it worthwhile. But the truth is, it eats up several precious hours. It’s often crowded and uncomfortable, or in my case, necessitates getting up at 5am. Having had 5 months free of commuting, I see a quality of life that I want to hang on to. I miss the work, but like many other people, I’m looking for a compromise.
Windsor Great Park
I am lucky to live very close to this amazing place where you can walk or cycle for miles. There are some very deserted areas, and others with cafes and play areas. I favour the quieter parts, where I can feel at one with nature. I find the colours and shapes inspirational.
He ground beneath these oaks was strewn with acorns – a feast for the squirrels and wildlife. The dead oak was like a grand sculpture. The cumulo nimbus clouds looked beautiful against all the green, and the remains of Storm Francis provided a lovely breeze.
Flowers for Special Occasions
These beautiful flowers were designed to say Welcome home. We filled an apartment in the Coty with vases of colourful, scented flowers. It was a really summery, romantic selection.
I love these mauve campanula – graceful and strong, they epitomise English summer flowers.
Back to the City
Schools will reopen after The Bank Holiday Weekend. Offices will reopen in the City. Retail and Hospitality in the City has suffered enormously with the absence of office workers. Hopefully, things will gradually and safely get back to some sort of normality. I think we have all learnt something, or been reminded about quality and preciousness of life during the past few months.
i heard on the News this evening that the ice that has melted in Antarctica since the 90’s is enough to fill The Grand Canyon. That’s scary.
I work closely with nature, the outdoors is my favourite place to be, and I love trees especially. When I look at a tree, I see strength, tenacity, history, a safe place, a life giving force….
Rainbow colours are a popular choice for summer bouquets. It adds a fun, informal element.
Summery pinks and purples are also in high demand. I love the strong cerise with purple. Wrapped in brown paper and tied with a raffia bow, this hand tied bouquet is ready to pop into a vase.
I love making posies from my home grown flowers. I grow lavender, lemon balm, myrtle, wallflowers, mint and oregano. The sweet peas are just about finished, but I have a beautiful, deep purple buddleia which the butterflies love. It seems that the number of butterflies has overtaken the number of planes this summer!
We have yet another order for flowers for a marriage proposal this week. I think 2021 will be a mega busy year for weddings – and holidays abroad!
The highlight of the week was the preparation of red rose displays for a marriage proposal at a bar in Soho. Red roses everywhere, and rose petals strewn over the tables, I would have loved to have seen her face!
Tower Bridge with Pink Clouds
I wonder how many people were lucky enough to experience this beautiful sky over Tower Bridge last week. Our floral designs are inspired by nature, using the colours and textures we see.
This beautiful sanseveria plant arrived from Holland this week. A plant like this can transform a space.
If you prefer a softer look, this close relative fits the bill. Both require little water and can cope with low light.
It was the anniversary of an event we were a part of at The Sloane Club in Chelsea this week. Hosted by Country Life, there was a talk by Gerit Quealy, author of Botanical Shakespeare. We foraged many of the flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays, and had great fun arranging them. These little mushrooms were my favourites, along with the burdock.
The streets are slowly getting busier, restaurants are opening, and the Government is encouraging companies to bring their staff back to the office, in a cautious manner.
If we can help you with any floral or plant requirements, give us a call.
We closed the flower shop on 24 March – one day before its 35th. birthday. We had cancelled the drinks party a couple of weeks earlier, knowing that a lockdown was on the cards.
It felt like a sign. Maybe time to call it a day – not that we would want to, but sometimes things are meant to be…
I have been at home since then, gardening, foraging, making flower videos and having more rest than I have in 35 years. I love my job, but the lead up to lockdown was a grim time – a downhill grind since Valentine’s Day. Cancelled weddings, office closures, liquidations.
We have a lot of green plants in the shop. The ficus bonsai is a best-seller. I recommend this larger leafed variety. Keep it in a light position and don’t allow it to dry out.
Citrus trees have become popular lately. This is a kumquat. They are very attractive in shape and regularity, and the fruits are edible. We also stock lemon trees, but the leaves are larger and the plant tends to be less uniform in shape. Keep outdoors in summer and move to a light indoor position before the frost arrives.
Happy flower recipients
This happy recipient was surprised with a bouquet on Saturday. They both work in Events and Hospitality, a sector hard hit by the pandemic. One has been busy, the other made redundant this week. Tough times in this industry. And nobody really knows when things will pick up. Going travelling is usually an option if you’re young and things have gone wrong, but again, the pandemic has removed that as an attractive proposition.
This boy was on his way to a wedding, with flowers for the bride. But with a maximum of 30 guests allowed, many have postponed their wedding till 2021.
The lockdown has given us time to reflect. At Stems, we are sure we want to fight to keep the business going. The Government’s grant was a huge incentive to do our very best to survive.