A Reflective Mood at Stems of Holborn in Sicilian Avenue

Stems of Holborn

We closed the 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…

harvesting lavender

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.

Ficus bonsai tree

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.


kumquat tree

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

hand tied bouquet in water

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.

for the bride

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.

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Jan founded Stems in London WC1 in 1985, after changing her career as a teacher/translator, & training as a florist in Sweden. Her unique style, inspired by country walks, has been described as natural & wild, but with depth & sophistication. From a simple, tiny posy to grand events at St. James's Palace, Jan loves creating beautiful arrangements.