I’ve always liked writing so starting a blog isn’t too far of a stretch for me and it will hopefully give me an opportunity to share more about my work and flowers as well as some of the brands and businesses that I love working with.
But first, a little bit about me.
I’m Caroline and I’m a florist based in Surrey. I haven’t always been a florist, but I’ve always loved flowers. I used to work for the National Trust, managing a big country house – while I loved my job, I’m a very creative person and I didn’t get the opportunity to use my creativity as much as I would like. Over time this became more of a frustration to me so I looked for other creative outlets. Flowers seemed like the perfect option so I signed up for a career change course at the Sussex Flower School with the lovely Georgia Miles, and the rest is history (or at least we gloss over the challenges including redundancy and long-term illness…perhaps I’ll feel more ready to write about those another day!)
I’ve always been very influenced by the seasons and they play a big part in my flowers – all my designs are made with seasonal flowers to create something that feels both natural and beautiful. Flowers will always be at their best when they are in season so it makes perfect sense to use those that will look and last the best!
One thing that is hugely important to me and my business is sustainability. I have always been interested in environmental issues and from the start I wanted Hayloft Floral to be a business with a strong environmental conscience. I’m not perfect and I don’t always get everything right but I am consistently trying to ensure my business is as sustainable as possible. One of the big things that this means for me is not using floral foam. More and more florists are choosing this path as floral foam is a plastic made from two toxic chemicals, phenol and formaldehyde and is extremely damaging to our ecosystems and potentially to our health. If you have ever worked with it you will know that it gives off a lovely green dust of micro plastics which are then easily inhaled. For me, there is no real reason to use it as I have never come across a design that I am not able to create without foam – sometimes it means being slightly more innovative in your solutions to find ways to create the feel you want in your flowers but for me there’s nothing bad about thinking outside the box and the end result is often even better!
Sourcing my flowers
I am also a big champion of British and locally grown flowers. While I do sometimes use imported blooms (particularly over the Winter when British blooms are a lot more scarce!) I try to ensure that the majority of my flowers are sourced locally. In Surrey we have some amazing local growers that I will talk more about in future posts! Sourcing locally grown flowers means my carbon footprint is as low as possible, I’m supporting small local businesses and the added bonus is that they are always unbelievably beautiful and often you find varieties that traditional wholesalers just don’t stock!
Last year I also started growing my own flowers for the first time and I am expanding my patch this year so that I am able to grow more for my bouquets and weddings. Since weddings tend to be booked so far in advance (2020/2021 is the exception to every rule!) this means I’m able to grow particular varieties that I want for a particular wedding scheme to add those special, personal touches.
I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions, want to know more or just want to say hello 🙂.