We must all have jaw-dropping stories of how this stupid bug has weeded its way into our lives and I have been blown away by some overwhelmingly sad tales but equally by some heart-warming stories of hope. We deliberated hibernation, but with help from my left and right arms, Fi and Jessie, along with some strong advice and the Government’s support we adapted and have been able to continue delivering flowers.
It’s not been a breeze but it has been an unforgettable team journey and all done with a massive lack of hugs, hi fives and coffee shops. The flower auction was haemorrhaging millions of wasted flowers daily, which was not helped by florists fractured and arguing over the trading guidelines globally. This uncertainty meant our flower supplier closed overnight leaving us without flowers for funeral tributes nor for the many last-minute bridal bouquets we still had to make, not to mention a steady increase that soon became a sea of phone and web orders to fulfil.
Fortunately, since last year we have been working with a customer-commuter-turned local flower grower and she asked us what we’d like to put in the ground for Spring. So, while one door slammed, Gillie’s garden gates opened to colourful fields bursting with heavenly varieties of Spring blooms. Cut at dawn the flowers were arriving in the shop each morning, buckets and buckets of flowers sat ready, waiting to become part of one of the many deliciously scented gorgeous bouquets we have been fortunate to deliver to homes right across Hampshire.
Flowers can't solve any of these problems but they are able to lift spirits and make some situations a bit better. Being one of the only florists operating, we've been trucking all over Hampshire safely delivering beautiful Spring blooms with heart felt purpose from customers relaying to us their individual stories grateful to be able to send flowers and with precious messages of comfort, condolence, gratitude, prayers, motivation and many, many celebrations of life and love both new and old. We’ve spent a lot of time chatting at doorsteps to new customers and we’ve been lucky enough to catch up with some of you, our trusty customers too. All these deliveries have bought so much happiness and gratitude to people, to us too and on many occasions made both Fi & I cry as we've driven on to the next drop..
Sadly, the British flower season for Tulips, Narcissi, Anemones, Ranunculus just ended, but with all this wonder Spring bought me time to make some new friends in Holland. Styles have changed since I opened Catkin & Pussywillow. It certainly has got easier sourcing the right flowers, but with an eye for detail, colour, tone, texture, quality and unusual varieties of flowers there have been many an arm wrestle with my suppliers.
It seems I made friends with a supplier with an even pickier vision who because of their unique set up are still safely delivering to florists. Hoek Flowers are bang in the middle of the auction, they do buy a bit, but mainly sell the flowers they buy direct from smaller specialist growers from all across Europe. At 2am, all stems are checked by eye, and the very top-quality flowers are reserved for customers, like us. We now have easier access to the vastest quality, varieties and colours - so our new friends in Holland not only have allowed us to continue to bloom, but they have inspired Catkin & Pussywillow to bloom even more beautifully! Thank you.