Mid spring we had the pleasure of meeting business partners Saffy & Verity, who are the Founders ofWe caught up with them to find out all about the inspiration behind their flower school, their creative process and how it all began.
1-TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT GOT YOU INTO THE ART OF FLORISTRY?, HOW THE BATH FLOWER SCHOOL BEGUN?
We’ve both been florists for many years, between us we have at least 40 years of floristry experience. Verity went from a banking career to floristry at the age of 24, had her own business and has worked for some London based florists before moving to Bath and working for Tallulah Rose Flower school for 12 years. This is where Saffy and Verity first met. Saffy has been a florist since she was 14 in London where she grew up. Flowers have always been a constant in her life but she has also completed a dance degree and dallied with working in kitchens as a chef. When Tallulah Rose Flower school relocated from Bath to Cumbria in 2019, this gave us the opportunity to start up on our own and run a flower school in the way that we wanted to. And so The Bath Flower School was born. We started the school together in order to carry out our shared ethos of how to best teach and inspire others.
2-WHAT MOTIVATES AND DRIVES YOU TO GET GOING?
Gorgeous flowers, interesting students, coffee(for Saffy) Tea(for Verity) and dark chocolate ginger biscuits.
And not wanting to let each other down. The beauty of a partnership is that we are always accountable to each other.
We can't not show up for each other, so no 'duvet days' allowed!.
3-WHERE DO YOU SOURCE AND FORAGE YOUR MATERIALS FROM?
Mostly we buy our flowers from local growers, we have two that we love as they always supply us with the absolute best flowers. Sarah from Compton Garden flowers and Lara from Manor Farm Cottage flowers. In an ideal world we would always buy British but sadly this just isn’t achievable as we run our courses all year and a typical growing season for British flowers is March-October. Beyond these months we do have to supplement with flowers that have come to the UK via the Dutch Flower market. We are really lucky that living in Bath we have beautiful countryside all around us. We have foraging permission in a few spots nearby so always have really interesting foliage and branches which are tricky to source elsewhere.
4-DRY FLOWERS OR FRESH FLOWERS?...WHICH OPTION IS MORE SUSTAINABLE AND WHY?
Hmmm. Such a tricky question trying to gauge what is more sustainable....so many factors to take into consideration: amount of water used to grow them, travel miles, chemicals, space used to dry them, packaging to allow travel etc. Probably the most sustainable option with least footprint, would be to grow your own. Enjoy them while they are fresh and let them dry to enjoy for months to come.
5-IS THERE A SPECIFIC FLOWER YOU LOVE FOR ITS PARTICULAR SCENT, COLOUR OR VERSATILITY?
It changes from week to week and season to season, that's the joy of a florist living in a temperate climate. Often with the imported flowers they are grown to look a particular way and the scent is often lost through the process, so receiving British flowers such as garden roses or sweet peas is just the best!. In terms of colour we’re both big fans of flowers that are really dark in colour, almost black, like chocolate cosmos, black hollyhocks and blackberry scoop scabious, those sumptuous dark tones pair so well with so many colours and can be taken in so many creative directions.
6-DOES THE CYCLE OF SEASONS COME TO PLAY AT YOUR FLOWER SCHOOL?
Always! and therefore our buying can sometimes be quite difficult. Take this year as an example, the weather we had around April/May time meant that our growers didn’t have enormous amounts of flowers available. Just like our weather, the growing season was about a month delayed meaning we weren’t able to offer our students British flowers when we normally could. The seasons mean it can feel a little feast or famine. Thankfully, summer flowers are now in abundance, meaning there are so many beautiful flowers around at the moment for us to use and enjoy and we are truly feasting on Dahlias, salvia, roses, phlox, snapdragons, cornflowers, scabious, Larkspur, and sweet peas to name just a few.
7-WHY DO YOU THINK FLORISTRY AND PLANTS IN GENERAL HAVE BECOME SO POPULAR IN OUR LIVES?
Having taught floristry for many years, we’ve come to realise that the simple act of playing with nature (flowers) is in fact very therapeutic. Being surrounded by nature definitely has such a positive impact on people’s wellbeing. The world we live in is becoming increasingly fast paced and technology led, with many people really struggling to find a work/life balance. I think flowers and plants are a reminder that there is natural organic life out there somewhere and by bringing houseplants or flowers into our homes we are able to calm ourselves and harness some of nature’s beauty and magic.
8-WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DESIGN YOUR FLOWER DISPLAYS?
Our inspiration always comes from the flowers and they are always the starting point. The time of year will dictate what flowers we us and therefore our design idea. Back in Spring we collaborated with Emma at Heartful of Tea on a photoshoot. The brief was, a Spring fresh shoot, with a little nod to the 80’s. With poppies hitting the sweet spot of their season we built our design around them. Their sunny and happy colour palette of bright pinks, yellow and tones of orange led the way. Mixed with fluffy pink cherry blossom, there wasn't actually much work for us to do to make it all look great.
Our nod to the 80's was some chicken wire used as a support for the flowers that we sprayed fluorescent pink. We decided for it to be part of the design rather than trying to hide our mechanics as would be the norm.
The combination of bright poppies, pastel cherry blossom and fluorescent wire really hit the brief.
9-WHICH HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INSTALLATION SO FAR?
As a flower school the student's biggest installation so far was decorating the disused fountain in Laura place in Bath. As part of their course, our professional floristry students get to do a flower installation and we always choose somewhere/something Iconic to Bath. Big swaths of bold autumnal colours, hydrangeas, dahlias and lots of textural foliage’s brightened up this neglected Bath landmark.
10-WHICH ARE THE MAIN REASONS PEOPLE JOIN YOUR WORKSHOPS?
We want our school to be accessible to everyone and therefore we offer a wide selection of courses. It may be that someone just loves flowers and wants to spend an afternoon learning how to make a hand tied bouquet or that someone is at a stage in their life where they are hoping for a career change to floristry. But mainly people come to us to to be in a place where they can unleash their creativity. Our classes are fun, informative, friendly and relaxed. We pride ourselves on our informal, generous teaching style, yes we will teach our students the technicalities, but the creative element is down to the individual. At the end of each of our workshops, we want to look around the workroom and see each students style and personality shining through in their work.
For information on their workshops visit www.thebathflowerschool.com