Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 3 - Paula Pryke

Ok, really, how is it Thursday night ALREADY?!?!? Didn't I just arrive in London??

So a recap of the week thus far.
Tuesday I made my way across town to class and arrived to a lovely tea/coffee time and an introduction to my classmates. There are two Americans, two Canadians, 2 Romanians, 4 South Koreans and the remaining gals are from England. Everyone is great fun to hang out with.
We soon settled into our seats and in walked Paula to get the class started, very exciting feeling when this flower guru walked in! She told us about her business, the changes the floral industry is facing these days and what we can expect to learn at school this week.

(Ok, dinner has arrived, will have to finish up with post in a bit - btw the camera isn't working so well so the picture sharing is on hold til I return to states)

During our introduction a semi-truck pulled up and we went to check it out - basically the truck loads up from Holland and then drives around London to drop off the flowers. Amazing, absolutely amazing. So much variety and soooo fresh. The Denver wholesalers are going to be surprised to see how these flowers are set up, I'm sure. After our visit with the truck wholesaler we headed back in for a demonstration. Paula did European hand-tied bouquets for a bit then we headed in for lunch. This could be a good time to mention what amazing spreads they put out for lunch everyday. Catered food with tons of variety. Plus, quite a few breaks for tea/coffee and cookies/biscuits. During the afternoon we all got to make two handtieds each. We were quite the site walking to the tube with our arms full of flowers.

Tuesday we returned to the flower school and Paula demonstrated all her famous centerpieces. We made two designs, first one a candle ring which at the end of the day got donated to Emma's co-worker. The second arrangement was my favorite - green cymbidiums and red dahlias.
Tuesday night was a late night for us, as Em and Mark took me to see Jersey Boys - a very good production. Glad I got some theatre while here in London.

Wednesday morning, which felt really early after the late night out on Tuesday, we met at the London flower market at 7:30am. I was up and out the door before Em & Mark were even awake. Thank goodness for the tube with such easy to use service.
Anywhooo.. the market is to die for! Ok, I'll say that it is quite similar to San Francisco's flower market (where I used to shop) but nowadays I'm using wholesalers in Denver so it was quite fun to be back in a market full of vendors. Sooo much selection. Tons and I mean TONS of dahlias, a rainbow of dahlias and callas so tall and vivid colors. I will say though that they don't have as many rose choices as we have. They get their roses from England/Holland and Americans get roses for South America. I definitely prefer our south American roses.

>>>Em just sent a message that I'm to meet her at Harrods (I'm such a tourist), so I'll have to continue this post later.....

I'm back and it is now Saturday morning, my goal is to finish this entry before arriving back in Denver. :)
So back to the London market - yes, I really prefer our South American roses, they are much larger, stronger stems and tons more varieties of colors. For instance, I haven't seen one Black Magic or Circus or Confetti rose all week! That's almost a form of torture....
What perhaps got me even more than the selection of to-die for flowers was the to-die for selection of hard goods. I could have gone on a shopping frenzy! They had a ton of great props, large candelabras, vases in every color you could imagine, all kinds of mosses/tree barks/dried pieces, etc.
I'm not sure how long we were at market, maybe two hours or so? Then we were loaded into a van and transported across town to the flower school. All us gals did say it was nice to be in a van and not underground, it was a nice sunny day.
When we got to school on Thursday we had a new instructor, Anita. Anita has worked for Paula for around 13 years I think she said. Our Thursday concentration was wired & taped work. Not exactly my favorite thing as the girls at Bella Fiori would attest to. We made pomanders, halos (called head-dresses here), boutonnieres and corsages. Oh yea, not my cup of tea. Although it was a good reminder on how to do this type of work. Although Thursday evening it was quite easy to transport our goodies home as I wasn't carrying large pieces and scattering flowers all over the tube.
Then before you knew it, it was Friday and the last day of class. Friday's story is continued in the next posting.

On a side note, when Emma and I got home last night I showed her my two new books (which are nicely signed by Paula) and she looked at me and giggled and said - you sure have an obsession.

I can't deny it, I really, really love flowers.

1 comment:

janet said...

Glad to know that your guru didn't disappoint

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