Feature
Place at flower school can be arranged

By Laura Maltby Friday 25 January 2013 Updated: 29/01 08:30

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Buy photos » Award-winning florist Sarah Horne and pupil Debbie Cooke from Creative Garden Design. 46.012.035.leam.jm1 (www.buyphotos.com)

IF you believe the rumours florists and gardeners are the happiest workers in the UK.

To see if the claim held up, Observer reporter Laura Maltby went along to a flower arranging workshop.

I HAVE to admit, my knowledge of flowers is pretty poor.

To me, flora is what you put on your toast for breakfast and the closest I've ever come to Chelsea would be a trip with my brother to watch the football at Stamford Bridge.

So when I was given the chance to take part in a session with Chelsea Flower Show award-winning designer Sarah Horne, I decided to cast aside all doubt and embrace my inner creative spirit.

Like many others, I was under the impression flower arranging was a hobby for women of a certain age with plenty of time on their hands. Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong.

When I walked through the doors of Victoria House in Leamington I was greeted by a sea of smiles from people of all ages.

From interior designers to young mums, everyone seemed keen to have a go. But just how easy would it be?

The topic for this month's flower school was Aurora Borealis – or the Northern Lights to me and you - and Sarah made it look effortless as she arranged flowers while seamlessly answering questions about their origins.

Just 20 short minutes later and it was our turn.

Approaching the flowers as if they were poisonous, I was more than a little anxious but would you believe it, I'm quite the florist.

Sarah complimented me on my 'natural ability' though in fairness to her, I think she was probably just being nice.

Now I know my arrangement won't be scooping first prize at next year's Chelsea Flower Show, but I will say as soon as I stopped worrying whether the flowers were in the right place, I found it to be a remarkably relaxing activity.

So is it really the best job in the world? Well Sarah seems to think so at least.

“I love my job,” she says “I'm very lucky as it has allowed me to travel and see a lot of the world I otherwise wouldn't have.

“We did a wedding in Blenheim Palace a few months ago and last year I went to Chicago to demonstrate in front of more than a thousand florists. The great thing about my job is it's never repetitive and I love that.”

She came into the industry more than three decades ago through her mum who always aspired to own a shop and that dream became a reality for Sarah, when the florist opened her very own shop in Warwick Street.

Aside from providing flowers for everyday occasions, Sarah runs workshops every month and is keen to encourage anyone to come along and try their hand at the activity.

And having done it myself, for all those doubters out there I would say don't knock it til you've tried it.

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Buy photos» Reporter Laura Maltby gets creative. 46.012.035.leam.jm4

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Buy photos» Lyn Pirrie concentrates on her arrangement. 46.012.035.leam.jm3

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Buy photos» The ladies hard at work. Picture by Jon Mullis 46.012.035.leam.jm5

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Buy photos» The ladies hard at work. Picture by Jon Mullis 46.012.035.leam.jm5

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