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Stamford Pride

The Power of Flowers

It all started at St Mary’s and St Augustine’s church for Harriet Fenn, owner of Harriet Floral Design and full time Designer at MM Flowers. “I’d help my mum with the flower arranging at Church,” says Harriet. “Particularly at busy periods such as Christmas and Easter.” After picking up the key skills from various window sill arrangements, the occasional pedestal and even an impressive archway, Harriet found she had a new found passion for flower arranging. “I picked it up again by myself when I joined the local Young Farmers Club,” she says. “I started entering the competitions I ended up getting through to the Young Farmers Nationals at Malvern Three Counties Show,” she says. “I would also do the table arrangements for our Harvest Festivals and Christmas Dinner Parties which would then get auctioned off and the money was donated to charity. It was my friend Lil from Young Farmers who asked me to do her wedding flowers and after that I handed in my notice at work, says Harriet.” With a taste for floristry, Harriet packed in her career in the world of insurance and began looking into how she could make her passion a full-time career. “I started to do weddings, dinner parties and gift flowers full time but also worked at an event company doing the large arrangements for the Grand Nationals, Lords Cricket, Ascot Racecourse and Jaguar Land Rover,” says Harriet. “It was great fun going to all of the wedding fairs and I absolutely love doing the flowers for excited brides but I was approached by a recruiter for a great o pportunity with Marks & Spencers.” A year into the role as Junior Designer for Marks & Spencers and Harriet had helped win their fifth Gold Medal for their Floral Market stand at the Chelsea Flower Show and develop exciting new designs for their supermarket range. “I still do the occasional wedding but just in my spare time now,” says Harriet. “I love my job as it’s giving me so much more experience in the commercial world of floristry. I’d love to go over to Kenya and see the our growers in action out there.” The flower industry is extremely fast-paced, the bouquets have to be simple enough to be made on a mass scale but beautiful enough that the shelves are left bare at the end of the day! “It’s great keeping up with making bouquets at home and for weddings as I can be as creative as I like, there’s no holding me back!” However, the challenge of meeting a specification is part of what makes Harriet’s job so rewarding. “It’s similar to meeting a bride’s budget, you’re creating a bouquet within a certain price bracket that still matches the correct colour schemes and style,” says Harriet. “At the moment I’m finding a lot of brides are going for a more relaxed look with lots of greenery and seasonal flowers. Then of course the classic peachy pinks and white roses are still really popular with weddings.” Harriet has done the flowers for lots of farmer’s wedding where wheat has been a strong feature throughout the arrangements. “If you cut yourself some and hang it to try it can transform something as simple as a button hole into a really personal style statement.” Harriet tends to buy her flowers from the dutch flowers markets, or early trips down to the Covent Garden flower market, but has also been trying her hand at growing flowers for arranging in the garden on the farm. “You can easily grow cut flowers such as Larkspur, Tulips, Gladiolus, Dianthus, Peonies, Gypsophila and Sunflowers at home,” says Harriet. “It’s just a case of being really strict with yourself and making sure you water and cut regularly so that you can more than one flower each time.” With flowers, the more you cut them back, the more determined they become to grow back! “I think because I have a farming background, the growing side of floristry really interests me, it’s amazing how cheap and easy it is to grow your own flowers at home, everyone should try it!” Harriet says her signature style quite possibly developed from a bit of bravery at the start, “You have to be prepared to take big risks and just go for it with the confidence that it will turn out fabulous at the end,” says Harriet. “I’m quite a creative person so I have a flair for creating unique ideas.” In the future, Harriet is looking forward to the ever-changing environment of the fast-paced environment of MM Flowers and learning as much as she can. “I’d love to go over to Holland to meet our growers,” she says. “I’m also keeping up my own business, it’s great to be able to give brides the flowers for quite possibly one of the biggest moments of their life.” There are lots of great courses in this area if you’d like to try your hand at flower arranging, it’s as sociable as it is rewarding. If you’d prefer to leave it to a professional for now, get in touch with Harriet for bouquets, wedding flowers, Christmas wreaths or flowers for your party or event and she will be able to help. www.harrietfloraldesign.com