Student Stories

Grower/Florist – Compton Garden Flowers

Sarah Wilson

Which course did you study at Tallulah Rose and when?
4 week Career Change Course, April 2016

What did you most enjoy about the course?
Apart from working everyday with very talented people, who stretched my imagination and enabled me to achieve things I did not think possible, working everyday with the most gorgeous flowers, making really great new friends, and joining a network of like minded people. The approach to learning is second to none and just worked for me, Rachel supports you to explore and develop your own style – you are not shoehorned into a set method. This way of working gave me the freedom to develop my own style and most important my confidence. I started the course with a rough outline of what I wanted for my business, I left the course inspired, full of confidence and with a very clear direction for my business – and very excited to get started

What was the most important thing that you learnt during your time at school?
There were so many learnings it is hard to pin down one! I guess if I had to narrow down to one it would be to listen and not assume! The whole course of very customer centric, with great discussions around how to consult with customers, how to actively listen, put your feet in their shoes and don’t assume. I have benefited hugely from this learning, several times over the past year I have found myself reflecting on the value of those conversations at school

What was your first big break?
A great friend of mine asked me to provide all the flowers for her daughters wedding. The wedding consultations started a year out which meant I could actually sow seeds specifically to the brides requirements. I was so proud when the day came and the bride was so delighted to see the end result. Having originally thought I would ‘avoid weddings’ I now find myself with several weddings under my belt, more bookings in the diary and really enjoying each one.

What are you doing now?

The flower farm is now coming into its fifth season and we have grown steadily each year – our total growing space is around an acre of land. We have a huge range of British flowers available from April – November.  The vast majority of our annual flowers are grown from seed.  One of the things I particularly love is looking for the unusual, quirky and different, so spend hours pawing over seed catalogues to make sure our flowers are of the very greatest quality for cutting.

As a Grower/Florist I am providing beautiful British grown flowers for weddings and events, we also supply a local farm shop and are regulars at the monthly artisan Frome Independent Market, which I absolutely love as it’s great meeting customers face to face. I also run seasonal workshops, a pop-up shop for special occasions  and field tours during the summer months. We also supply flowers by the bucket to event florists – which again I really enjoy because it’s so great to connect and talk all and things flowery!

We are very lucky to have great customers from brides who love the flexibility and bespoke nature of our offer, event florists who love and want to work with British Flowers and of course our lovely regulars who just love seasonal flowers and buying from local independent businesses.

Describe a typical floristry day?
Difficult to describe a typical day as they all seem so different. One thing they all have in common is up early! In the main flowering season I guess a typical day would look like – cutting as early as possible – flowers need to be cut straight into water, when the sun is not up to make sure they are in the very best condition. Some days cutting happens late in the evening (if I’ve missed the morning). If getting supplies plants & sundries will pay a visit to the wholesalers, getting there by 7am. Next stop preparing flowers for the farm shops, posies, bouquets and seasonal jars of flowers and any other orders on the books. If it’s a wedding weekend, cutting starts on Wednesday/Thursday, getting the flowers conditioned and ready for working on Thursday/Friday.

Depending on the day of the week (I try and give myself a schedule as it is so easy to get sidetracked when surrounded by flowers!) it will be one or more of the following deadheading, weeding, watering, feeding and seed sowing. There is also a lot of grass cutting involved, which my brilliant partner and husband Bob takes care of, as well as masses of the heavy lifting.

What’s been your highlight to date?
So many, one does stand out. I was asked to provide funeral flowers for a much loved father. I had several consultations (over the phone) with the daughter and after the funeral I was sent a lovely message from a lady I had never met saying “thank you for the beautiful flowers, it made such a difference to feel that they were just right on the day”.

What advice would you give to a new student starting out?
Enjoy every moment! Come with an outline of what you want to do after the course and use the course as an opportunity to test and shape your ideas.

Click here to learn more about Compton Garden Flowers