A very personal post

by fpickles on December 16, 2014

It has been QUITE some time since I have been on here, so apologies for that but this has been a very difficult year – the best and worst of years for me really.

The worst of years, because my darling Mum passed away at the end of May.

Barnsdale Gardens

She was diagnosed with leukemia last June and was told in March this year there was nothing else they could do for her and she died three weeks short of her 80th birthday.  But, but remove all thoughts of her being a delicate 80 year old lady. Until her illness, she was a youthful, vibrant, funny, active, witty, sarcastic, happy person who was a pleasure to be around. We used to laugh together – a LOT!

Even during her illness she was very stoic, positive and quite frankly an inspiration, she never got down or moped about – she just got frustrated at her failing body.  We actually spent some lovely quality time together in her last few months and I will always be grateful for that, I just miss her.

This has also, rather remarkably given the above, been our best year.  Far and away busier than any previous years, with some of the most gorgeous weddings and events that have been a joy to be involved in.

In a strange twist of fate the beginning of the year was relatively wedding free and I was able to drop all but the most urgent of things to spend as much time as possible with Mum.  I made back up plans for when the inevitable happened (MASSIVE thanks to my beautiful friends, Lynne of Stems Design and Sarah of Simply By Arrangement in particular, but to all the team who rallied around – I could not have got through that week, or the rest of the year for that matter, without them).  I was able to spend time planning and attending her funeral/end of life ceremony, it was so important to me that it was very personal to her, not religious, just about her and what was important to her.

I created all the flowers from both our gardens and made a little posy of herbs and scented flowers that we had both grown to go in her coffin so she has flowers with her always.

I spent the night before her funeral dressing her beautiful willow coffin with Mozart’s requiem playing and Jo Malone candles, I chatted to her as I worked. It was a beautiful experience, not one I would have chosen obviously but beautiful nonetheless.

After a lovely non religious ceremony (thank you to Rosie of Natural Endings and Liz from Unity Civil Celebrancy) we headed off to Didsbury House Hotel for afternoon tea and cake. Beforehand I had dressed the room with pictures of Mum everywhere, sweet peas and garden flowers in vases and two Jo Malone candles (Blackberry & Bay and Grapefruit). Afterwards Liz, my cousin and I stayed for a meal afterwards, kicked our shoes off and spent the evening, chatting and reminiscing – it was all very lovely and I’m so glad we spent the time searching for somewhere that was just right.

Then almost immediately we entered our busiest time EVER, which didn’t allow any time for pondering at all!  BOOM, it was “flower central” for four months solid.  We had weddings all over the place in such a vast array of colours, styles and venues.  The workshop became a mass of flowers and people, my husband became full time catering manager, supplying drinks and food for the workers.  I don’t think I thought about anything other than what flowers were needed when, for the entire four months.

In the midst of all this, I was very honoured to be asked to speak at The British Flowers Seminar at Stoneleigh in June, with some of the most influential people from across the industry in attendance, there were way too many “movers and shakers” to mention everyone but I did get to meet the very lovely Rona of the fantastic flower blog Flowerona (if you’re not following it already, you should be!) and TV presenter Rachel de Thame – pictured here with our flowers.

Using British Flowers wherever possible is something I feel very strongly about and it was a very good and inspirational day.  There are more super exciting things happening on the British Flowers front next year so keep watching!

On my way down to the Seminar, I called in at David Austin roses which was nearby, it was my first time there and OH MY GOODNESS, it was incredible, it felt like I had found the mothership. Roses of every size, colour, shape and scent as far as the eye could see in every direction, I may have bought a few plants – quite a few in fact!

I did find it moving, as I had always thought I would go with Mum, so it was kind of fitting to go at such an emotional time. I thought a lot about her as I walked round, she would have loved it too, I had a pot of tea and a piece of cake for her and I may have had the odd “piece of grit” in my eye from time to time.

So, given the circumstances, it seems very surreal that as I look back, I actually have really happy memories of the Summer. There was much laughter, silliness, singing and some dancing in the workshop, with occasional stressy moments, not much sleep and a LOT of hard work.

There were lovely set-up days in teepees, grand houses, marquees, barns, castles and private homes across all points of the North of England and Wales.  I have had the most incredibly supportive team working with me and I just would not have been able to get through the year without them. So a massive thank you to all of you.

SO, I now have LOTS of material for many a blog post so be warned, I will become a blogging machine but it will probably be in 2015 now.  Thank you for reading to the end, as you see it has been quite a year.

For my Mum – sleep well xxxxxxxxxxx



We’re in The Guardian :)

March 12, 2014

a lovely piece about our flower growing here in Yorkshire

Read the full article →

National Wedding Show – Manchester Central March 15th and 16th

March 2, 2014

we will be there – will you … :) ?

Read the full article →

British Grown wedding flowers – for the growers.

February 10, 2014

a post for flower growers and bit of a rallying call !

Read the full article →

British Flowers Workshop, Harrogate

February 10, 2014

What happens when British flower growers and florists get together

Read the full article →

Oh, what a year (part two)

December 30, 2013

more about what we have been up to this year :)

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Oh, what a year (part one) …..

December 28, 2013

the first part of what we’ve been up to all year

Read the full article →

Natural Winter Workshop – date confirmed

December 1, 2013

how to style your home for Winter and Christmas

Read the full article →

Natural Winter Styling Workshops

November 6, 2013

visit us here and learn how to create some beautiful, natural, Christmas designs

Read the full article →

It’s all about me !!

November 1, 2013

a bit about me and my beloved business

Read the full article →