Spring Blooms – and with it Comes the Season…

Regardless of the vicissitudes of the British weather, summer means the Season ramps up and so do Hayford & Rhodes

Column by Joanna Rhodes, managing director of Hayford & Rhodes

It’s well known that the British are obsessed with the weather: with such extremes as 29 degrees mid-way through April, followed by a frost on the first morning of May, is it any wonder we can’t stop talking about how cold/ hot/ windy/ changeable it is.

The recent Bank Holiday heatwave has us excited for the warmer months ahead. May 1st was Lily of the Valley Day: its Latin name, Convallaria majalis, literally means ‘belonging to May’. The French take this so seriously, about €30 million is spent on the flower for the celebrated day, both in the buying of cut Lillies of the Valley, as well as the preparation and build-up of planting your own to be in full bloom for the day. The day – in French, La Fête du Muguet – is a day where delicate bouquets of these incredibly scented flowers are given for all reasons: Romantic, sibling affection, friendship… It’s also celebrated in the southern area of Cornwall to celebrate the impending summer. If anyone has taken part in any Lily of the Valley celebrations, tag us in your Instagram posts, we’d love to see.

One of Princess Diana’s favourite flowers, it is a popular bridal bouquet flower. Catherine Middleton, HRH the Queen and (the late) Princess Grace of Monaco all chose these luxurious little flowers to be the focal point of their bridal bouquets. I love the delicacy of the bell-shaped flowers, which seem like the archetypical Cicely Mary Barker flower fairy. Many couples come to us asking for Lily of the Valley in their wedding designs, to pay homage to a family wedding tradition. Will Meghan Markle carry on the tradition by having it in her bridal bouquet?

Talking of weddings… In May, wedding season hits up with a massive wallop. We’re already booked at nuptial events at high-profile venues such as The Savoy, One Belgravia, Home House, Somerset House, Kenwood House, Two Temple Place and The Gherkin (St Mary Axe).  The Hayford & Rhodes brand is built on our ability to provide stunning wedding florals: Vogue rated us at the top of their list of the best wedding florists in London. We love working with couples planning this momentous occasion, but it’s always stressful, as we’re very aware we have the best day of their life in our hands: It’s our aim to make everyone feel special and unique. Our quality flowers, the beauty and originality of the designs, the excellent customer service and – most importantly – the trust in our ability to deliver. The couples for whom we supplied wedding flowers come back to us year after year for birthdays, Valentine’s Day and even on their Anniversary, where often, a redesign of the bridal bouquet is ordered. It’s amazing how flowers can invoke special memories year after year.

This month, we’re looking forward to Chelsea in Bloom for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Chelsea-based designer Catherine Walker has asked us to come on board for the ‘flower walk’ around the streets of SW1X/ SW3, including Sloane Street, Duke of York Square and Pavillion Road. We’re still at the design stage, and I’m going to be dusting off my artist’s tools to sketch the concept. My drawings will be posted on our Instagram before the event, so please take a look and let me know what you think.

Last year we teamed up with opticians Tom Davies for our inaugural foray into Chelsea In Bloom. Using a sunset safari theme, we won the Innovation Award and the Gold Award for our store-front designs.Gold We’ve worked hard to modernise the almost 100-year old Hayford & Rhodes brand, going from weekly bouquets to winning these awards; providing designs for London Fashion week and more. We have some wonderful corporate accounts such as 110 Taillevent and Pizzaro Restaurant and enjoy working with lifestyle, travel, events, weddings and all-round fixers, Quintessentially. Sometimes I have to take a step back and appreciate everything we’ve done. I think about where we were 15 years ago, compared to where we are now, and I can see how the business has continually evolved, and it’s our clients who have taken us on this journey.

Later on in June, we’re headed to Ascot again for the second consecutive year to provide flowers for the Royal Enclosure. To give you some perspective, we design, create, build and deliver in the region of 3,000 table centres. Last year, the event took about 30 members of staff three days to prepare. The installation takes at least 10 hours to install; starting at 6am. The refresh (midweek) is a night shift and one of our florists recalls fondly seeing the sunset that evening and enjoying the sunrise the next morning, having worked on the flowers on-site non-stop through the night.

For those of you who were there in 2017, do you remember just how scorching it was (yes, more talk of the weather)?  It was the hottest week of the year, with temperatures hitting an annual high of 34 degrees.  The flowers were gasping, and it was a true test of our efficiency and expertise. Next month, I’ll let you know how it went. riddle_stop 2

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