The Secret Garden Flowers – Supplier Love
We first met Louise from The Secret Garden Flowers at Plymouth Pavilions Big Day Wedding Show in February, her stand was so beautiful that we had to go over and say hello! Since then, Louise has created stunning floral designs for couples holding their wedding at the hotel and Louise was also involved in our latest stylised shoot in May with the wonderful Mimosa Photography. We can’t wait to share the images of her stunning floral creations from that shoot in September (there is a sneak peek of three images below, the rest will come soon)!
More recently, Louise created our sensational Christmas display in the entrance of the hotel, showcasing her designs as well as our beautiful Christmas brochure.
We wanted to share a little more with you about Louise and her wonderful local business…
When did you start The Secret Garden Flowers?
When I graduated from University in 2005, I was really homesick and moved back (to Devon) with my now husband to find work. After four years in a retail job, I was very unhappy and began to consider my options. I applied to most of the local florists in Plymouth to offer to work for free so that I could get experience of the trade and learn on the job. After a year of voluntary working I went on maternity leave and had my son, Oliver. Working with flowers really felt like my calling, so I started to make bouquets for people’s birthdays and as gifts, and word soon spread. By 2009 I had my first wedding booking, and secured my first workshop shortly after!
What was your inspiration behind the business, is this something you had always wanted to do?
I used to walk past a lovely florist on my way home from University in Northampton and sometimes treat myself to a few stems which I would go home and arrange. I remembered how happy and relaxed it made me feel, and how much sheer enjoyment it gave me. I suppose you could say I stumbled across a passion I didn’t know I had!
We love the name, how did you come up with it?
It might sound a bit bizarre, but after it was suggested to me by my mum, I kept seeing the name everywhere-on posters, in people’s conversations and even written on an old VHS that my husband found in his childhood bedroom back at home in Yorkshire!! I am a great believer in fate, so I paid attention to the signs!
Where are you located?
I now work from home, as I was lucky enough to have the extra space after we moved into a larger house in 2015. I used to have a shop for five years in the lovely House the Jack Built on the Barbican, where I met lots of amazing and inspiring people. Being a sole trader, staffing a shop, doing deliveries and two school runs a day was nothing short of a miracle!!
Have you had any unusual requests?
One of the first weddings I did was for a lovely lady called Sue who was having a Humanist ceremony. She wanted something unusual, and requested flowering artichokes for her bouquets and arrangements. Needless to say, it’s not the sort of thing you can order from a flower wholesaler! I rang around all the fruiterers and farms I could find until I came across a crop of 20 stems that were available and snapped them up!
What is the largest order you have had to produce?
The largest and most labour intensive wedding I have had was just last month down in Cornwall. I was lucky enough to have some help from my friend at Little Lark Cakes, who was delivering at the venue too. It took three hours to dress the venue as all the flowers had to be fresh from water and strung raffia along the walls and balcony of the barn. We most definitely deserved the cake we scoffed on the way back!!
The largest physical piece I have created was a naval ensign flag requested for a funeral, along with numerous other pieces. It was 3 feet long by 2 feet wide. The family who ordered rang me the following week to thank me-they said when the flag was displayed there was a collective gasp from the attendees, they were stunned. It’s calls like that that make my job really worth all the late nights, bad back and manky nails!!
You have featured in a few of our Seasonal Styling blog posts, do you have a favourite season?
That’s a difficult one! I used to enjoy the winter, but as I get older I am starting to appreciate the sun more and more!! I think the start of the spring, when the first paperwhites, narcissi, ranunculus and anemones start to appear, it’s like the first glimpse of sunshine and heralds the start of the warmer days ahead.
What is your favourite flower?
Without a doubt, roses. Roses are timeless, they never go out of style! They look and smell just beautiful. My nan used to grow stunning roses in her garden and would pick them for me to take home, so they have a special place in my heart as I was very close to her. I used to think the yellow ones smelled like bananas and the pink ones like strawberries!
What makes you stand out from your competitors, do you offer any bespoke services?
I have always believed that each customer should be treated as an individual. Since I started the business I have provided free design services and individual look books for each client based on their colour themes. I’ve never created the same wedding twice, and love to be given a challenge! The service I am most proud of is my 3D bouquet preservation service, which has been unbelievably successful since I began offering it in January. It’s lovely to be able to give brides back their bouquet, with personalised engraved plaque from F3 Design, so that they can enjoy it in their home for years to come.
Did you create the floral arrangements for your wedding?
I got married back in 2006, before the business was even on the horizon, so I was lucky enough to have Kate Bainbridge create my wedding flowers, who has since gone on to win medals at Chelsea! This year my husband and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage by renewing our vows, so I will be making my own for that!
Are there any exciting plans for the future of The Secret Garden Flowers?
It’s been an ambition to be able to acquire my own delivery van, which I just got last month, so I am looking forward to delivering in some new venues next year in the van! I am looking forward to building on the success of the preservation service and to working on some new features for the website too! I also look forward to meeting couples and helping them create their dream arrangements.
Thank you so much to Louise from The Secret Garden Flowers for taking the time to chat to us and tell us all about her fabulous business. We hope you love her work as much as we do!