I LOVE Hydrangeas, but this week, my passion for these voluptuous, buxom blooms has been severely tested. I was absolutely thrilled when I was asked to design and build architectural table displays for a black tie dinner at a prestigious venue, using dark blue hydrangeas. The customer stipulated that we must use the most luxurious, darkest blue hydrangeas that could be found. I was the woman for the job and I knew exactly where I could get the very best.
Few people may know this, but the flower market works pretty much like the Stock Exchange, flower prices fluctuate by the hour, sometimes by the minute. All it takes is a flower munching mite and the whole economy could collapse in seconds.
So when it comes to pricing up a big job, I have to get out my ‘best guess-calculator’ and make up some costs based on current prices, knowing full well that the price could double or halve in days. When it comes to buying a very specific variety of flower, to be at it’s very best on a specific date, the job becomes even harder.
Never-the-less, when it comes to a challenge I’m the first to pull on my bright red whooper sized knickers, swing my Flower Shop apron round to the back to act as a cape and get on with the job!
On Wednesday, the flying dutchman arrived in his gigantic lorry, temporarily blocking the high street once again (sorry folks!) and unloaded 70 stems of the very best, dark blue hydrangeas. When possible, we buy seasonal flowers locally, but if we only bought locally we would have a very limited range, especially during the autumn and winter months, so most of our flowers come from The Netherlands. You can get flowers flown in from all over the world, but Dutch flowers are like Swiss watches and Italian shoes, if you want quality that’s where you go.
The event wasn’t until Saturday, but it was important to get the hydrangeas in early. Like olympic athletes, they need time to acclimatise! I understand this having been one myself (if only cake eating was a sport) and to be at their very best on Saturday they needed to adjust to being in Pulborough, they needed to be nurtured and given daily pep talks so they would reach their peak at exactly the right time.
After caring for them night and day, I gently pulled out the stems, one by one on Friday to make sure they were all splendid and to my UTTER DISMAY 30 of the 70 stems I had so carefully nurtured didn’t pass muster!
Petals were turning brown, leaves were yellowing, their once proud heads were flopping about, pitifully. I slumped into a heap “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” I shrieked at a poor unsuspecting customer who was just about to step through the door. Tears were starting to build up and my nose immediately began to run… as did the unfortunate customer.
I grabbed the phone and dialled the DUTCHMAN!
“Help! Help! I don’t know what to do, I need at least 30 dark blue hydrangeas NOW!!!” I screamed down the phone.
“Now, is impossible, but we could supply you with 30 more stems, first thing in the morning, if that’s OK?” came the reply.
PHEW!! I was so relieved, I began blubbering again, although I’m not sure whether I was crying with joy, or at the price I’d just been quoted.
Apparently, the price of dark blue hydrangeas had suddenly gone through the roof!!!!!!!