Bloomsbury Flowers | From ballet to bouquets…
Bloomsbury Flowers was opened in 1994 by former Royal Ballet dancers, Stephen Wicks and Mark Welford, and quickly became synonymous with beautiful flowers, arranged beautifully.
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From ballet to bouquets…

From ballet to bouquets…

It’s around this time of year that we look back on how far we’ve come, despite the frenetic workload; we recently celebrated 23 years of Bloomsbury Flowers which opened Dec 2nd, 1994 having retired that summer from a combined time of over 30 years with the Royal Ballet companies.  

Opening 3 weeks before Christmas was a real baptism of fire in so many ways!  We’d left the warmth of the ballet studio for an unheated and decidedly cold shop.  Our working day shifted dramatically from 10.30am class to 6.00am at the Flower Market.  And although we were still reasonably fit from dancing, being on our feet all day was extremely tiring.  Still, we are here to tell the tale and have met so many wonderful and inspirational people on our floral journey and we consider ourselves very lucky to have had two successful careers.

When we opened our shop, apart from actually selling flowers, we didn’t aim for one particular sector of the market but rather took on anything that came our way.  Of course, these were the days before social media and websites had never been heard of!  And what was email…?!  We did the obvious marketing tactics such as offering free samples to local businesses in the area and slowly things began to grow – no pun intended!  

Obviously, we had a strong connection with the Royal Opera House and it wasn’t long before the ballet fans found us and started to use Bloomsbury Flowers as their go-to florist for the bouquets they sent to their favourite ballerinas.  A small claim to fame we have is changing how these bouquets were made…

Originally, presentation bouquets were made in the old-fashioned, slightly dated way in what was known in the trade as the ‘boil in the bag’ bouquet.  This was because the flowers were made up as a flat back bouquet and then covered in cellophane from top to bottom which often meant that the inside of the cello became steamed up!  Hence the colloquial name…!  Apart from the damp, the other downside was that when the bouquet was presented to the dancer, the stage lights reflected on the cellophane making it impossible for the audience to see the flowers.

This is where we stepped in with the hand-tied bouquet.  We had learnt this technique with Jane Packer and it translated perfectly into making the beautiful presentation bouquets that we send so many of to the dancers at the Royal Opera House and many other theatres throughout London too.  This style of bouquet meant that the flowers could be seen by the audience and also made it easier for the ballerina to take out a single flower from the bouquet to present to her partner.  A tradition started by Dame Margot Fonteyn…

With the first performances of the Royal Ballet’s beautiful production of The Nutcracker starting this week, I’m sure we’ll be kept busy with lots more bouquets for the ballet… 

If you follow this link, you will see a short film giving you more insight into the work we do with the Royal Opera House.

Darcey's curtain call