carmen rose

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Joe Massey's Valentines day rose dress

You can’t actually buy this fabulous creation at the supermarket, but it was made using Asda’s flowers from their Valentine’s Day range.  Any regular readers of my blog will probably remember I’ve discussed florist flowers versus supermarket offerings before. My general feeling is that you are always better off going to an expert and buying flowers from a florist shop.  But I do admit Joe Massie has made these flowers look fantastic.  Joe is the RHS Chelsea Young Florist of the Year, an accolade he has held for the past three years, an amazing achievement for someone only 23 years old.

Joe and his team of florists painstakingly attached petals and flower heads to the design; it took 170 hours to perfect the dress and weighed nearly two stone when complete. The gown contained 1000 Red Naomi roses, a large headed variety packed with velvety petals.  15 beautiful Carmen roses were dotted throughout the hip and skirt part of the design.  Carmen roses are made by deconstructing several roses and then assembling petals around a rose head to form a very large rose.  The bottom part of the dress and hem contained 150 Purple Power roses, 300 carnations and 75 gerbera.  As well as 200 red chrysanthemums adorned with gold leaf.

Carmen rose

Joe’s creation has caused a bit of a controversy in the florist world.  Undoubtedly the dress is fantastic and highlights the creativity and skill involved in floristry.  He said “I’m so proud of what we have achieved with Asda’s stunning flower range. I hope it inspires people to treat their loved ones with an extra special bunch of flowers this Valentine’s Day.”  But by saying this is he is endorsing Asda’s flowers to the public.  Supermarkets are the bane of a florist’s life, often selling flowers for less than florists can buy them for.  So working with Asda in this way and promoting their flowers is almost blasphemous to some florists.

Currently lots of small retailers are struggling and florists are no different.  Valentine’s Day is one of the periods florists rely on to help balance out quiet periods such as October and November.  It can also be a risky business for florists, as stock can cost up to 50% more than usual.  Florists have to order their roses well before customers order them and many don’t order at all, preferring to buy on the day.

From a florist’s point of view I am undecided.  I feel for Joe, he’s a talented young florist, who was offered an amazing opportunity and created a magnificent design.  But working with a supermarket, it goes against the grain.  Who knows what they would do in the same situation.  What would you do?

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