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Success after reporter rose to Gidea Park florist challenge

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 February 2015 | UPDATED: 07:26 16 February 2015

Reporter Ajay Nair, making a valentines bouquet at The Daisy Chain Florist, in Heath Park Romford.
Reporter Ajay Nair, with florist and business owner, Tawnie Garner, age23

Reporter Ajay Nair, making a valentines bouquet at The Daisy Chain Florist, in Heath Park Romford. Reporter Ajay Nair, with florist and business owner, Tawnie Garner, age23

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Valentine’s Day is here and loved-up couples are making their last minute preparations to make sure the special day goes down without a hitch.

Reporter Ajay Nair, making a valentines bouquet at The Daisy Chain Florist, in Heath Park Romford.
Reporter Ajay Nair,Reporter Ajay Nair, making a valentines bouquet at The Daisy Chain Florist, in Heath Park Romford. Reporter Ajay Nair,

Tawnie Garner, whose job is to make it a reality, has been busier than ever, de-thorning and beautifully arranging her imported roses for lovestruck couples across the borough.

The 23-year-old owner of Daisy Chain Florist in Heath Park Road, Gidea Park, agreed to take time out of her gruelling schedule to teach me, a novice with a less than steady hand, the art of putting together the perfect Valentine’s bouquet.

“It’s not as easy as everyone thinks,” said Tawnie, who has been arranging flowers for about seven years.

She wasn’t wrong.

Reporter Ajay Nair, making a valentines bouquet at The Daisy Chain Florist, in Heath Park Romford.
Reporter Ajay Nair, with florist and business owner, Tawnie Garner, age23Reporter Ajay Nair, making a valentines bouquet at The Daisy Chain Florist, in Heath Park Romford. Reporter Ajay Nair, with florist and business owner, Tawnie Garner, age23

Tawnie took me through the motions as she made a bouquet alongside me.

We started by bunching together branches of salal, or gaultheria shallon as it’s known, remembering to rotate my skeletal bouquet before placing each branch to create a circular frame for my Dutch roses to sit in.

Then came the twigs of eucalyptus to add to my already dishevelled “bouquet”, inserted “here and there” to add some texture to my greenery.

“It’s all about triangles,” says Tawnie, as she shows me how to add roses to my creation.

Reporter Ajay Nair, making a valentines bouquet at The Daisy Chain Florist, in Heath Park Romford.

Reporter Ajay Nair,Reporter Ajay Nair, making a valentines bouquet at The Daisy Chain Florist, in Heath Park Romford. Reporter Ajay Nair,

One rose is placed centrally, before rose “triangles” are formed around it to keep them evenly spaced out.

My roses were “too close together” according to the expert florist, so I spent some time de-leafing to make room for the little red beauties.

Finally, my bunch was complete – lopsided, yes – but beautiful in every way, if I say so myself.

Tawnie, who sold her car to start her business two years ago, spoke about the Valentine’s rush: “You have limited time to make these and it can be really hectic but you do get to meet a lot of nice people along the way and every day is different.”

Ajay’s top tips

Remember, less is more sometimes – a Valentine’s bouquet needs greenery to pad out your bunch, but beware of over-padding and drowning out your dozen.

Make sure your roses have breathing space – evenly spaced “triangles” will make for an aesthetically pleasing bouquet.

De-thorn, de-thorn, de-thorn – make sure there aren’t any thorns left on your stems. Thorns hurt, as I found out.

Hold your bouquet down low to have a look at it from the top to make sure everything’s symmetrical and presentable.

Keep your cool – it can be quite frustrating trying to move a wonky rose into position.

The florist, whose weirdest flower request was a piece in the shape of a marijuana roll-up, says it’s all about putting in hours of practice.

She said: “You definitely have to have an eye for it too and you definitely need a lot of patience as well.”

Now I’ve just got to find someone to give these flowers to. Any takers?


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