London urban flower farmer Emma Sousa and her unique and stunning floristry

It is my absolute pleasure to feature a florist quite like no other… urban flower farmer who grows her own flowers… from digging, toiling, feeding the soil, to sowing, watering, tending and finally harvesting the eco-friendly and organically grown beautiful flowers. Emma Sousa is a one of a kind florist who runs her thriving business right here in London. I had the most amazing experience in her studio making my very own wreath {the one with the peacock feather under question 4} from using a moss frame, choosing the foliage and tying them around the moss under Emma’s expert eye. It was a special time for me, truly food for the soul, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Admittedly, I was terrified at the start watching Emma demonstrate how to make a wreath in under 20 minutes! I made mine in 2.5 hours {!!!} but very pleased with the result… Here is my interview with Emma. If you are thinking of making your own wreath in such a beautiful and calming studio, or learning how to make your own floral arrangements for parties or for your very own wedding, you know who to call! It’s not too late for this Christmas either!

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1. What makes you different/ unique from other florists?

Apart from my love and passion for flowers what sets me apart from other London-based florist s is the growing side of my business. from March to October I grow sustainable flowers from my cutting patch in NW London just 5.5. miles from my studio so my clients know that their flowers are super fresh eco flowers grown just miles from their special event. that’s pretty special. If I don’t grow what my clients want then I can source them from other British growers around the UK and also on occasion use my Dutch wholesalers. To know your flowers have not had a negative impact on the environment and in fact is helping it in some small way is fantastic. I am passionate about all things eco.

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2. What would you say your main influences and inspiration are when it comes to flowers and styling?

Nature and everything around me. I love the outdoors {I should live on a farm} and my work is very natural with lots of movement; it’s slightly informal and I hope it reflects the way things grow in nature. I am not keen on tight rigid arrangements and love a slightly wilder, more free style of floristry. It’s become really popular now so at last my style of floristry is now in fashion! I love using ‘found objects’ in arrangements – so it might be a collections of lichen covered twigs that have fallen from trees, seed heads or rosehips… anything that catches my eye and just one stem of something special can transform something from lovely to wow! It’s all in the detail!

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3. Tell us about the workshops that you run.

Four years ago I built a studio at the end of my garden and that is when I started to run workshops. I run anything from hand tied bouquet class to an all day bespoke bridal workshop which will be planned according to what the bride to be wants to learn. I can tailor-make a class to suit groups of people up to a maximum of six people. Throughout the spring and summer I will be running seasonal flower workshops and then going into winter I run wreath-making classes which are always really popular.

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4. What advice do you give to couples when deciding on their wedding flowers?

Don’t leave it too late to decide on your flowers. Everything on your wedding day is important but things like your flowers really do make a lasting impression on you and your guests; it’s something people often remember. People often think it’s ok to leave the flowers until last and then find they have nothing left to spend or their favourite florist has been booked up. It doesn’t mean you have to blow the budget on them but try and choose something seasonal so that each year when you come to the time when you had that amazing day you will be reminded of your wedding because the flowers you chose are in season.

I always say there is no point in choosing a peony in September. A florist may be able to get it from the Dutch wholesalers but it will be super expensive, a poor quality and probably won’t even open up because the buds will be closed so tightly. It’s just not meant to be that time of year. Far better to take the professional advice of your florist and they can work to your theme using the best flowers available at that time. Remember there is always an alternative to your favourite flower.

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5. Do you love what you do and why?

I love what I do! There is never {honest} a day that goes by without me being grateful for what I do… I certainly don’t do it for the money {show me a rich florist!} or the lie ins. I spent nearly 15 years in retail fashion as a buyer and whilst I liked my job, I never loved it. I spent many days commuting on the train thinking “Is this it?”

Now I am my own boss, I work with incredible beauty everyday. I get to be outside lots – digging, planting, sowing… It has to be good for the soul! I also enjoy making people happy even in someone’s saddest moment. I know I can make a difference with my beautiful flowers. That’s pretty special and I am thankful everyday that I can do what I do.

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6. If you were given free rein to creating a wedding flower display and bouquets to delight your client, what would they look like?

Oh wow that’s a hard question and it will probably change tomorrow when I get a new idea., but today if you walked into my studio and told me you were getting married in an incredible old and beautiful building and please do what you like, I would go big and wild with lots of branches, willow and twigs, hundreds of flowers in old weathered urns, flowers arches, candlelight and foliage swags. Bouquets would be wild and unstructured, full of muted tones of blush and plums, greens and creams with trailing jasmine, scented garden roses and other luxurious scented flowers. It would be like walking into a magical mystery woodland wonderland.

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7. What is your dream regarding your business?

My dream for the business is to continue to build on the growing side of it, to make people think not just where their food comes from but their flowers too. We all need to do more to help our planet and it’s up to us to do as much as we can to do out bit. I would like to think that over the next few years I can go 100% British grown, fully eco { I already try to use biodegradable packaging etc} and to make even a small difference to the great British florist industry. there are many great growers hear in the UK and we are all trying tin our small way to make a difference.

8. What is your dream regarding your personal life?

To be the best I can be. I have three amazing children, lots of rescue animals and a great support network around me. I love my life and I hope that I can continue doing what I am doing for many more years and watch my children grow up to be happy, healthy, successful people. That doesn’t mean being rich or famous; it means being good, kind and most importantly contented people. I would like to slow down one day, maybe move to the country so that I can potter in my garden, keep my rescue animals. But somehow I can’t see it! I am too much of a workaholic for that!

You can find Emma via her website or link up with her via her Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter.

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Who knew floristry is my version of utter relaxation and you get something so beautiful out of it! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @lilyrsawyer, Twitter @lilysawyerphoto and Facebook for more creative and wedding features coming up!


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