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Guest Interview with Florist Ruth Colley-Bishop

Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist?

I did a degree in ecology and modern languages at Plymouth university, after my studies I returned to Wolverhampton and the ‘plan’ was to go travelling with my friend before deciding which career path to choose. Ideally, I wanted to be a park ranger or do conservation work abroad. Temporarily I took a job in a florist, but the plans of travelling did not happen as life took over and so did the love of floristry. Twenty-five years later I am still a florist in a different shop and in a different floristry world.

When did you start working as a florist, who do you work for currently and where are you based?

I started in Wolverhampton in 1998, which is where I was bench taught, now I am in Stafford and have been for twenty-one years, time flies when you are having fun!!

Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?

My inspiration comes from nature, I very much like country garden style flowers and designs, very quintessentially British. I also love doing funeral flowers, as doing the last gift for someone is very rewarding. I especially enjoy working on bespoke tributes like the one below.

What is your favourite flower/foliage?

My favourite flowers are cymbidium orchids and I love all foliage, in fact masses of foliage can look very stunning.

Do you favour a particular theme/seasonal colour? (do you have a photo please?)

I love spring flowers and colours, spring is my favourite season, I especially like polychromatic colours, i.e., purple, lime, orange and cerise.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to improve their flower arranging skills?

You have to follow the principles and elements of design in order to produce a harmonious and pleasing design, follow these and you can’t go wrong. So, you need to incorporate:

· Form

· Line

· Colour

· Texture

· Shape

· Balance

· Proportion

· Scale

· Rhythm

· Dominance

· Contrast

· Harmony

Keep practising!


1. Choose different shaped flowers. Choose a colour theme, consult the colour wheel.

2. Always trim the stems at an angle of 45-degrees to allow stems to absorb more water. If you receive an arrangement with floral foam, make sure you water it daily.

3. Begin with greenery or foliage. Make sure no leaves will fall below the waterline to prevent early decomposition.

4. Start with the focal flowers – bigger blooms to smaller ones.

5. Fill your vase with water and place the flower food according to the packaging instructions.

6. Change the water every three days to maintain the best look of your flowers.

7. Never put daffodils in with other flowers as they will kill them.

8. Always take lily stamens off before they start to crumble as they will stain.

9. Always put roses in boiling water to eradicate air pockets, this will prevent the heads from bending.


With grateful thanks to Ruth Colley-Bishop

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