Hello. I am Clare Kenward Flowers - a floristry business in the historic city of Cambridge.
I have loved flowers from a young age - toddling around after my grandad while he tended the rose beds in his garden; learning the names of wildflowers on walks with my parents; planting my own garden's borders. Sewing, sticking, decorating, cooking - throughout my life I'm at my happiest making things. I've worked in Corporate Communications in the City of London, been a PA to a high-flyer in Cambridge and worked for a small family-run retail consultancy. Throughout these changes, I was always passionate about flowers and a nagging need to do something more creative with my life led me to set up Clare Kenward Flowers in 2015.
My floristry skills have been honed at the Jane Packer Flower School in London and The Cambridge Flower School, with additional masterclasses by renowned florists Joseph Massie at the UK School of Floristry in Liverpool, Claire Cowling at Thrive in Norfolk, Shane Connolly in London, Flowers by Bornay in Barcelona, a technical course in colour and scaling with Russian florists, Floral Style and most recently, a large scale installation workshop with McQueens in London.
Away from flowers, I take a couple of ballet classes a week and I spend time volunteering for the Cambridge Beer Festival - yes, I'm a bit of a beer geek.
I have an eye for detail and an inherent ability to organise. I'm also pretty good with a spreadsheet which, surprisingly, turns out to be a key skill for a florist.
My eco footprint
I avoid using synthetic floral foam wherever possible. It's nasty stuff to make and use and generates micro plastic as soon as you look at it. If I do have to use it - because the type of design the customer wants isn't feasible without it - I use a brand that at least claims to be 100% biodegradable when shredded. However, many designs just need a bit of alternative thinking to devise a way to get the look the customer wants without using foam. With a few exceptions, my funeral work is entirely foam free.
My bouquet packaging for delivery is all recyclable. I use cardboard boxes, tissue paper, compostable bags and specially designed absorbent wraps to keep your flowers in tip top condition until you can get them into water. These Eco-Wraps are 100% plant composition, compostable, biodegradable, reusable and recyclable. The ribbon will always be fabric or raffia - so you can use it again when wrapping something yourself.
Looking after your flowers
Flower food helps neutralise the ph of the water, provides nutrients for the blooms to help them open and keeps the bacteria at bay. The actual sachets of flower food I use are compostable too but do check your council's advice to see if it can go in your green bin.
To keep your flowers for as long as possible start with a clean vase. Add water and the flower food provided. Keep the flowers cool, out of direct heat and draughts and change the water every few days - especially if it's going murky. If you haven't got any flower food as you've changed the water, a tiny drop of household bleach in the water will keep the water clear.