Like many a creative soul, Lisa Furnell’s journey to self-employed artisan and wedding florist was less than direct. An art degree at university completed, she ended up a business analyst and project manager at Sotheby’s auction house. During that time she retained a creative outlet through printmaking and letterpress, until a friend suggested they take a night school course together in flower arranging.

Interestingly, it was her boss at Sotheby’s who provided Lisa with the flexibility to take the course and then with her first commercial client. As word got round in the office and business began to bloom, the opportunity for voluntary redundancy also arose. With the planets aligning thus, Lisa took the plunge and Cabbage White Flowers (named after a breed of British butterfly) was born, inspired in part by a quote from Hans Christian Anderson: “Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” She runs the business from her home in Redhill.

So what makes a good wedding bouquet? Well, it is perhaps more style and fashion led than you might think – “last year colours were nude, this year they’re metallic” – with not everyone opting for white roses. Right now, naturally wild arrangements are quite the thing, with country flowers in jam jars a big hit – “People are going back to how flowers grow, rather than how they’re bred.”

What’s next? “People are hanging on to the jam jar idea”, says Lisa, “but in the USA and New Zealand there’s a trend for huge loose bouquets with long hand-dried silk ribbons.” With sites like Pinterest and Instagram swiftly turning these local trends into global ones, you could well see those here sooner than you think.

Cabbage White Flowers
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