Floristry can be taught, learned and cultivated, say Anna Marie and Daniel Bastide from “Flors del Paradis”

The florists are creators with artistic talent and knowledge of the language of flowers and their combinations. The result of a floral designer’s work depends on the event or the idea to be expressed in the composition. Anna Marie and Daniel Bastide shared their knowledge with us about the language of flowers, floral fashion, and floral symbolism.

Interview: Irina Rybalchenko 

Photos : Manel Montoro

Please tell us about your flower shop – how long has it been around?

This is the 42nd year. It was the project of a French couple who came to live in Andorra. We always wanted to work together. So it’s the story of our lives, and we could say it’s our fourth child.

Can you learn to be a florist?

Part of my family still works in the flower business in Paris as florists and as very important flower wholesalers at Rungis (the biggest wholesale market in Europe). But this experience has grown since we moved to Andorra. We’ve done very practical workshops with some of the great masters: Klaus Wagner, Per Benjamin, Gregor Lersch… We attend all the trade fairs in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy.

Floristry can be taught, learned and cultivated!

You are French. Have you noticed the difference between French and Andorran preferences?

Preferences are very different, but that’s a real challenge. 40 years ago, we sold peonies to very few clients. Now they’re in demand all year round!

At the time, it was fashionable in France, England, or Germany to compose bouquets in gradations of colour. However, here in Andorra, red is mixed with all types of colours.

I’m a bit sad when men only give red roses and even more sad when women only accept red roses as the flowers of love.

It would be so kind and loving to take the time to come to the store and compose a pretty bouquet instead of ordering a dozen roses as if they were a dozen eggs!

Continuing the theme of the language of flowers, it would be interesting to know the symbolism of the colours…

It depends on the country. What is good in Spain does not translate in France. For example, in Spain, white is synonymous with mourning, whereas for us French, it’s synonymous with purity. There are many superstitions associated with yellow colour. For example, it’s believed to symbolise infidelity – but I don’t think so!

It’s said that flowers are more for women. Is this a stereotype? Do women in Andorra buy flowers for men?

The further north you go, the more often you buy bouquets of flowers. I think it’s a question of climate! But there are also plants that transcend gender stereotypes. That’s an important part of our business. Here, we meet more men who care about decorating their homes. Just look at some of the balconies – what a pleasure!

Decorating a wedding is a special challenge. How do you understand the wishes of the brides?

The “mermaid” or “princess” style of wedding dress has been used for years. For the moment, social networks are responsible for a certain standardisation. Ultimately, you have to trust the florists and wedding planners who work together to create a totally different atmosphere.

What are the main modern trends in design and floristry?

Less flowers sometimes, but more work in the presentation. For example, we’ll use umbrellas to ‘furnish’ the sky at a banquet. We also utilize all sorts of containers to enhance our floral displays without breaking the budget.

It’s all about working with the bride and groom, the stylists, the venue, the colours… within the time constraints.

Let’s talk about the art of composing a bouquet. What is the link between the form of a bouquet, its colour and its perfume?

We have a technique for making bouquets. It’s all about organising the air around the flowers. A bouquet should be arranged so that you don’t have to think about where to put it. We often make round bouquets that will always find their place in any home – and we never make “escalado” bouquets.

Which flowers do you personally prefer for interior and exterior decoration?

I don’t have a personal preference. But what I really like are seasonal flowers.

Is it possible to compare a bouquet to a gastronomic dish, which is also a blend of tastes and smells?

It’s the same feeling, the same job. If you have a good dish, you eat it first with your eyes. A bouquet is also something you evaluate with your eyes – its colour, its shape, its style – the saying that a florist can be a good chef and vice versa is not surprising.

Is there a trend for flowers? What flowers will be in fashion this autumn?

This autumn will see a return to warm colours – such as deep oranges, warm browns and golden yellows. Frankly, the season changes dominate our work.

Do you have any suggestions on how to prevent the flowers from fading any longer?

When I sell flowers, I add a bactericide sachet. You can also use aspirin or sugar, but it has to be a real lemonade sugar and not a synthetic one. You can re-cut the stems to make them stay fresh longer as well.

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