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Canterbury Florists

The Shop Year

The Essentially Hops shop sits at the centre of our business. This gives you an idea of what we get up to throughout the year

January - Hop plant sales continue along with cheerful home decoration to compensate for the gloomy winter months and emptiness after the end of Christmas. For us it’s a time to review Christmas and decide/place orders for next Christmas’ stock (yes would you believe it, I’m already thinking about next Christmas by the end of each January every year?!). January is also a time for planning the coming year, from product ranges to events and demonstrations.

February - Valentine’s Day. Roses and a time for loving and giving!! If we are going to get snow, this is the month is arrives. The yard looks lovely blanketed in the white stuff and it gives us a moment to enjoy the peace and tranquility of where we work. Doesn't last for long though, as the sun begins to shine, we see plenty of newly engaged couples planning weddings and people are busy planting hop plants.

March - Mothering Sunday & Easter preparations. All of a sudden, winter seems to be behind us and the shop is stocked full of Easter gifts, flowers and spring ideas. We have in the past, offered a Children’s Flower Arranging Class so children can make their own lasting dried flower gift for Mothering Sunday! A popular event that we plan to run every year, do sign up to our newsletter for up to date information on our courses and events. Not only that but these early months in the shop’s calendar are full of wedding consultation appointments, new brides-to-be thinking about their floral decoration for their weddings in the next twelve months. It is always exciting seeing brides planning their perfect wedding days, it always makes us feel good! Hop plant sales continue and if the weather is good, we start work on the fresh flower cutting garden, keeping on top of the weeds and planting new stock.

April - We’re dreaming of summer as the growing season is upon us! During April we’re coming to the end of our hop plant sales, but these are soon overtaken by the arrival of our gorgeous lavender plants that soon start whizzing out the door. The customers see our mature plants around the shop and farm, and are prompted into replanting gardens. The florists are busy reviewing our online designs, creating new ones and planning for the busy months ahead. Our wedding season is now in full swing. Of course, the weeds in the cutting garden are a priority to get rid of as they soon overtake the growth of the flowers, along with keeping the grass mown and the area looking pretty!

May/June - A quieter time for the shop, the weather is warm and the yard is humming with visitors and browsers looking for inspiration before coming back to see us later in the year. People are happiest outside enjoying the warmer weather and our rural shopping yard is perfect for a cup of coffee and to watch the world pass by. We are inundated with enquiries for casual summer work and we begin to gear up for promoting British flowers in the shop. The cutting garden needs constant attention and the hanging baskets appear, adding a dash of colour to the yard. Our fresh hop orders start flooding in for August delivery.

July - This is a month we encourage our mail order customers to preorder their fresh hops and hop plants. Visitors to the shop are keen to know when to come back for hop picking and we have plenty of new people visiting the area and coming to enjoy our Pick Your Own Sunflowers - which is a lovely therapeutic change from PYO soft fruit, and fun for the whole family!! Our fields are full of blooms, and the shop has plenty of our own home grown flowers for sale

August - Hop picking starts at the end of the month. All hands on deck preparing for a busy hop harvest. Fresh hops are picked and sold at the shop every day from about 24th August and we’re all full steam ahead, trying to pack as much as we can into each day. The fresh hops are only available for about 3 weeks, so the florists are busy creating hop arrangements while they can Taking orders, making arrangements, hanging hops for local pubs and homes, selling hops at the shop and dispatching fresh hops all over the country. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. But my, we do all sleep well at the end of the day!

September - Hop picking finishes mid september and we can all breath normally again!! Once the hop harvest is over, the freshly dried garland are available for sale. The cutting garden has the last of our flowers to cut, the Chinese lantern and hydrangea, then when that’s everything gathered in for the year. No rest for the wicked though, Halloween and Christmas stock starts to arrive and we must get ready for the festive period.

October - Christmas arrives early as our shop is transformed into a winter wonderland of goodies, from tree decorations and Christmas dried arrangements to garlands and wreaths to adorn your homes. The last of the Christmas stock arrives and it is all hands to the pump trying to fit everything in the shop. We also start planning the Xmas Flower Arranging Demonstrations and workshops; what will be this year’s Christmas colours, designs and trends.

November - Our Xmas Demonstration days are in a large marquee at the back of our shop during November. Visiting demonstrators bring new ideas and inspiration to everyone. This is a well supported, ticketed event which, last year supported a charity close to our hearts, the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Following these sessions of inspiration, we then run smaller, hand on Workshops where each participant takes home their creation. We love Christmas at the shop. The buzz of happy customers cheers everyone up. It is work hard, play hard time!

December - The outside of the shop is packed full of Christmas trees, locally grown and fresh from the field. English mistletoe arrives, and we pick mountains of fresh evergreen foliage and holly. The yard is lit with hundreds of lights, our big central Christmas tree stands proud in the yard and the shop is a festive grotto full of decorative and gift ideas. Our florists are busy making up orders, serving customers and creating new design ideas. All our customers come in and exclaim at the wonderful natural scents of the season - hops, pine, cinnamon, orange to name a few. We take delivery of our winter selection of hop plant varieties, usually over 20 different types. We start the month inspiring customers to create their own Christmas decorations and end the month making orders up for collection Christmas week. By 15th, December we have sold out of most of our trees and the people run around trying to get those important last few bits and pieces to make their Christmas special. Charity events, Christmas Fairs, Carols and nativities are all packed into this month. We hold an open air carol singing in mid December, to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. By Christmas Eve, we are all exhausted and looking forward to the only week in the calendar year when essentiallyhops closes its doors for a well earned rest until the New Year

We would love to see you in person so drop into our shop at anytime. But if you can’t get to us in person then remember you can buy on-line throughout the year by visiting our extensive on-line store here. Why not drop by for a browse and some inspiration?