Flowers Fit For A Queen

In February of 2017 we were invited by the Priory Catering Academy of Dunstable to provide a quote for table centrepieces for a rehearsal for a VIP event. Having created a selection of beautiful arrangements we were pleased to win the contract to supply the flowers for the actual event.

Fast forward to April, with the event near at hand we were asked to provide additional flowers, in this case a tied, hand held posy in red, white and blue. Then, much to our excitement it was revealed the VIP would in fact be HRH The Queen, we would indeed be creating flowers for Her Majesty!

Kate then set about creating this quite beautiful tied posy of anemones, ranunculus, lily of the valley, spray rose, hyacinth and forget-me-not with rosemary sprigs and salal tips.

Many excited residents travelled down to Priory View in Dunstable to see HRH the Queen and we were fortunate enough to receive this picture of HRH the Queen holding our posy. A true thrill and honour.

Queen Dunstable Flowers

Here’s some footage of HRH the Queen holding our flowers.

Dunstable Knowledge Quick Quiz

 

Dunstable Knowledge

Welcome to our quick Dunstable Knowledge Quiz. Test your knowledge of Dunstable and its history with 10 multiple choice questions. Let us know how you get on and if you enjoy the quiz why not share it with your friends. Advance to the next question by clicking on the blue arrow, have fun!
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Trash or Treasure?

ebay

Well, they claim you can sell anything on Ebay.  We were slightly amused when we came across this listing.  It features a message card that was sent with some flowers that came from one of our old shops, Chiltern Florists, that opened in Middle Row, Dunstable in 1959.

Here’s a copy of an advert that was placed in the Dunstable Gazette, announcing the opening of the shop at 34 Middle Row.

chilternflorists

The Lonely Bouquet

lonely bouquetSunday 30th June 2013 marked International Lonely Bouquet Day.  Conceived by Emily at Fleuropean the movement is dedicated to spreading warmth and happiness through the anonymous gifting of flowers.  You can view the Lonely Bouquet Facebook Page here.

The idea is to create a small bouquet of flowers and leave it somewhere for someone to find.  On the flowers a small tag typically reads, ‘I’m a lonely bouquet, looking for a home.  Perhaps I could live with you or a loved one.’

Over the weekend we left two lonely bouquets in the Dunstable area.  We left the first bouquet on a bench outside Chews House in High Street South.  We were thrilled to later that day receive word from Karen Harvey via our Facebook Page that she’d found the flowers and given them to a special lady who she cares for:-

Walking the dog and sitting on the bench was this lonely bouquet of flowers with a sign saying adopt me.  Well I knew a home they could go to so gave them to a special lady I care for.  What a lovely idea, certainly cheered up my day thanks very much Cottage Garden Flower Shop xxx

We left a second arrangement of flowers on the Woodside Estate and were also fortunate to hear later that day from Caroline Goodwin:-

I  picked up your lonely bouquet today! It was beautiful so thank you! Felt quite strange just picking it up and taking it home but I felt lucky all the same.

Thank you !

lonely bouquetWe’ve really enjoyed being involved in this special event and are looking forward to taking part again in the future.

Karen also took some lovely pictures of the flowers with her dog, you can view the album on Karen’s Page.

Tall Tales Of Dunstable Life

agheadeyshootingwithnames

Alfred George Headey who originally established the Cottage Garden Flower Shop and Nurseries was very much a larger than life character about whom many tales were told by his contemporaries.

One concerned a drinking bout in the Red Lion (top of Church street, now demolished) with the landlord, Johnny Crute, and Alfred, who fell to arguing as to their physical fitness and strength. It was thus agreed that he who could carry a sack of coal from the Red Lion to the Rifle Volunteer (foot of the Downs, now demolished) and give it to the landlord Bill Dennett in the shortest time should be acknowledged “The Man”!

redlion
Courtyard Of The Red Lion

There was great anticipation among the pub population as the race drew near and bets were laid, silver changing hands and even it was rumoured a ten shilling note!  Ten o’clock on the morning the two competitors and a dozen or so supporters set ot with half 100cwt bags of coal supplied by Dobin Holt the local bookmaker.  Suitably primed with mild and bitter they crossed the road to the Nags Head where they had another drink, weary after over 50 yards of travel, and collected a few supporters, the next door, round the corner to the Plume of Feathers where the performance was repeated.

The party then headed up West St, crossed the road to the Victoria, again a little refreshment during which some dastard person slipped a few big lumps into Alfred’s bag, but he was not that far gone, and made his own arrangements for the next stop which was the Pheasant next to the Primrose Laundry at the top of Chiltern Road.

By now it was half past twelve and the whole company, now said to number over thirty, was fed with bread and cheese by the landlady, and during the frivolity two or three large bricks found their way into Johnny Crute’s bag. It was mid afternoon before the whole caravan hit the road again, nothing before the bottom of the Downs apart from hedges and ditches, into one of which Tammy Barber, who was indeed the local barber, fell and had to be rescued.

Dunstable Rifle Volunteer
The Rifle Volunteer

There were other unruly incidents along the way sorted out by the local bobby, who I think was called Denton, who had been fetched to control the crowd, but in fact joined the revelry. Bill Dennett opened the Rifleman early to avoid a riot, and the serious drinking began, until that is, Crute discovered the bricks and challenged Alfred to a fight. The fight never took place, and nobody ever knew who won the race!!

Featured in the above photograph but not necessarily the aforementioned revelry.

Alfred George Headey of ‘Westleigh’ West Street, nurseryman and florist.

Edgar Franklin of Church Street, local carpenter, builder and undertaker and bellringer at the Priory Church.

Dobin Holt also of Church Street, councillor, game dealer and book maker.

Hugh Woods, straw hat manufacturer.

Walter Summerfield of High Street South.

Billy Gibbard, corn merchant in High Steet North.

Frankie Anderson, gents outfitter.

 

New Website Launch

Welcome to our new website, we’ve been developing it over the past few weeks and we’re ready to go!  We hope our customers will find everything they are looking for here, we’ve tried to make the site as easy to use and navigate as possible.

Although this is a brand new website we’ve actually been on-line now for 18 years.  We thought for our first blog entry it might be interesting to look back at our on-line history.

The earliest remaining version of our website from the year 2000, already 4 years old. Taken from archive.org.

Initially back in 1995 we launched our first site on some free webspace provided by our ISP.  Back in those seemingly more innocent days customers would actually place their orders via e-mail, sending all their payment details to us openly and unencrpyted!

For a while we could be found at www.cgfs.co.uk, then in 2001 we moved to the more eye friendly and memorable www.netflora.co.uk.  We were one of the founder members of the Which Webtrader Scheme, an early kitemark for on-line businesses.  A few years later, as members of Interflora we were offered a website as part of our membership.

By this time our Netflora site had morphed into a website that was competing with the national players rather than your typical local florist’s website.  It’s hard to believe now, but those were the days when many businesses were still to be convinced that they needed a website.

Netflora in 2002

We therefore launched our Interflora site at www.net-flora.com with the intention of it being more of a destination for our local customers.  However as the years have passed its lack of available customisation and development has become a hindrance.

After much research we decided to launch a new ‘local’ site for our customers in Dunstable and the surrounding areas.  Having blogged with WordPress for some time we felt its familiarity and increasingly mature on-line commerce options would make it an ideal platform for our new site.

We looked at a number of e-commerce plugins and in the end opted for Woocommerce coupled with the Icarostore theme from Themeforest.  Payment for now will be handled by PayPal.

Although customers will have to leave our site to complete payment on the PayPal servers we feel this will be a considerably more secure method for all concerned.

netflora2006
Netflora in 2006

With a number of plug-ins we have been able to customise the site to our needs and we hope we’ve designed a responsive, easy to navigate site with a simple, fuss free ordering process.

Customers will also be able to set up accounts to keep track of their previous orders and we hope to provide personal areas for our existing account customers in due course.

If there is anything else you would like to see included, please leave a comment below.