"It's not every Flower Shop that has a Butler"

This is what I overhear a customer saying as I call in to Arcade Flowers in Ringwood. Obviously this is a very superior sort of florist!
As it turns out the customers seem to love 'Butler' who greets the opening door with wagging tale and lolloping welcome.
All but the postman, that is, who is convinced Butler 'was trying to bite my bottom'.
Surely not. But just maybe Butler thought he had some biscuits in his pocket!
As it is I get the biscuits, the tea and a very warm welcome from owner Emma, her assistant Jenny (and Butler). They tell me there are three flower shops in Ringwood and it seems they work well together, borrowing bits and pieces from each other when stock runs short. Other shop owners are helpful too, and as I am chatting, a lady appears with a trolley load of plants that Emma left on the footpath by mistake when she closed up the previous evening.
To use or not to use fake flowers? That is the question. When they are as beautiful as this it is hard to resist them, especially if you mix them with the real thing.
Emma tries to stock as much local produce as she can. She has psychedelic boxes by Chococo, The Purbeck Chocolate Company, with tempting offerings such as, fizzy pudding chocolates.
She is also displaying some new toiletries by Amanda Connock whom she met as a local bride-to-be. Amanda was inspired by her late father, who travelled the world in search of exotic ingredients for perfumes. As a little girl she would use old samples to blend her own fragrances and 'sell' them to her Mum and Dad. Now she uses Kukui oil from Hawaii to create heavenly fragranced oils and balms.
When I am out visiting I often find flowers I haven't seen before, this is all part of the pleasure of Flower Shop Hunting. This gerbera is a dusky blend of pink and coffee. Emma, Jenny and I are not sure what it is called - it is similar to a gerbera called Grizzly (great name) but it has a lighter centre.
Emma is lucky enough to have a large shaded window for her shop. She is putting this to good use on Mothers' Day and is planning a 'Living Window', with mums sitting there having coffee and cakes. (I hope Butler approves - this was his favourite spot as a puppy). Emma wants to raise money for charity and I suggest Hope and Homes for Children. I fundraise for this fantastic charity. They are small and not particularly well known, but they are recognised experts at closing hideous State Institutions in places such as Romania and they ensure children grow up in loving families - a great cause to help on Mothers' Day.
Before I leave we also decide I should come back and do some talks and workshops with Emma. As I close the door, with its mini jam jar of ranunculus hung on the handle, I know I shall enjoy coming back.


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