Several years ago I worked in Marylebone, London and used to pass the beautiful window of Jane Packer’s flower shop. As a former country bumpkin whose idea of a florist’s shop was a fusty window with some knackered looking dried flowers and a couple of half inflated balloons, looking at Jane Packer’s shop was like being hit between the eyes with a shaft of dazzling brilliance. Her flowers were like nothing I had ever seen before. Crisp, beautiful and of the highest quality.
I used to make a detour to simply look at whatever was on display this week and dream about ever having one percent of that artistic ability.
And then one day I found out she had a flower school. I signed up for a 3 day course. I booked myself 3 days holiday and commuted back into London on my days off just to spend time in her shop and learn something about arranging flowers. I loved it. The course was taught by one of Jane’s assistants but we did meet her very briefly. Every evening, I staggered out of the shop laden down with something beautiful and navigated the underground and the train home whilst desperately trying to keep my creation in one piece. The next morning I would come back into London excited to see what we would make that day.
Doing that very short course made me make one of the few resolutions I have ever managed to keep – that every year I would learn something new. If I hadn’t enjoyed that first course at the flower shop so much, I doubt I would ever have kept that resolution. But I did, and I have.
Jane Packer passed away on 9th November 2011, aged just 52. She didn’t know me, and would never have remembered our 20 second meeting, but she and her flower shop had a massive impact on my life.
Thank you Jane.