March. The sound of dripping, songs of skylarks, and the smell of melting snow can be felt in this word. Also, March means the first spring flowers: snowdrops, crocuses, bluebells, and primroses. Maybe that is why the beginning of spring feels so festive because flowers are colorful signs of something good. Birthdays, achievements in studies or work, dates, and, of course, holidays are the most common occasions to give flowers. At the beginning of spring, we decided to talk to Julia, PM/BA, and Oksana, System Analyst, in whose life after moving to Warsaw appeared a new hobby – floristics.
– Hi, colleagues;) Thank you for agreeing to chat and answer the questions about your beautiful hobby. Tell us, how did you come up with the idea of doing floristics?
Julia: Hi;) I have always loved flowers. It all started from my grandmother’s balcony and seedbeds in the village. When I was a schooler, I dug a flowerbed under the window of a five-story building and planted it. My parents did not expect such a strange zeal, but they liked the “blooming result” under our first-floor window;)
About 10 years ago, I tried to take floristics courses. But I was young and inexperienced in the choice of courses. As a result, instead of studying, in my opinion, a beautiful and interesting craft, I got an expensive gathering with “young housewives”. Since at that time I had a sense of ambition coming out, I thought I couldn’t waste my precious time there and dropped out.
Oksana: Hi, I love flowers very much, it is my inspiration. I loved to plant them outside the house in flowerbeds, tried to grow indoor flowers. There was always some kind of cycle of flowers in my life. I was always interested to plant, to see the result, to realize the miracle, when a flower first comes out of the ground, then sprouts a leaf and blooms. I often tried to grow something exotic like avocado or persimmon (and persimmon sprouted and even had 4 petals, but then something went wrong).
Also, it is always important to have a flower bouquet at home: it lifts your spirits and pleases the eye. Therefore, the courses are an opportunity not just to order bouquets, but to create them yourself;).
I looked for courses before but did not have time to join the classes.
– You have signed up for courses. Can you tell us why you enrolled in szkoła policealna (a public institution for special education for adults in Poland, sort of a technical school) and how it is structured?
Julia: First of all, the enrollment in policealna schoolin Warsaw happened because I wanted to cover all possible ways of legalization and improve the level of the language. I had a bad experience moving to Europe before, so the issue of legalization was the highest priority.
For me, the advantages of attending a policealna school were as follows:
language learning (all teachers are native speakers, 3-7 hours of classes, presentations, tests, and oral exams – all in Polish);
it is free (at the floristics course I pay 400 zlotys a year, just for flowers);
the course certificate – the equivalent of the Polish language test at B1 level, which must be taken when applying for citizenship (by the way, it can be taken only by appointment twice a year and costs about $200)
one-year duration of the course (almost all others – 2 years)
and the best part – a fresh bouquet that appears at home every week;)
There are weekday and weekend classes. I have classes 4 times a week from Monday to Thursday: 2 days for theory and 2 days for practice.
In the theoretical part, as in any university, there are many general education disciplines. For example, there is a subject – the history of flowers from different eras, with an oral exam. You need to know how bouquets differed in different centuries, the famous florists, and even the “flower revolutions” of different eras. For example, the “Tulip Fever”. Did you know that there was a time in Holland in the 17th century when people sold their houses to buy tulip bulbs and become millionaires?;)
Also, it is cramming included in the program, for 300+ names of flowers and greens in Latin and Polish – uh, I have not even learned half of them yet;) To be honest, in Latin they sound like Harry Potter spells: you wave a magic wand, say Leucadendron Convallaria – and get a beautiful bouquet of lily-of-the-valley;)
Well, also there are two sessions with exams. In January I took the first one: 2 written and 4 oral exams.
Oksana: I have heard about the policealna school in Poland, but did not know what fields of study there are. At the first meeting with my colleagues in Warsaw, I learned a lot of interesting things: how useful the school is for legalization, and what are the advantages of floristics. For me, all the stars had aligned. It was just a matter of choosing a school.
Now I have classes on the first and third weekends of the month, from 8-9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The schedule is announced a couple of days before the class.
The lectures take place together for all the groups, which is somewhere around 240 people. At first it seemed like trash;) Waiting for everyone to gather, there are not enough seats, people sit on the floor and parapets. Someone is eating chips behind your back;) Some lecturers don’t let you take pics of information on board, you can only take notes. They mark those present and absent in the journal, it takes half of a class. Some lecturers are unpunctual, and late for 10-15 minutes. But they let you go earlier;)
Practice is in groups of 30 people. For those who missed the previous classes, finding the guys from your group and figuring out your homework is a real quest. I enjoy all classes, although this is just general information yet. In one lecture we studied the classification of flower shapes and compositions. On the second – the tools of a florist, and on the third – the flower shop preparing and decorating.
For me, courses are about communication and getting to know people, and also, as it turned out, a place to meet people I’ve known from college;)
At the next class I’ll already make bouquets if the flowers will be delivered to school;)
– Did you have any knowledge of flowers before your courses start?
Julia: No. And I cannot say that I have a lot of knowledge now;) It took me a couple of months just to understand the process and learn basic vocabulary in Polish.
Oksana: No, at least not systematic ones. Just those that appeared in the process of caring for plants at home and in flowerbeds.
– What was interesting about practical classes? Tell us about one of the bouquets or compositions.
Oksana: In the first practical class, we had a task to come up with a showcase for a flower shop and design the project on an A4 sheet. I chose an Easter theme and had to describe what flowers and holiday symbols I would use to decorate it, draw it, and add a legend and a color index.
Julia: The most interesting thing for me so far was Christmas floristics. I remember the wreaths that hung at home for almost 2 months and smelled like a Christmas tree. A good substitute for a festive tree, if there are some curious pets at home;)
– A trivial question, but still interesting: what are your favorite flowers? Have your preferences changed since you started to dig deep into the sphere of floristics?)
Julia: I have never liked or understood bouquets of 99 red roses. I love wildflowers and exotic ones, it was so even before the course. The only thing that has changed a little: I began to notice how many incredibly beautiful flowers and plants are around us. Go out to the nearest forest, park, or field one day – and just stop. Look around until you see every leaf and twig – there is so much incredibly beautiful, honestly!
Oksana: Lavender, cornflower, orchid. In general, I like all kinds of flowers very much, interested in their colors and combinations. I always take a bouquet of different flowers or twigs with me when I come back from the country house or woods.
– For most girls, flowers are a holiday and an opportunity to show off on Instagram;) How do you feel about such a gift: from your husband, colleagues, or friends?
Julia: Somehow I dragged my husband to the course with me;) He, however, very rarely appears there, but treats flowers, as well as I do, with love. For me, a bouquet is not a reason to brag, but for sure flowers should be given to girls. And to grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and everyone, including men as well.
While choosing flowers, think about the person: who he is, what temperament and character he has, what he likes, what mood and message you want to convey, and for what occasion. Try to find flowers just for him, that will emphasize everything you want to say. Now there are a huge number of incredible flowers and greens, don’t limit your choice to roses only;)
Oksana: I love flowers, they are very pleasant both to receive and to give. I agree with Julia: it is nice when people not just give you a bunch of roses, but think about you and choose something that suits you exactly. Although someone can just like roses, for sure;)
I like when people give me potted flowers. For example, regular roses, but in a pot. The indoor ones live longer and bloom every season, or even more often. And the color of the buds changes depending on the phase of flowering like it is a new flower every time. And then you can plant it in the ground near your house, and the plant will continue to bring you joy;) My friends know about my preferences and bring me interesting plants, and when there appear to be too many of them, I distribute them to everyone in the area;) I also have many orchids, they bloom all year round: one finishes, the second starts, the third, the fourth… – and so each in a circle.
I try to give flowers that suit the person and reflect his nature. I like to give them to my friends, it is very nice.
– Are there any specifics in flower culture in Poland?
Julia: My teacher was surprised that it is not customary in my motherland to bring fresh flower compositions to the cemetery. In Poland, florists deal with them. We even had a mini-course of funeral floristics with fresh flowers.
Also before relocation, I treat carnations as a flower that is not acceptable to give, only for bringing to the cemetery. But in Poland carnations are very popular and used in bouquets quite often.
– With all the new experience gained, please share your recommendations: how to choose flowers in the shop right, what should be paid attention to, and how to care for a bouquet, so it lives as long as possible.
Julia: I’m still learning and trying things out. So I’ll give you some basic recommendations.
Selection of flowers when purchasing:
any flower and green should not be damaged, wilted, or blackened;
when buying, it is better to choose half-opened buds, so they will last longer;
a bouquet on a sponge is super handy if you plan to give flowers on a date out of the house. Any cut flowers live for no more than half an hour without water, and this way you kill two birds with one stone: the flowers stay alive and the girl does not need to look for a vase in every place where you go.
prune the stems every couple of days. In general, all flowers are trimmed at a 45-degree angle;
change the water once a day – no bouquet can withstand a week in stagnant water.
One more recommendation: find a kwiaciarnia (inPolish – flower shop) that you like and get a “flower subscription”. It is a very cool thing:) Every week they deliver you a box of fresh flowers, which you can put in a vase at home and enjoy. Beauty and harmony in the place where you spend most of your day are very important.
Oksana: Yes, in a lot of countries flower subscription is only gaining popularity;) Subscribe and you will get fresh sprigs and buds to decorate your home.
Popular superstition: if the flowers were given with love and sincerity, they will last a long time;). I totally agree with Julia regarding the care: always trim the stems and change the water every day. And a little magic, of course;). For example, you can use some water additives, specialized or folk ones, such as activated carbon or alcohol. There is a lot of detailed information on the Internet, I recommend reading it.
Another tip from my teacher from the policealna school about buying flowers: do not buy ready-made bouquets, they will not last long. If you liked the bouquet, ask to make the same one, but from freestanding flowers (if you are afraid to make the florist angry, ask to change some elements;))
Blitz. Short answers, no long thinking;)
– A million scarlet roses or an iPhone?;)
Julia: A million wildflowers.
Oksana: One day during the cherry blossom season in Japan.
– Spring or summer? Give one reason:)
Julia: Spring, always brings the start of something new in your life)
Oksana: Summer, because I miss the warmth, always.
– Project Management or Business Analysis?)
Oksana: System analysis;)
– 9 a.m. or 9 p.m.?) Name three reasons.
Julia: 9 a.m. I like it when it iss daylight outside and there is still a whole day ahead, so it is possible to do a lot. Morning is the best time to solve issues;)
Oksana: It is 9 p.m. The town falls asleep, the Werewolves wake up. After the birth of a child, for me it is an opportunity to quietly drink my tea/coffee while being hot!, read something, make a plan for the next day, and sum up the current one. Before the baby was born I would definitely answer – 9 or even 6 a.m., as I practiced waking up early and a silent hour before work;)
– Grzane wino or grzane piwo (Polish: “grzane wino” – mulled wine, “grzane piwo” – hot beer with spices)?
Julia: Grzane wino.
Oksana: Grzane wino.
We wonder if there is any connection between love for grzane wino and floristics;) Thank you, Julia and Oksana, for the useful and interesting story about flowers at the beginning of spring. And now, if our colleagues have any questions about policealna school, they know who to ask;)
Oksana and Julia, we wish you a successful graduation and legalization in Poland;))