Flowers on the doorstep
“The warmth of this place, it gathers in my soul, where Flowers on the Doorstep wait for me”
Did you know that Roses are related to apples, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and even almonds? Did you know that almost 60% of fresh cut flowers grown in the US comes from California? Did you know that the juice from bluebells used to be made to make glue? And finally, did you know that the thistle is the Scottish national flower because hundreds of years ago, when Vikings invaded, they were slowed down by patches of wild thistle, allowing our Scots friends time to escape?!
Trivia fun aside, flowers paint our incredible world. Providing colour, aroma and taste. They are a treat for our senses AND of course, our emotions.
For me, they are an integral part of my life, whether it was my beautiful wedding bouquet, those I received when unwell, the ones I have received through love and sadly, the ones I have sent as a tribute to those we have sadly said goodbye to. Flowers tell a story for us all.
Dare I say it, I even have virtual flowers. I have planted them on my “Animal Crossing” Island and they make me laugh because they are not even real!
As a classical crossover singer, flowers have also made an appearance at the end of a show when I’ve been lucky enough to receive them from concert organisers or fans; they are always very welcome. A big hint there to my husband James!
During lockdown, we turned to our gardens, we sent flowers to people we couldn’t see. They add colour to a darker world. Where would we be without them?
You can imagine my delight then, when earlier this year my friend, Royal Composer, Olga Thomas, asked me to sing on her new song, Flowers on the Doorstep. With lyrics by Adrian Warwick, we found ourselves on one of our first trips out post the ‘wave one lockdown’ back in the Hit Factory studio in London doing what we love most….making music, albeit socially distanced.
Olga’s compositions are stunning and I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate on four of them in the last couple of years, including two number one singles, one of them for the Queen and Prince Philip.
Olga’s unique storytelling shines through her cinematic and catchy style and that might be because, as she often tells me “I have a permanent background application in my brain which constantly composes situations, images, stories, thoughts ideas and inspire me all of the time.” So Olga, with her app inside her head, is already one step ahead of Elon Musk who apparently is working on a neuralink chip for human brains. Olga, if you are reading this, you MUST apply for a patent of your grey matter!
The inspiration Olga had for “Flowers on the Doorstep” is fascinating.
“For me, it is all about the beautiful welcome , a feeling of being accepted, appreciated and a feeling of anticipation coming home. Flowers are the greatest symbol of life, they are born, blossom, then of course become dry yet still beautiful. Then, they are reborn as they come back for a new season. On the Doorstep means “home” as they welcome you back.” She continues “Home for me is London; it feels like my natural home and has been now for 30 years. It is of course a physical place but also a feeling. It is the condition of my mind where I can be myself and feel like the real me.”
My own childhood home holds many memories and feelings. In fact, my Mum still lives there. Like millions of people this year, I’ve not been able to spend much time with my loved ones outside of my hom e. It breaks my heart missing them and them missing me. So, in the spirit of what this song is all about, I decide to visit my fabulous local florist, Sarah from “ The Florist Loughton ” to arrange a bouquet and leave it as a surprise for my mum on her own doorstep.
Florists are like magicians of the natural world with how they make their products look sensations. Th ey have to work with clients who may be expressing a range of emotions due to the circumstances in which they are buying flowers. Sarah tells me:
“Flowers lift the spirits of people who receive them, you can see the look on their faces of pure happiness. I love how flowers are there for everything life throws, whether happy or sad.
She continues, “I realised I had a passion for flowers when I was happy to go to work every single day and would love making bouquets and working with the seasons to pick them. There is an ethereal charm of flowers that is unmistakable. Being a florist owner and being surrounded by beautiful flowers every day is a real dream come true for me.
Receiving flowers is the best feeling, especially when you are not expecting them! It is proven that flowers can release serotonin in the body (the happy hormone) whether bought for yourself or for someone else, they act as a wonderful form of self-care. There is a definite secret language of flowers, floriography’, and sometimes in life it is easier to say things with flowers than with words.
Every year a lady from the USA gets in touch with us and orders a beautiful bouquet to lay at her mother’s grave. It would have been her mother’s centenary birthday this year. As she couldn’t come over due to Covid, we got in touch with the local authority and located her mother’s grave. We send pictures to her and every year she is so incredibly grateful for us to spend a little time at her mother’s grave and adorn it with blooms. It is such a powerful example of how a mother and child’s love spans through life and death wherever you are in the world.”
Spending time with Sarah, hearing her stories, and seeing the care she puts into arranging the flowers makes the process of giving them all the more special, so with my bouquet prepared, I hotfoot it round to my Mum’s. Sneakily, I lay the flowers on her doorstep and, evoking memories of children playing “knock down ginger” years ago, ring the bell and hide behind her wall. Out comes Mum, confused at first as to who that might have been, but then looks down to see her surprise. As lyricist, Adrian Warwick says “you cannot get a better feeling than when seeing someone’s eyes light up” and the same happens with my Mum.
Finally coming out of hiding, which was good as I looked very dodgy crouched down in front of Mum’s drive, we sadly still cannot hug but we did enjoy a cup of tea together. I hope she knew I was hugging her with every flower!
“How was that Mum?” I asked, sipping my tea.
“ It was the most lovely surprise and you gave me such a warm feeling to know that you were thinking of me. Thank you darling.”
So there you have it, I made Mum’s day and gave her a smile in these troubling times, that’s priceless right? I hope now that I can make all of YOU smile when you get to hear Flowers on the Doorstep .
Flowers on the Doorstep by Olga Thomas, Adrian Warwick and sung by Joanna Forest is out now on iTunes and digital music platforms.