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  • Dream Jobs: Flower Arranging
    The Table Bay’s two florists tell us about their dream job: arranging flowers.
    10 April 2014
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    ​The Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town: Florists Lucas Mpfumisi and Marsha Booi. 

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    ​Protea flowers in The Table Bay Hotel's lobby.​

  • Imagine waking every morning, looking forward to spending your day surrounded with beautiful flowers, knowing the joy they are going to bring to others. Flowers have an unbelievable power – not only in their beautiful colours, but also in their shape, texture and smell. It brings smiles to a loved one, comfort to those having a difficult time, and is welcome always everywhere. The Table Bay’s two florists, Marsha Booi and Lucas Mpfumisi tell about their dream job arranging flowers at the 5-Star Cape Town hotel.

    Marsha is a very spontaneous person with lots of energy and zest for life.

    Did you always want to be a florist?
    I was thinking about flowers as a child, and as I grew older, my passion for flowers didn’t go away. I eventually received formal floristry training through Interflora.

    What does your job entail?
    We check all the flowers in the public areas daily. This is a five star hotel and it needs five star flowers. All the VIP arrangements for our Guests get done early in the morning. By the time they check into the hotel, they have a vase with fresh flowers welcoming them.

    What are some of the challenges of your job?
    Although one can do as much planning as possible, one always has to be prepared for last minute requests from Guests. We also do the flower arrangements for events at the hotel and this takes a lot of planning.

    What is your favourite flower?
    Although I love spring flowers like iris and lisianthus, I also have a great love for our very own South African flowers. The protea is such a diverse flower to work with. No flower is the same as the next! I am always thrilled to see the end result of a protea arrangement.

    Lucas never thought being a florist would give him so much pleasure. “Today I am happy to say floristry is my profession. I enjoy the administration side of the business as well.”

    How did your floristry career start?
    I started at The Table Bay with Pieter de Bruin from Palette de Fleurs as part of the in-house florist team, which later became part of the Empowerment Development Project. I first worked with Pieter at his shop, conditioning flowers, and later Pieter taught me how to do flower arrangements, for which I am very grateful.

    What is the favourite part of your job?
    I personally love making the very big mass arrangements for the foyer and the smaller ones in the lobby and function areas. It is a challenge to work with these large displays; I am always learning something new.

    What is your favourite flower?
    I have quite a few favourite flowers, but it is most interesting working with proteas as some of them are only available for a very short period of the year. There are always new varieties coming into season to work with.

    More about The Table Bay’s pretty proteas:

    • Working with proteas is different from working with other fresh flowers. All proteas has texture and the size makes it much more challenging to design.
    • All the proteas used in the hotel are grown in Cape Town and surrounding areas.
    • They are all cultivated. “We do not buy from anybody who is disrespectful and damage nature by picking proteas for re-sale purposes,” says Pieter de Bruin from Palette de Fleurs, who supplies the hotel with its beautiful arrangements.
    • Although proteas are available throughout the year, varieties are limited to certain times of the year. That is the reason why you don’t get Protea Cynaroides (king protea) 12 months in the year. “This of course makes it very exciting for us as floral designers. We get offered a beautiful selection of different varieties of protea almost 12 months of the year.
    • A lot of protea varieties are only available for maximum of two months. “Combinations are very important – so we tend to keep the combinations simple to allow each and every protea to showcase its very own personality.”
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