Many people ask about how I first got into making and using flower essences and learning the lessons they have to teach.
Like all life journeys mine contains a lot of ‘chance’ encounters, meeting the right people at the right time, hard lessons, heartbreak, fabulous friends and moments of pure magic. My path so far seems to have been mostly meandering and undecided (by me). Following the path and clues that opened up in front of me, and using the gifts and treasures that I bought with me this time somehow I have ended up here.
I was brought up in the hills and valleys of Stroud, Gloucestershire, surrounded by rolling countryside and common land full of wild flowers that I wanted to know the names of from an early age. My father was/is a green political activist (and a gardener to earn a living), my mother is a creative, intelligent, stylish woman – a life model at the local art college when we were growing up and later a university lecturer – both were open minded and unconventional in their lifestyles. My sister and I spent a lot of time outside playing, surrounded and supported by a network of ‘other mothers’ –strong, independent, well read and intelligent women who I owe a lot of my ideals and outlook to.
Motherhood, after a period of working as gardener for HRH Prince Michael of Kent and running a landscape company, came early and easily. We lived with our 2 ‘spirited’ boys in a small wooden bungalow in the country near Stroud - a loose festival based style of living full of New Age travellers, ‘interesting characters’ and The Rinky Dink Bicycle Powered Sound System which Dan invented. Life was simple and complicated at the same time. Our parenting was intuitive and unchallenged, messy and unstructured. I lived a country life similar to my grandmother’s generation – baking daily on a Rayburn, foraging for fruit for jam, growing vegetables, re-using, recycling, living on a small budget and in tune with the seasons.
I was growing and delivering weekly cut flowers for a living after getting bored with gardening for other people. I needed more floristry experience to take the business further. A friend met the Prince of Wales’ florist at a party desperately needing more help. ‘With a name like Saskia Marjoram she better give me a ring’. The job was mine. Suddenly, on a very steep learning curve, I was creating flower arrangements at all the royal palaces around the country, State banquets and shooting weeks at Sandringham. It was hard work and fascinating, juxtaposed with living in a wooden bungalow filled with ‘interesting types’ down a country lane and keeping my own business going. I loved working with flowers and mixing the combinations and (unconsciously) playing with their energy. It was the first time I realised I had a gift with flowers (or they had a gift for me).
By the turn of the century we were all in need of flower essences –not only for our children with various educational and behavioural needs and our own relationship ‘issues’ but also for growing and learning and shifting out of the tangled mess we had created. The essences found us in the form of the Australian Bush Flower Essences. Christine Felce,my very good friend, ‘other mother’ to my sons, homeopath and artist and film maker came across them AND THEY WORKED – powerfully and undeniably. At last it felt we had proper support on our journey as women and mothers. We wanted to learn more, we read and researched. Making your own wasn’t so difficult it seemed when reading the instructions in the book so we gave it a go (as you do) AND IT WORKED. We were hooked….. ‘I wonder what this flower is for ?’ ‘What happens if….’ ‘That oak tree feels powerful let’s make an essence from that’… The first essence we made together and after that we each made essences we were drawn to individually or ones we felt our nearest and dearest’s needed. After lots of work and learning whole new skillsets about design, websites, labelling, networking, and all sorts of other things we hadn’t imagined, it seemed we had a whole range of single essences which then felt like they wanted to be made into combinations(a bit like arranging flowers).
We fitted the essence company into our lives in between earning money and parenting and the personal growth which inevitably goes with using flower essences. I continued with my floristry business and my Prince of Wales work as well as giving flower essence consultations, all the time getting to know the flowers, and how they interacted with humans,in a deeper and broader way.
Our boys grew into teenagers. The boys and I moved into town and when they both had finished their ‘education’ I travelled the world visiting friends as I went. On my return the essences were still there but I was unsure which direction my life wanted to go. I lived in various sheds in various places –some positively luxurious, others definitely not. The best one was at the medicinal herb nursery Herbs for Healing near Cirencester run by Davina Wynne Jones. Here I learnt more about the physical properties of the plants whose personalities I was, by now, so familiar with. I taught lots of workshops and lived close to the ground, gardening for my keep and living simply.
And then, for various and numerous reasons I moved to Wincanton, Somerset. The chance conversations and magic continued and I found myself gardening, floristing and making herbal products for Iwan and Manuela Wirth (of Hauser Wirth). By now I was mostly running the essence company alone and it felt like it was time to relaunch for its next phase. So here I am, living in Wincanton, back with the father of my children after a long break and continuing the learning and growing and allowing the magic in.
The bottles have new labels, the website has been bought up to date and the flowers feel properly ready to go out into the world. I’m not one for adding ‘fluff’ or fuss and unnecessary words but I know the essences need my help getting to where they are needed.