Carole Bowden runs her Flower Van on Shore Road in Remuera, Auckland. Her main business ethos is to provide fresh, beautiful flowers straight from the market for customers to put in their homes. Her Miniature Schnauzer, Tane, accompanies her as she provides florals to her loyal following, every weekday morning.

1. What does it mean to you to be a NZ florist?

For me being a NZ florist means I get to share my love and passion of flowers, colour and texture. I get to share my knowledge of NZ blooms, where they are grown and the people who grow them with care and love. I get to do all of this with incredible people and I love hearing about the joy that my flowers bring into their lives.

2. What do you love about NZ Flowers and foliage?

I love the freshness and interesting garden foliage. I love knowing that they were picked fresh only a day or two prior to being enjoyed in vases at home. I particularly love the smaller, less commercial growers that grow old world, charming, cottage flowers like my favourite girls from Gisborne ‘Field of Roses’.

3. What sparked your interest to become a florist?

I actually wanted to be an art teacher. At school I was a bit of a lost soul spending most my time in the art room. I applied for two florist apprenticeships and got them both out of hundreds of applicants - so I thought this was my chosen path.

4. Where did you study/practice floristry?

Floristry used to be an apprenticeship a bit like hairdressing. You learnt skills on the job and sat practical and written exams often in other centres around NZ. I was lucky enough to work at great creative studios in both Auckland and Wellington.

5. How long have you been working ‘in the biz’?

Maybe 15 years.

6. What has been your biggest challenge as a florist so far?

For me, the biggest challenge has been long hours. I put everything of myself into what I do. It’s incredibly rewarding but has impacted my personal life, which has been hard.

7. What has been your biggest highlight as a florist so far?

The amazing people I have met along the way - incredible customers, wonderful growers, passionate flower friends.

8. How would you describe your design style?

My style is ‘beautiful garden’ with lots of textures. I have a great eye for colour and love anything beautiful, feminine and with old charm.

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