CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Camden Town street florists hired to provide birthday bouquets for the Queen

'We were told she likes smelly flowers – peonies, stock, roses and freesias'

26 April, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Lorraine Puleston and Stephen Silver at their stall on the corner of Parkway and Camden High Street

THEY have been selling flowers from the streets of Camden Town since the 1940s, when “Nanny Austin” pitched up with a basket full of blooms from Covent Garden and started flogging her wares.

And now her great-grandchildren can say they are on a par with Royal grocers Fortnum and Mason after being asked to provide bouquets for the Queen at her birthday party on Saturday. Florists Stephen Silver and Lorraine Puleston have worked on the family stall, on the corner of Parkway and Camden High Street, for decades.

They were contacted last week by a producer at the BBC who was organising a special birthday concert at the Royal Albert Hall and asked if they could fill the Royal Box with flowers – and provide two bouquets to be given to Her Majesty.

Ms Puleston told the New Journal: “They wanted a spare in case something happened to one of them.”

They bought flowers from New Covent Garden Market the day before, and went to the Kensington performance space built during the reign of the Queen’s great-great-grandmother on Friday night – managing to catch a gig by Chas and Dave – before setting up the flowers.

The Queen with her royal box flowers, supplied by the Parkway flower sellers

Ms Puleston added: “We were told she likes smelly flowers – peonies, stock, roses and freesias.”

To make sure they got the arrangements right, they were sent pictures of what the Queen would be wearing for the event, so they could make sure colours did not clash.

Mr Silver added: “I first helped my grandad out on our stall 45 years ago. We are here all-year round. It’s nice to be able to say that, as well as our valued customers who come regularly, we’ve had the Royal seal of approval.”

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