Geraldine Hore has a gift that few people possess.
Without the use of music or images and without saying a single word, she can effortlessly encapsulate the full spectrum of human emotions. She can convey deep, symbolic meaning in the subtlest of ways, designed just for one to see, yet she can also transcend that unique and special feeling on a mass scale, leaving hundreds of people with an intrinsic and everlasting impact.
As the owner and creative director of Bouquet Boutique in New Farm, Geraldine is fluent in one of the few true universal languages of this world - a master of floriography – and she has been adding unparalleled beauty and magic to Brisbane for more than 15 years.
Much like airports, flowers have a history steeped in major life events. From births, weddings and funerals, flowers are given to capture the emotions behind the events, and they speak in the most beautiful and unassuming way. There are bouquets for a ‘congratulations’, an ‘I’m sorry’, and an ‘I love you’.
“Flowers can translate words. It’s more than just a bouquet – it’s a message of emotion. We are essentially trading nature and emotion.”
Each year, Bouquet Boutique works on around 500 events that can require anywhere up to 200 table centrepieces and several days on site with a large team to install. With a core team of four florists who truly understand her style, Geraldine also calls upon her ‘floral freelance friends’ and students wanting to gain experience throughout the year to cater for larger events. Regardless of who she is working with, she instils a sense of creativity and pride that flows through to the glowing reviews you find online.
There’s little doubt she was born to be creative. Growing up on her family’s farm at Glastonbury 20km west of Gympie, Geraldine had ambitions of becoming an interior designer but initially followed a science-based path. After realising it wasn’t her passion, Geraldine went back to her roots and her keen interest in gardening and cultivation.
Geraldine obtained trade certification in horticulture in 2000 and went on to farm and export native cut flower crops including Protea, Corroboree bush and Backhousia. She also trailed new cultivar studies on the family farm with the Department of Primary Industries.
“My father and I decided that we should look at some farming diversification, alternative farming and we stumbled across growing native flowers. From here we grew rare native species of Australian flowers that we exported around the world.
“I then wanted the knowledge of what florists were creating with our flowers to be able to give them a better product, so I studied floristry design. Combining all of my passions at once brought me to putting a little ad in the paper to do ‘wedding flowers’ and the rest is history.”
In 2004, Geraldine opened Bouquet Boutique’s retail shopfront in New Farm, and since then her business has gone on to firmly establish itself within the Brisbane weddings and events scene, its name now synonymous with freshness and on-trend artistry.
“To grow a business from scratch has been an amazing life journey, lots of learning along the way through experience and each day gaining more wisdom in how to grow and succeed in business. Now that Bouquet Boutique is more renowned in Brisbane this gives our client a confidence in our ability to create the vision for their orders and events, and also allowing us to also be more creative and push the boundaries to really give the floral experience some wow factor, with fresh ideas.”
Geraldine is no stranger to early mornings. Most days of the week, she bounces out of bed well before the sun has risen in order to hit the local flower markets, as she is a big believer in supporting local suppliers and products. She also concedes that air freight supports a large part of her business due to its location, with flowers coming in from Europe, Africa, Malaysia, Ecuador and New Zealand.
“We aim to source our day-to-day flowers locally but due to seasonal conditions, we do get most flowers from southern states with cooler growing environments. For special events and large events, we also have flowers flying in from all around the world. With advancements in flower care, we have been able to source internationally for 5-6 years.”
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that most people are unaware of when it comes to floristry. The process involved in delivering a fresh piece of art to your doorstep or event is a workout, and when described, it is in stark contrast to the incredible beautify that comes about as a result.
Geraldine is a master of logistics, engineering and problem-solving. She loves nothing more than working on unusual briefs that challenge her creativity, coming up with seamless ways to hang 500 roses from ceilings, and working with bold and powerful palettes.
“There is a huge process. From planning and procuring large volumes and sourcing the best possible product, to bringing orders in, cutting every single stem, stripping leaves and thorns, cleaning vases and buckets, to touching every flower and foliage stem again to actually put them in the design, driving trucks for large scale events, and time onsite up and down ladders building beautiful installations.”
Geraldine never does anything by half measures. As if the demands of being Brisbane’s leading florist don’t keep her busy enough, she also owns a plant hire company and is part-owner of a wine bar overlooking the Manly yacht marina. Don’t let the pristine and mesmerising shop front of Bouquet Boutique fool you - she is a woman who operates best under pressure.
“We have so many clients walk into the store and say, ‘It must be so lovely to be a florist and work in all this beauty’. We do agree, but then all glance at each other and giggle!”