Chris hopes his new venture will bloom
AN upper dale café owner is hoping to achieve a childhood dream by adding floristry to his business offering.
Christopher Johnson, who operates Café Fresh, in Middeton-in-Teesdale, with his partner Phil Dawson, aims to use an upstairs area of the business as a workspace and floristry studio.
The aim is to have it up and running before Christmas, to supply festive wreaths and bouquets, and will be the culmination of an ambition he has held since he was a teenager.
The idea came about during the Covid-19 lockdown.
He said: “I just went wild buying seeds, from border flowers to vegetables and herbs.
“I was in the greenhouse in the garden in Forest-in-Teesdale and I thought ‘this is it’. This is the time to do it.”
He enrolled full time to study a level 2 diploma in technical floristry at Houghall College, where he is under the tutelage of famed florist Rebecca Hough, who was crowned the Royal Horticultural Society’s Florist of Year at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show.
Mr Johnson said: “As I learn and develop my skills I’ll be starting to offer a selection of flowers and arrangements.
“I genuinely feel the village is crying out for something like this and I think it will complement the café really well.”
Of flower arranging he said: “It is more than putting flowers together in a bunch. There is so much more that is technical about it. There is a lot to learn, but it is really interesting – like knowing colour wheels and what not to mix together. To have it jump out, but not be a blur.
“Floristry is also good for your mental health, you forget everything. It’s like you are in another world.”
Another addition to the shop is the reintroduction of the Fresh Candle range, which was the first business the partners started in the upper dale more than six years ago.
To complete his diploma Mr Johnson needs to gain practical experience through a work-placement. Anyone who is able to offer him an opportunity can contact him at Café Fresh on 01833 641527 or email admin@cafefresh middleton.co.uk.