July 25, 2012

The worlds most watched bouquet - the 2012 London Olympic's Victory Bouquet

©2012, JanePacker

The talented design team at posh international florist, London's Jane Packer,  has been selected to design and produce the 4,400 floral bouquet's being presented to medal winners at the 2012 London Olympic games. The task is massive, and the restrictions equally as challenging, but the team found a creative solution, thanks to the leadership of creative director Susan Lapworth, and a whole team of growers, stylists and suppliers across the country.  Jane Packer has a New York City story too - 328 East 59th St. Check it out if you are in the city.

The flowers and herbs in the bouquet had to be British grown, and as the Jane Packer website states,"they will be made at the time of the Games with the help of floristry students from across the country". Whew! But for any of you who think that this is a dream job, just wait....designing such a product does have its downside, as well as its immense honor...

The official story, as told by designer and creative director Susan Lapworth, is well crafted, but as an ex floral designer myself, I sense, from the tone between the lines - that, well - let's face it, it was a tough challenge as anyone who has had to design anything by a committee, knows. Imagine this project and it's requirements, deep, relevant meaning, and material restrictions ranging from local grown herbs, to hyper alergenic flowers.

The teams describes the resulting design: "The Victory Bouquet is sectioned off into boldly coloured quadrants to mirror the 2012 logo..." ( ahem...as if that was not controversial - although, as a graphic designer, I have to share with you that I kind of like it.) "... These colors are separated by typical British food ingredients which also provide an eclectic fragrance.".

©2012, JanePacker

Before you imagine beans and pot pie - these are simply herbs - rosemary, lavender, apple mint and English wheat. (OK- it's a pub friendly arrangement.). Still, so British. Gove-nor - another pint, please?

Ms. Lapworth continues, "All of the components of the bouquet had to be grown in Britain, , a key aim for us". ( take that, Mr. Lauren). Although...one would imagine the Holland, being so close, could have helped a bit with the variety.

Here is the design brief, which indicates the limitations one had, both creatively and from a process perspective: British grown flowers, a size of 20 x 25cm, strong visual impact. reflect the energy of London 2012. Hardy varieties that will withstand varying temperatures ( there are no cold storage facilities at the venues) and handling by non-experts.

Ms. Lapworth comments, about the flowers: "Although not indigenous, in our mind, the most British flower is the rose. Sadly, although we possess the expertise, no UK grower was currently producing roses for commercial use, so we have commissioned the growing of the roses in the design specifically for this project. The variety of rose used needed to be proven to be robust and long lasting with a history of successful cultivation."

©2012, JanePacker

She continues, " We have chosen British grown herbs, lavender, apple mint and rosemary. These provide an eclectic fragrance which is important to enhance the 'moment' of triumph for the athlete without causing an allergic (!) reaction which some heavily scented flowers often do. Along with these herbs, we have included wheat, a source of energy ( LOL), to reflect the 'energy lines' of the London 2012 theme.."

Ms, Lapworth continues: " The colors - We chose a bright and vibrant colour theme that not only reflects the colours used in the 2012 logo, but also the colours throughout the London 2012 games. This vivid combination creates visual impact, which will also enhance the athlete's moment of victory.".

It takes many suppliers to achieve such a simple yet meaningful arrangement. I can only imagine the massive coordination required to accomplish such a feat. Jane Packer notes that the suppliers we challenging to find for the flowers, since sadly, the British floriculture industry that  "once provided us with cut flowers, has been forced into, near extinction." The story is the same here in the US. Hey, it's a global economy, but still, a sad fact.

She particularly points out that one supplier in particular, Landgard UK provided the glasshouses under which the primary ingredients for the bouquets were grown and that they have acted as the lead project managers for sourcing and ensuring the flowers are perfect at game time.

More specifically, the roses, mint and rosemary were grown by Chessum Roses, Sussex.
The Lavender, by Long Barn - Hants
The Wheat, by Shropshire Petals

©2012, JanePacker

This venture requires lots of helping hands, as it makes Valentines Day seem like a real holiday, for any florist. Jane Packer have partnered with key colleges in the UK, that have floristry programs. Students are assisting with the creation of the bouquets at games time.

These include:

Writtle College, Essex
Bexley Adult Education, Kent
Kingston Maurward, Dorset

I wish everyone involved, the best of luck, and hope that they enjoy this contribution to global unity.

Note: Jane Packer, herself, passed away in 2010. Her legacy includes this international floral business ( London, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong), a fragrance range, an on-line flower shop, and a retail store in association with John Lewis on London's Oxford Street. All are testimony to the potency of the JANE PACKER philosophy and brand, which continue today under a the leadership of her husband, CEO and co-founder, Gary Wallis.


  1. hopflower10:50 AM

    Unfortunately, even though Holland is so close, their flowers in many ways are inferior to British ones. Mass produced; although they have contributed greatly to the horticultural world, indeed. The quality in some varieties, is not always there. Since the games are hosted in London, only British flowers and herbs would do. That makes sense.

  2. A remarkable story behind the bouquet. It is beautiful, and now that I know the meaning, it is even more so. How sad about the floriculture industry in the UK. . .And, the U.S.(?) Did not realize that. Very interesting and informative article, Matt. Thank you for posting (and doing the research!)

  3. hopflower7:10 PM

    Our green houses in California are empty now as well. We have to buy our roses from Columbia and other South American countries. Meanwhile,they get sick from pesticides, and we have fewer jobs.

  4. Thanks all, I know. Now that I've seen the opening ceremonies, the wheat makes so much more sense.

  5. veronica8:02 PM

    Thanks for this informative piece. The bouquet kind of grows on you just cos of its simplicity but combined with the explanation it all makes sense. Love the inclusion of the wheat, herbs and lavender!


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