A few aromatic drops and a bowl of dry flowers. It took just these two things for Dr. Zdravko Dimitrov to start a business that has brought him satisfaction and joy for 18 years.
When he graduated veterinary medicine, the young doctor from Veliko Turnovo was unable to find a job as a vet and went into sales. One day, getting more and more bored behind the counter, he dropped some “Flower Garden” fragrance onto a dry bouquet in a jar, and, attracted by the fragrance, a customer wanted to buy some right away. That was the start of the business with dry aromatic flowers, a business that only Dr. Dimitrov’s family has been developing in this country. “The final aromatic product is known by its French name - pot pourri, a mix of all kinds of dry flowers and plants,” he explains.
Arrangements of dry wild flowers, dyed using harmless dyes and scented with Swiss fragrances attract customers with sophisticated taste. Bouquets in jars, in baskets, bicycle-shaped souvenirs are just some of the products made by Dr. Dimitrov’s family.
“The most beautiful flowers are the flowers picked in springtime or summer, but they are the most perishable as well. To stop them from breaking, we started adding other, more resilient leaves – eucalyptus or other shrubbery. Wood is the best medium for a fragrance, so we added tree species,” Dr. Zdravko Dimitrov explains. His successful recipe for a dry aromatic bouquet combines yarrow and moonshine yarrow, clover, curry plant, limonium, fern, acorns, olive branches, moss, fir-cones. But besides a feast for the eyes, the fragrance of dry flowers can be therapeutic – orange for happiness, cinnamon for relaxing.
Out in the fields, or at home – there is one person who stands firm next to the doctor, his 13-year old daughter Stella. She is a ballet dancer with the Balletino ballet company, with which she has won numerous awards, but it is her dream to be a doctor, like her father, only Stella wants to be a human doctor, and, in her spare time, to carry on the flower business.
“Stella is the kind of person that is keen on doing everything herself – gluing things together, arranging something constantly,” her father says. “But she is not the only one engaged in the business – so is my wife and my younger son. At one point I noticed she took great pleasure in flowers, so I decided it was time for her to be given more responsibility in our family business. So, I created her own brand, which I gave her for her 12th birthday, and I am hoping that some day she will build upon it. She has taken things very seriously and now takes part in all of the stages – in the gathering, drying, arrangement, in the dying of the flowers. But what she is really good at is sales, and when we go out to sell our flowers somewhere, she is always there, on the front line, and she is doing a great job.”
Dr. Zdravko Dimitrov says he is a happy man because, besides his family, there are two things he loves most, and they are both part of his life – animals and flowers.
“I have always wanted to be a veterinarian, it was my childhood dream”, he adds. “Now, with perseverance and a little luck, I have my own surgery in Veliko Turnovo and that is most gratifying. As to the flowers – it all started quite by accident. There have been periods when times have been hard and flowers were the last thing people turned their thoughts to. But the rough patch is over, there is a renaissance and the market is thriving. To prolong the life of a flower, even after it is dead so it can bring joy with its beauty, with its fragrance, with the arrangement, that is something that is truly gratifying.”
English version: Milena DaynovaPhotos: courtesy of Dr. Zdravko Dimitrov and Stella
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