"My road to Germany started in 2002. Then I came to visit my sister, who already lived in Münster. I met one German gentleman and I couldn't say it was heavenly love, but we were good together, he was a secure, loyal man. When the suggestion came to move here, I didn't think much. I raised two daughters in Latvia. I was exhausted and drained at times, working in three jobs to provide us. The daughters had to graduate from school soon, I was dreading that I could afford to send only one to study, because I could not support them financially at the time," Inese said.
Though Inese separated from her German spouse, she continued her life in Münster. Plants had always been her passion, and she had therefore obtained the diploma of a gardener-agronome. Inese is still very proud of this education.
"I've always been very active, always interested in everything new, about fashion trends in my field, new techniques. I am still in contact with colleagues: gardeners, florists; we share experience.
I wanted to open my flower shop in Latvia. And when I moved to Germany, it was perfectly clear to me that I wanted to work only in my field and nowhere else.
It was not difficult, because in Germany the florist is a demanded profession and it is simple to find a job. For the first four years I worked as an employee in a flower company. In the meantime I studied the market, walked around all the Münster floral shops, understood the tastes and demands of local buyers."
In 2007, the moment came when Inese felt ready to open her flower salon. Unfortunately, a few years later, Inese fell severely ill. "That was the reason I closed the shop in 2013 — I didn't know what … was going to happen. Fortunately the health problems have been defeated. With optimism and faith! I was empowered by the idea that I had to keep it all, so that I could leave it to my grandson, so that he could take it over when he was growing up.”
Her grandson, now eight, too has a love and interest for plants and flowers. "The guy has green thumbs already!" said Inese.
Once the disease had been conquered, Inese turned to flowers again, this time opening a small workshop called “Blumen Freiberga.” Basic orders are a supply of bouquets of flowers to petrol stations The bouquets of Inese's workshop are popular and demanded because each is composed individually, with love and attention.
“The time we spend on bouquets can't be paid … But I've started it! I've brought in my clients, too.
We place a lot of emphasis on the fact that flowers are fresh and retain their beauty for the maximum length of time. Customers know my style, if I change something, it is immediately noticed," Inese said.
Many customers who have purchased her bouquets ask the petrol stations where they came from, because they are especially different. Then he orders special bouquets directly for himself.
Inese says that there are nearly no advertisements - she relies on word-of-mouth.
Many customers have remained loyal. There are people who come in passing because, although it is not a large salon, its doors always kindly open, the flowers are ready and everyone can buy or order.
“I take any order, never say no. There was such a case: there was a small hotel next to my workshop, Vietnamese were staying there. They came to me a few minutes before I closed, needing twenty bouquets of flowers until the next morning at seven! I sat and composed at night, at seven o'clock the bouquets were ready!"
The florist says that the Germans have a different taste: "We have our favorite colors, in Germany, there are different ones. When I just started working, the master said – you make very beautiful bouquets, invest a lot of work and attention, but I would like its colors a little different.
The biggest difference, I think, is in the choice of materials, even when it comes to greenery. They also like more exotic greens, eucalyptus, rosemary. The Germans accept everything! Even and odd numbers are not so important for Germans. Foreigners like something else again, there was a great deal of English coming to me, and I knew they liked the bouquet to be large.
In Latvia, people mostly know exactly what they want and what they never want. There are very few customers of this kind, relying mostly on florist tastes. It should be noted that the German gentlemen have very good taste, they know at once what they want, what the lady likes.
I don't remember the names for all of my clients, but I do remember their taste!"
There are also permanent customers among Latvians. The florist says that there is no time to engage vigorously in the Latvian diaspora's public developments (Münster has a large Latvian center), but the events of November 18 are always present.
Inese talks with sincerity of the many surprises that permanent customers tend to bring, for example, leaving for Latvia on vacation and sending cards with the words: Welcome from your home country! We're here and we love it! Birthday greetings are also received, but after the hard surgery, some of the permanent buyers have even come to visit Inese at the hospital with gifts.
There is no plan to go back to Latvia, because the daughters, sister, grandchildren, everybody is in Münster. Though in Pope is the house she inherited from her mother, where Inese has planted this and that while visiting, as she dreams of creating a private botanical garden: "I don't know if I can finish … I'm not so young and strong. And, you see, there's a need for someone who looks after it all. In the meantime, I am building my other dream, “potted garden”. I live in an apartment, but we have an inner courtyard here, three small apartment buildings together. Then I'm there, everything growing in pots, and my neighbors are glad. Old ladies come, say I've got the seeds from these roses here, can you sow them!"
Inese cannot be without flowers – she always has flowers in vases at home. She particularly likes white flowers. And winter and sea.