Katie Peckett lives in Whirlow with husband Andrew and their boys, Joseph and Harry. Her parents owned a wholesale business in Sheffield, importing and retailing flowers, and at 16, Katie went to college to master the art of floristry. By 18 she had opened her first shop, The House of Flowers on Ecclesall Road. Andrew, an ex-Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers footballer, walked into her shop to buy tree decorations at Christmas 1995 and asked Katie for a walk and a coffee in Endcliffe Park. They married four years later. Katie’s flowers adorn local clubs, restaurants and occasions - from Elton John’s dressing room to Jessica Ennis-Hill’s wedding bouquet and floral arrangements.
Whirlow Hall Farm
We live near this lovely farm and when our children were young, we would go up and take a walk around the farm and fields. It’s fantastic, especially in the early evening. We call it Little Tuscany after the fantastic views over the fields. Our boys love an ice cream from the farm shop and going to see the pigs in their stylish sties, and stroking the guinea pigs. We even had our boys’ birthday parties with a fire engine up there.
I’ve traded on Ecclesall Road since I was 17. That makes this a silver anniversary year since I am now 42. What is now Lizziz was my first unit back then, followed by the shop that is now Pure Urban. I love being able to buzz down with the kids for tea or to have a drink at places like the Mudcrab Diner, Nando’s and Pizza Express. We also enjoy strolling onto Sharrowvale Road. Andrew converted a house into Jonty’s, so we often go there, or to the Mogul Room.
If Whirlow is Little Tuscany, Wyming Brook has to be Little Switzerland. It’s traditional in our family to go there for a walk on Sundays, especially in winter. Just walk upstream on the top path then down to the dam, with the waterfall coming down and look back. When it snows it’s incredible.
I just love everything about my sons’ school. It really is a genuinely family environment and ethos, with the boys and girls working together on plays and in sport. It’s not competitive either. Both my boys are dyslexic and the help and support has been phenomenal, even sending someone to us over school holidays to help them not lose ground. My highlight last year was seeing my son Joseph as Mushnik the florist in the school musical Little Shop of Horrors complete with an excellent Italian-Jewish accent!
I’m choosing this even though my father, Michael Dale, died on the Parkway Markets aged just 41 of a massive heart attack. He was what people call a “big character” and in a band called Micky’s Monkeys. We had a very successful business there for 25 years and still own property and buy flowers from there. There’s such a buzz about it in the early morning. Andrew started at 3am in our days of wholesaling florists, finishing at 11am and being in bed for 12. He only agreed to help my brother out over Easter. That was 12 years ago, but he’s semi-retired now. I love the colours and scent and the characters. There’s always a deal going off.
To be honest, I loathe gardening, so fortunately Andrew does that. I love to sit in my garden though - look at the birds, read the paper. It’s a London Chelsea garden, private so I can sunbathe, chilled out and quiet. I get my bit of peace in there. It’s filled with topiary, bamboo, grasses, palms and loads of monochromic black pots of colourful scarlet geraniums for my floral fix.