Last week was British Flowers week. It was BUSY. I put lonely posies around Reydon, Southwold and also in Somerleyton Hall gardens for people to collect. Plus ran a Workshop at Somerleyton Hall. In addition I had one of my designs showcased on the Natural Wedding Company website. Although it was seriously hectic here it was good and there seemed to be a real buzz about British flowers with Covent Garden Market having top designers using British Flowers to make some absolutely stunning designs. Meantime this week I am just going to try to catch up with myself, the garden, the laundry....and take some Delphiniums up to the Norfolk Show!!
Sweet Peas along with Roses are possibly the most iconic of British flowers. They are of the moment, they don't travel well or last very long in the vase. Despite this their sheer beauty and of course their scent make them so special. I like to make simple posies using the Sweet Peas own foliage. The dark coloured ones don't photograph as well as the lighter colours but are just as beautiful. This buttonhole contains Nigella and Honesty seeds as well as Sweet Peas. The floral crown contains lots of Sweet Peas, Mock Orange, Sweet Williams, Nigella and Roses but mostly Sweet Peas. June is the best month for a Sweet Pea wedding. Mine started flowering at the end of May this year and will probably continue for 6 to 8 weeks. I absolutely love them so they are a real treat to work with. Each year I grow more and more of them.....soon the whole garden will be taken over by them!
This is British Flower Week, a chance for the British Flower industry to show case what it can do! I will be blogging, putting lots of pictures on Twitter and generally trying to join in! Also we have our workshop at Somerleyton Hall on Saturday. I think there are one or two places left but if you want to come please contact me or the Somerleyton office as soon as possible as it is filling up fast.
The British Flower growing set up was destroyed after the war when the Dutch government heavily subsidised their growers. The focus has now shifted to central America and Africa where flowers are grown on an industrial scale. Not only do they grow vast quantities, they grow in an industrial style. You only have to read Gilding The Lily by Amy Stewart to see the impact that this has had on British Growers who are usually smaller and grow in a more natural way. For some reason the public seem to have lost confidence in British flowers and sometimes think they are an inferior product. Which just isn't true.
I grow in a garden setting both at home but also in the Kitchen Garden at Somerleyton Hall, that has it's problems and it's pleasures. I can't grow vast quantities of anything, I am not a farmer. The sheltered setting is great for growing flowers and I grow a wonderful mix of flowers which are naturally grown without pesticides. People who buy my flowers get bunches and arrangements that have the feel, style and scent of an English garden. People lead busy lives and they enjoy the rewards and fruits of a lovely garden without all the work!
I am really pleased with my Roses this year.....a good year for Roses! I garden on light soil which is not great for them and so I feed, water, prune and hope for the best. I have planted some new Peter Beales roses to add to my collection and apart from a spot of greenfly they are doing well. I am treating the greenfly with fairy liquid and water. There is such a difference between garden roses and the imported ones you buy from flower farms in South America and Kenya. For a start there is the scent but also I prefer their more flowing habit and less rigid straight stems. They are less uniform with in some cases wonderful large open faces. I gradually intend to grow more, so this winter will plant some more bare rooted plants which is the most economical way of doing it. This also allows them to become established before the summer flowering season. I use them in bouquets and wedding work and buy them from a friend with a wonderful Rose garden in Essex when I need more than I can grow.
My story in flowers started as a child growing a tiny patch of London Pride Saxifraga...also known as Whimsey or Look Up and Kiss Me! Fast forward to 8 years ago when I started a City and Guilds training in floristry. I qualified as a florist and then to deepen my growing knowledge and skills I trained in horticulture as well. I trained under a WRAGS scheme at Darsham Nurseries and at Somerleyton Hall. Developing a passion for both growing and designing/arranging British garden flowers, I planted a cutting garden. Having become increasingly concerned about where and how flowers are grown, coupled with a love of British grown flowers. and natural styling, I now specialise in growing and using beautiful British grown flowers to make romantic natural designs. for weddings, events, gifts and much more.