Georgie's Blog

  • How to carry your bouquet on your wedding day

    How to carry your bouquet on your wedding day

    It seems to me that a question brides seldom consider is how they're going to carry their bouquet on their wedding day.  The look of the bouquet, the flowers used and so on, are usually carefully thought out, but how the bouquet will actually be carried, the weight of it, the look of it against the dress, is not a question brides ever ask me.  

    Hot tip: make a posy and stand with it in front of the mirror.  Do you feel comfortable holding it two handed right in front of you as is often shown in photographs?  Will you be able to carry it like that when you're being taken down the aisle by whoever is giving you away?  And when you imagine your photographs being taken will you still stand straight-on to the camera, holding the bouquet two-handed?  Or will you face your new husband and hold the bouquet down by your skirts, with a straightish arm?  

    How will the bouquet, which, for good reason, will cost you a fair amount of money, look in the photographs?  

    Use your trial posy to stand in various different ...

  • How to grow a kitchen table business

    How to grow a kitchen table business

    People who start kitchen table businesses usually do it because they are brilliant at the thing the business sells: bread making, sewing, designer making, jam, ironing, photography... often a hobby which could be turned into a small business.  And they might be brilliant at making patchwork, or flapjacks, or whatever it is, but they might also not have any business training.

    And this is where this day course in small business management comes in.

    Eight years ago, when I started Common Farm Flowers, I had no business training either, and I started my business because I was good at growing sweet peas and needed to do something which made me a living, but which I could do from home as I had two very small children, and didn't want to commute away from them every day.

    So my job is to share with you everything I've learned along the way: the difference between turnover and profit, how to make a cash flow forecast into a fun tool rather than a project which overwhelms, why a business plan can be just four pages long, and, perhaps most important of all, how t...

  • Why be a flower farmer?

    Why be a flower farmer?

    Why be a flower farmer?

    Well, not for the money, that's certain.  Not if you like a short working day with a certain pay check at the end of it.  Not if you like glamorous foreign holidays, or an excuse to buy sparkling shoes because you need them for work. 

    Why be a flower farmer?

    Because you may not earn much, but you can make a great saving on gym membership.

    Because you can turn your garden into a haven for wildlife and call it work.

    Because your commute is a gentle stroll across to the flower beds with a cup of tea in hand, sniffing the wind, stealing a march on the day while the rest of the world still slumbers, and the sun climbs into the sky in the east and the moon sets, and the air is clean, and sharp, and the day heady with possibility.

    Be a flower farmer if you hate winter, because throughout the autumn you plant spring, and those tiny seedlings, nestling in greenhouse or field, are what you focus on in the dark days, watching them, seeing their tiny unfurling of promise as the spring equinox comes by.

    ...
  • Why come to a day course at Common Farm Flowers

    Why come to a day course at Common Farm Flowers

    We love holding workshops here at Common Farm because people love coming to them.  What makes our days different? 

    Well, we keep the groups small: I don't want to have more people than I'd comfortably have at a dinner party - that way I can make sure that everybody has not only a good time, but nobody feels left out, and I can make sure that everyone has their individual questions answered.  

    We do a really good lunch: I think people are here to enjoy themselves as much as to learn something new, so we put on a delicious lunch of locally made food - quiche from At The Chapel, cheese from Kimbers Farm Shop, salad from Charles Dowding, and the famous amaretti biscuits and chocolate brownies made by our friend and neighbour Declan Farrell, who doesn't have a website so select is his list of customers.  

    We teach in the round...

  • Places to stay when you come to Common Farm Flowers for a workshop

    Places to stay when you come to Common Farm Flowers for a workshop

    We are lucky to live in this thriving little corner of Somerset where there is so much to see and do as well as come on a workshop here at Common Farm Flowers.  People come to take our day courses from near and far, and the far flung travellers always need somewhere to stay.  Where can we recommend?  Well, the following list is by no means exhaustive, but our students always find them warm and welcoming and arrive rested and ready for a learning day.

    At The Chapel, High St Bruton: quite a high-end option, perhaps something of a treat if you're turning your trip into a bit of a mini-break.  The rooms are part of the restaurant/bakery/bar which is the thriving hub of fashionable Bruton's busy life.  Ask for a room away from the high street, looking over the roof tops of the town and the river and up to Bruton's signature dove cote.  

    The Oak House, Combe Lane, Bruton: This lovely old pub has been...

  • Why use lots of foliage with your wedding flowers?

    Why use lots of foliage with your wedding flowers?

    I'm a big fan of using lots of foliage with all my flower designs.  Why?  Because the foliage gives the flowers something to show up against, but also, foliage is luxurious, and gives a real herbaceous border feel to the flowers you choose.  Often we do flowers for weddings which are set in real gardens, either private, or in the gardens of hotels or gorgeous venues which have lush outside spaces.  Using lots of foliage in our wedding flowers mixes seems to really bring the garden into the event.  I'm no fan of flowers looking stiff and too arranged, and giving them a good bed of foliage to nestle in, stops any possibility of their looking like bedding in a municipal planting scheme.  

    Foliage doesn't have to be dull, or green.  We grow quite a lot of dark, moody foliage, which goes with other things like ivy beautifully, giving a greater depth of field to a look, and framing flowers with a bit of dark glow, and we grow a great many green flowers, like amaranthus and Bells of Ireland, which have a very fresh, light green zing, and wh...

  • Flower Farmer on Tour at Hauser and Wirth Bruton

    Flower Farmer on Tour at Hauser and Wirth Bruton

    I'm looking forward to a trip to our friends and neighbours at Hauser and Wirth in Bruton who are holding a garden festival tomorrow.  Along with Charles Dowding, Habitat Aid, Saskias Essences and I'm sure more, I'm popping up with a little stall of goodies and giving a talk around late lunchtime about growing, cutting and arranging with home-grown flowers.  I'll have lots of flaars with me for my flowery demonstration, and hope to see some of you there too.  Do come and say hello.  It's always fun at Hauser and Wirth, and the Roth Bar and Grill coffee's pretty good too.  

    ...
  • Questions to ask before deciding to do your own wedding flowers

    Questions to ask before deciding to do your own wedding flowers

    Questions to ask before deciding to do your own wedding flowers.

    It's undeniably fun to do your own wedding flowers, and an achievement which you can be proud of for the rest of your life.

    But before you decide to grow or order buckets of flowers for you to arrange for your big day, there are a good few points I recommend you think about.

    • Have you done any floristry before?  If not then do just pop out into your garden and cut enough flowers that you think will make up one of your table centres.  Put them into water, give them a good long drink, and then arrange them in the kind of container you had in mind for your flowers.  As you make your table centre, count the stems you're using, and keep an eye on how many 'hero' flowers (roses/dahlias/tulips) you're using, how much filler, and how much foliage.  Time this whole process.  This will give you an idea of how much time you'll need for doing your own table centres.  Say it takes you half an hour to make your table centre, and you have twelve tables at ...
  • A taster for our Styling workshop

    A taster for our Styling workshop

    A taster for our Styling workshop.  A guest post from Amanda Russell, our tutor on the day.

    We all want our home to look wonderful, and project our personality without making any costly mistakes.  As an interior stylist working on magazines and in interior design, I believe that everyone has their own unique style: but pin-pointing it can be a tricky one, with so many visual influences out there tempting you down different avenues.  Just now plants are having a moment - we all love a bit of greenery in our home.  To help you firm up your style identity, I've put together a few simple styling tricks to set you on the right track when you're working with plants.

    • House plants are slow growing, and can make a room appear static and repetitious.  Ring the changes: breathe new life into a space by using plants as props, and showing off your chosen hero object at its best.  The styling hero can be anything that takes your fancy.  I dip into my shop where i stock vintage ceramics, vases vessels and figures.  You might...
  • The change your life series.

    The change your life series.

    The change your life series.

    It seems to me that the world is in flux, and the UK especially.   

    And I'm lucky to have a lovely big barn to which I can invite people to teach and take part in workshops.

    So this autumn I'm hosting a series of workshops for people who don't want to waste another moment: for people who know they could make more of their house, their travel bug, their camera: who want to write a blog about their experiences, potentially turn that into cash flow, who have an instagram feed which they know they could make more of: for people who have something to say, something to give, and a strong urge to start making more of their lives before they wake up and find they've missed their boat!

    So come to travel writing and photography, come to lifestyle blogging, come and learn to style your house.  We have flower farming and we have kitchen table business workshops.  These are all laid on because life is for the grabbing now, because post Brexit we're going to have to be clever about earning a living, because the art...

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