Georgie's Blog

  • Dream Holiday to Venice

    Dream Holiday to Venice

    I have a new way to give myself things to look forward to.  I have discovered the great joy of taking a child on a city break.  At last my kids are a bit older and up for walking, able to read (relatively effectively) a map, can be bribed with ice cream to look at quite a lot of art, and won't become unbearable to be with if they get ever so slightly less than full twelve hours sleep at night.  So, to celebrate my fiftieth and the Bear's tenth birthdays, the two of us went to Venice.  

    I'd anticipated the trip would be expensive, but it was breathtakingly so.  Still, I don't regret a single euro spent.  From the arrival via water taxi (as expensive as one night in our hotel!) to the hop-on-hop-off convenience of the water buses; from the glorious mix of modern art at Peggy Guggenheim's lovely cool, white, house (a welcome contrast with all the renaissance gilding,) to the sun rising over the lagoon as we made our way early enough to be first in to the Doge's Palace on Saturday morning, the whole thing was breathtaking.  Even the €33 ...

  • The future of our ancient church of St Stephen

    The future of our ancient church of St Stephen

    The future of our ancient church of St Stephen

    We are fortunate in this little village of Charlton Musgrove in Somerset.  We have an ancient church in which to worship.  It is tiny: eighty people make a squash inside.  But it is also exquisite in its simplicity and its sense of deep calm.  

    I don't know about you, but I'm always in a mad rush, I am a bustler; busying about the place, trying to arrive on time, but not early, to pack in as much as I can in a minute for fear of waste.  But I arrive at St Stephen's, and I step into its cool, calm interior, and it's as though there's something there to stop me at the door: an invisible force, like a secret security guard whose job it is to make me take a breath, stop me bustling, calm me down, slow my step.  By the time I've taken my place my heart rate's slowed, my blood pressure's lowered, I look at the dust motes dancing a graceful minuet in the light streaming through the windows, I raise my head and take in the painted beams in the vaulted ceiling, I notice the posy of wild fr...

  • There's no such thing as a quiet week at this flower farm.

    There's no such thing as a quiet week at this flower farm.

    I haven't been able to blog for months while our new website has been settling in. But today I'm giving it a go for the first time in ages. While the blog's been out of action we certainly haven't, and this week at Common Farm Flowers has been pretty typical! Starting last Saturday morning we had a pop up shop at the Roth Bar and Grill at the amazing Hauser and Wirth gallery just this side of Bruton where we sold flowers and books and postcards and gardening gloves surrounded by the current exhibition of Elisabeth Frink sculpture. The Hauser and Wirth exhibitions never fail to amaze, and this one was almost comforting too: do you know that feeling when you come face to face with real art which you know well through books and posters, art you've seen all your life, but never SEEN? The Frinks at Hauser and Wirth are gorgeous, tactile, less massive somehow than I thought they'd be... I LONGED to touch them. The awful truth is that without popping up at the Roth Bar I might have missed this show altogether, so I'm grateful for having been invited, and I don't mind a bit that we had to...

  • How to find time to write a novel

    How to find time to write a novel

    At last! All Desires Known is out! Now, for those of you who know me well, you'll know that at heart I AM a novelist.

    At heart I spend my days closeted in a perfectly appointed room of my own, quiet reigning, dust motes dancing in shafts of sunlight, my mind alive with stories pouring in perfectly violet prose onto the page, three thousand words a day, followed by a bout of serious gardening for the good of my figure, my health, my heart, my brain....and to make room for more words to start bouncing about in my head. 

    But of course this is a dream.


  • Now we are 6! And thank you....

    Now we are 6! And thank you....

    Can it be possible? I feel as though Common Farm Flowers has been my life for EVER, and yet, in other moods, it’s existed but for the blink of an eye. 

    We bought this soggy patch of clay in 2004 thinking we’d be market gardeners of some sort. Clearly we knew NOTHING about gardening, or we’d NEVER have bought this clay voluntarily with the thought of growing quick turnaround crops on it. It was a green desert – acres of thick, cattle-feeding rye grasses with odd stretches of fencing criss-crossing the land. 

    So first we planted hedges - Fabrizio wanted a place he could call hedge world – to break up the space and make some wind breaks. Then we got pigs to work over the space we’d make into a veg patch. Then we had our first child and the pigs became sausages, and the veg was delicious…


  • Spring wedding flowers for North Cadbury Court

    Spring wedding flowers for North Cadbury Court

    People think that March can be a tough month for choices when it comes to British grown, English country wedding flowers. I beg to differ. 

    With all the promise of spring in the fat buds on the trees, pussy willow, helebores, Lincolnshire tulips, Cornish narcissi and ranunculus, I think March is a magical time to be married. This bride came to see us last autumn planning her spring wedding. She wanted her flowers to look as though they'd come fresh from a garden: unstructured posies full of life and promise. She wanted scent (which we gave her with narcissi,) and when I showed her pictures of spring ranunculus which she could have from our Cornish growers she immediately stopped being wistful about English grown roses being out of season for her wedding. She wanted locally grown flowers, no imports. She wanted scent, and life. 


  • How to budget for your wedding flowers

    How to budget for your wedding flowers

    Weddings are expensive activities and the more you plan where the budget is going to be spent, the better you can control the cost of your big day. 

    As soon as the excitement of getting engaged dies down, I would make yourself a spreadsheet. Don't roll your eyes at me - I mean it!This spread sheet will be the document on which all your wedding planning can rest. On it I would put every single thing you think you might find yourself spending on to make your wedding dream come true.

    Put everything you've ever dreamed of on the list: from the obvious dress, caterers, wine, cars, photographer, hair dresser, florist, to those little details which you've always fancied: wedding favours, lavender to scatter on the path to the reception, fresh petal confetti, your grandmother's pearls restrung especially so you can borrow them for the day.


  • Putting the wild back into flower farming

    Putting the wild back into flower farming

    You know how it is when suddenly an apparently random subject just keeps on coming up? 

    Well, over the past few weeks I keep on hearing people holding forth on how to maximise flower production at flower farms.

    They talk of how to only grow flowers which will last weeks in vases, how to compete with huge mulitinational flower growing corporations in order to be a 'proper' flower farmer, and it seems to me that the way people try and do this is usually by de-wilding the space they have, joining a race to supply the cheapest flowers to the maximum number of people, often dunked in chemicals you wouldn't want to breathe the gas from on a daily basis... 


  • Ordering cut flower seed

    For more on growing cut flowers for fun, for weddings and special events, and even how to be an artisan flower farmer like me, come on a workshop here at Common Farm Flowers near Bruton in Somerset. 

    If you can't come on a workshop here to learn more then I thought I'd start the gardening year on the blog with a few tips for making your seed order for your cut flower patch this 2016.

    So here are my very favourite tips for managing the ordering and sowing of your flower seeds - which will hopefully see you grow a very successful cut flower patch this year. 


  • Themed wedding flowers by a seasonal florist

    Themed wedding flowers by a seasonal florist

    Here at Common Farm Flowers we love to do ALL kinds of wedding flowers: from working with the budget bride making DIY posies with buckets of flowers we supply, to clients who ask us to design what I call the Full Fragonard, a luxurious wedding flowers scheme indulging flights of fancy and working hard to make the bride's dreams come true. 

    Often, when we plan to install a huge, luxurious scheme, we make a good, but still rough plan, and give the bride a budget, but it's understood that we'll have to play the design aspect a little by ear.


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