In the same way that there's no point in trying to make a small room look larger by paining it a light colour, there's no point in trying to compete with a massive empty space by stuffing it with flowers. A massive empty space is a massive empty space. However, an intimate ceremony happening inside a massive empty space can be framed carefully with flowers - though I still say don't fight with the space, don't compete with it. Make lovely flowers to frame the ceremony and let the space be what it is.
And so it is with the Radic Pavillion in the Piet Oudolf garden at Hauser and Wirth just outside Bruton in somerset. The Radic Pavillion is like a giant, empty dinosoar egg at the top of the garden, a huge, hollowed out space with nothing in it but rows of chairs for your wedding ceremony, and maybe a table if you ask for one. The view faces through trees and over hedges towards the little Somerset town of Bruton, and the sun sets in the view, as wedding ceremonies always happen there towards the end of the day (the garden being open to the public until 4pm.)
Here's a beautiful pedestal arrangement made for a June wedding at East Pennard House (a stunning wedding and event's venue near Shepton mallet in Somerset.)
I love creating wedding flowers with the gorgeous blooms we grow here on our flower farm between Bruton and Wincanton in Somerset, and I love best that no two schemes are ever the same. Because we grow most of the stock we use in our wedding flowers, no matter what the colour scheme, the look, while always classic English country wedding flowers, does change from week to week. In June, when these flowers were created, the tree foliage is still very fresh and green and makes a great background to the flowers. We create herbaceous border style arrangements, and so the look is always quite luxurious and rich, and in June the roses are at their best, and because we grow our own, we can have these long, bendy stems with more than one head of rose on them for our focal arrangements.
The bride had a largely blue bouquet with sweet peas and roses and larkspur and cornflowers, the flower girl, wearing dark bl...
Top tip when cutting garden flowers: take a bucket of water to the plant and cut straight into water so that the flower doesn't even have a chance to realise its been cut before it's being given a lovely long drink. Never allow a flower stem to dry out when you cut it - that's what'll make it flop when you do eventually put it in water. For many more top tips... come along to our posy tying and garden floristry workshop next week!
People often say to me that they struggle with flowers they cut from their garden: they find that their flowers flop quickly, that they are difficult to arrange, they daren't cut their garden flowers for fear their gardens will look shorn afterwards.
Spend a day with us next Tuesday and I'll show you how to cut flowers successfully, how to stop them flopping before you've had a chance to arrange them, and how to make lovely garden arrangements for your own house or as presents for your friends.
We spend the morning tootling round all our acres of cut flowers with a trolley filled with buckets of water and you can cu...
I've been meaning to post about the royal wedding flowers ever since the big day, but we have been busy ourselves (ahem!) and so this at last is my first slow Friday for months and I'm playing catch up. I thought Philippa Craddock and her team did the most incredible job creating flowers for Megham and Harry's wedding - they were stunning! AND the most important thing about them, I think, was that they were done without using flower foam.
When booking your wedding flowers do have a think about how the designs are created, and if your florist suggests working without flower foam do go with them. Flower foam is made out of the same material as plastic bags and takes as long to biodegrade (practically an eternity!) Creating flower installations without flower foam makes a much lighter look, and allows a much more country feel as you can use flowers which wouldn't last a minute in foam. This, of course, is great for country flower growers like us as we delight in creating with flowers which really have just been brought in from the garden.
So when you...
Sometimes we just give in and do things for fun. And this weekend planned for the end of July this year is one of those times.
Really arranged so that our great friend artist Katie James can spend the weekend painting pictures of the flower farm along with Fabrizio Bocca (my other half,) and various other friends, we've invited NEAC (New English Art Club) member Alex Fowler to come and lead a weekend's painting pictures of, in and around our flower farm between Bruton and Wincanton, Somerset.
If the weather's glorious then painters can set up their easels all over the farm, to paint the flowers, but also the wildflower meadow, the orchards, the strong shapes made by the avenues of trees and sweeps of hedge... and if the weather's terrible then we'll just cut all the flowers in the garden and bring them into the studio where people can paint them.
It's been a dream of ours for years to open the garden to ...
Hurrah! It's British flowers week again - THE week in which we flower growers and specialist florists take the opportunity to showcase our work all over the place. So I thought I might give you a couple of paragraphs on how we began and what we do here.
Common Farm Flowers grew out of a desire to create an eco-paradise, abuzz with bees and butterflies, on our seven acre smallholding between Bruton and Wincanton in Somerset. We started assuming we'd be more traditional smallholders, fattening pigs and keeping chickens and maybe stalling out at farmers' markets with fruit and veg. But we soon found that we couldn't bear to send the pigs to slaughter, that the fox was a keen thief of our chickens, and that we were better at growing sweet peas than cabbages. So when a neighbour sent me a bouquet of flowers through the post I was inspired: I could grow flowers and sell them! This was eight years and two months ago, and we now send about 1,600 bouquets by post per year, supply flowers for between fifty and sixty weddings, and I teach and give talks and garden tours etc...
Wedding flowers preparation here at Common Farm Flowers near Bruton in Somerset is the equivalent of our rubbing our creative hands with glee each Monday morning through the season.
Whether the wedding be a dinky little intimate number, like the one illustrated here, or, buckets of mixed flowers for the couple to arrange themselves, or a full Fragonard (which is the description we use for a huge, extravagant installation,) on Monday morning Sharon and I get out the orders. We then walk around the garden, making sure we have what we need for each event growing happily in the borders. We earmark this lilac or blossom or tulip or forget me not for each event, making a cutting list as we go so that we have an idea of what we'll be cutting for each event on Thursday.
Then, back in the studio we check ribbon, vases, jars, candles, making sure there'll be no last minute panics when it comes to creating the flowers on Friday.
We grow most of the flowers we use in our wedding flowers through the summer, but when we don't think we have enough, we call on one ...
Hello strangers. I haven't posted in forever, which is naughty, I know. This is just a quick one too, in a horribly busy week, to say I'm giving talks and demos on growing, cutting and arranging country flowers at the Country Living Fair in London town this week. I'll be there on Friday and Saturday, talking twice both days, so do have a look at their schedule for timings and come and find me at the garden theatre if you're going to be there.
I love the Country Living Fair - always such a great crowd! So see some of you there I hope. I'll be the one pulling a trolley filled with buckets of flowers around with me and wearing a Common Farm Flowers apron. I'll have compost, seeds, tulips, camassia, forget me nots, cowslips, ranunculus, and all sorts of goodies to play with. And I'll be sowing seeds and making beautiful country flowers hand-ties and showing you how you can too....
Our village plant sale is coming up on 12th May this year. And to that end we're sowing lots of extra seed for sale on the day. And today we chop up a load of dahlia tubers to pot up for the sale. Our lovely new volunteer starts today, and her first job is going to be to help cut up the tubers which have over-wintered in our neighbour Sally's barn. These will be potted up and hopefully cheerfully sprouting by the time we have our plant sale on 12th May.
We're raising money to mend a hole in the roof of our eight hundred year old village church, St Stephen's, and we're hoping to beat last year's total of £1,300.
We sell all plants at £1 a pot, and hope that lots of you will bring your spare seedlings and cuttings to donate to the cause. There will, of course, be lots of tea and cake too, as well as an amazing raffle.
So while you create your own garden this year, do remember our plant sale, and put aside your spare seedlings for us. We love interesting perennial cuttings, split plants, trays of spare tomato plants, cosmos seedlings. We al...
We are very conscious that there are new data protection laws coming in to effect on 25th May this year. And to make sure we are absolutely compliant with the law, we are doing something DRASTIC! We are wiping our old mailing lists and making a completely new one, so that we can be absolutely sure we are up to date with all the laws of the land.
Our mailshot goes out twice a month: one is long, chatty, full of gardening tips and a great competition, and the second is really just to remind you we're there and perhaps inspire you to come on a workshop or a tour. We don't clog your inbox by any means, and we aim to amuse, inspire, and inform with our newsletters.
So if you're already signed up for our newsletter, and would like to keep receiving them, then please sign up again here. Equally, if you've never received our newsletter, then I recommend it, and you could sign up