Flower farmer on tour
Sometimes we just have a really fun day, for the fun of it. And today was just one such.
Some weeks ago a chap called Charlie from Escape to the Country called to say they wanted to film the flower farm for inspiration for a lovely couple moving from Essex to Somerset, and could we show them our wild flower meadows? Well, we love nothing more than to show people our meadows, and hopefully inspire them to grow a bit of meadow for themselves. And so this morning a cheery team appeared and we filmed all over the garden and the meadow, collecting seed, sniffing the sweet peas, looking at the wild orchids, talking about wilding projects near and far, and how a wildflower meadow helps feed all the food chain, us included, because, as Fabrizio always says, if you look after the invertebrates the rest of the food chain will look after itself.
It was great to see Common Farm Flowers a little bit through other peoples' eyes - and what these people saw and comented on were the bees and the butterflies. Suddenly I saw them afresh too. I know I get nose blind to...
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....
This flower farmer is going on quite a tour this year. With over fifty dates for talks, demos, workshops, garden tours, here at the flower farm, and at lots of WIs and Horticultural and Flower groups around the country, it's going to be busy. Keep an eye on the blog and social media and I'll always mention where I'm going next, and you can always book a workshop or a tour here by going to our workshop calendar on our website.
I'm starting the year at Charlton Musgrove Village hall on Friday 2nd Feb giving a Growing Cut Flower for Pleasure and Profit talk in aid of the Raise the Roof Appeal for our village church. St Stephen's has thirteenth century origins, and is a building which has served this community for eight hundred years, and it's in need of a bit of tlc (it has a hole in the roof, and while we're at it we might add a lavatory to the facilities, and perhaps a place where we can boil a kettle or wash up a wine glass...)
There'll be cheese (...
It's the Hauser and Wirth Somerset Christmas Fair tomorrow in the cosy courtyard where the Roth Bar and Grill will keep us all supplied with warm wine and mince pies I've no doubt.
We'll be there with flowers to buy and to order for Christmas delivery, as well as all sorts of flowery usefulness like scissors and buckets and vases and wreath bases and Alpacca poo fertiliser and gardening gloves and post cards and books and our very first specially made aprons (perfect for flower farmer and florists everywhere - I count myself a bit of an apron aficianado you know.)
So bring great wads of hard cash (as we can't take cards when we're not at Common Farm) and solve a great swathe of your Christmas shopping list at our stall.
See you tomorrow!
And if you can't make it to Bruton in Somerset tomorrow, then do order all your Christmas goodies from us via our website. We have plenty to choose from.
And thank you....
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....
Come on down to the Parham House Garden Festival on Sunday this week (9th July) and say hello. I'll be demonstrating with my lovely garden flowers, talking about how we grow, cut, condition and arrange our flowers, how we keep our garden flowering all season long, and hoping to see a few of you there.
Parham House is privately owned and not often open as the family, not surprisingly, like to live there and spend time there themselves. The gardens are absolutely amazing, and they have fascinating trials throughout the season, testing different varieities of flowers for performance when cut.
Follow their head gardener @headgardenertom on Twitter for regular updates on how the Parham House garden grows, and come on down to the garden festival this weekend. For me it's a heavenly drive across country from here, early in the morning, on a Sunday, feeling as though i have all the world to myself. And when I get there, hopefully I'll see some of you there toom
Best wishes, and see you on Sunday!...
I'm at the Bishop's Palace Garden Festival in Wells today giving a talk and demo with my lovely fresh country flowers (which I must pop out and cut next!) I'm on at 1pm and would love to see some of you there. Do come and say hello.
This picture is of the cut we made for the little wedding we did yesterday. I'll be bringing along some of these, talking about how we grow, where we grow, how we cut, condition, arrange......
Surviving RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Doing Chelsea sucessfully requires a combination of determination, sharp elbows, careful editing of what there is to see, and good cashflow.
This week promises to be HOT at Chelsea, and HOT London is pretty darned tropical for we country souls used at least for room for a breeze to keep our necks cool, even if our feet are hot.
So how to survive The Chelsea Flower Show, and make sure you see everything?
Get there early - like 8am. Then it's just you, the photographers, the gardeners polishing their footpaths. You'll be able to actually get close enough to see the gardens, and a lot of the stallholders won't have opened up yet, so you won't find yourself spending too much money.
Take water. A bottle of water bought at the Chelsea Flower Show will cost a breathtaking amount when you could take it along for free.
Wear comfortable shoes. Those pavements are hard on the feet and it's only in the floral marquee that there's any give under foot.
Wear a hat. This week ...
Well it’s been a glorious spring - and I hope it’s going to be a glorious summer. Can it already be May? It’s planting out a go-go here, despite there being no rain to speak of. There’s a tunnel full of new dahlias waiting for the 1st June and planting out day. And in the cold frames more and more plants fattening up nicely for our charity plant sale on 6th May. And in the studio we have lots of goodies piling up for the plant sale raffle.
Plant sale? You say… I know, don’t we all love a plant sale? Well, for more info on what we’re raising money for have a read of my blog post here. And if you don’t really mind what we’re raising money for but just fancy coming alon...
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 ...