Well hello friends! And welcome to all the fun and frolics promised by a new year and a new decade. 2020 is a particularly exciting year for us, for on 1st April Common Farm Flowers will be ten years old – an actual miracle in my eyes, but in fact the result of taking all the lessons from the steepest learning curve and putting them into practise.
You can skip some of the agony we went through by coming on any or all of our small business workshops this year: from growing your kitchen table business, through social media for small businesses, photography styling for small businesses and even now to a workshop for people who want to hold workshops themselves, and of course, the principles involved in flower farming for people considering a career change, to our intensive three day flower farming workshop in August. I believe strongly in properly sharing information. You will never leave a workshop at Common Farm thinking there’s something I haven’t quite said, or you’ve been given half the story. And never fear, at our workshops there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Where reality is concerned I pull no punches, and I’m generous with all the information we have learned over the years, and while often people are here to follow their dream, I think my job is to facilitate that realistically – I don’t pretend that any of the subjects we teach are easy, or require no time, or will just happen in an instant perfection sort of way. Our groups of students are rarely more than ten at a time which means we can always teach round a table, which is much more inclusive than in serried rows, and with our small groups there’s time and room for all sorts of questions. Delicious vegetarian lunches are supplied by The Kitchen at Kimbers, our village farm shop, and there are lots of great places to stay nearby, from At the Chapel, Number One Bruton, and The Oak House in Bruton, to cheery air b&bs like this new one at a friend’s cosy farmhouse in the next village
Meanwhile we are booking lots of weddings in for the summer. Our main image above gives you an inkling of what late summer wedding flowers might look like when grown on our Somerset flower farm. Again, I believe that the way to achieving the most dreamy of wedding flowers is through straightforward thinking, strict budget setting, and realistic management of time and resources. We love to work on big, flamboyant weddings, but we love more intimate events too, and we really love working with people who have a budget to stick to, and are prepared to get involved to help make their own day special. No two weddings are the same and it is our pleasure to make sure that each day is magical whether the budget is five hundred or five thousand pounds.
And as of this week we start sending out flowers again for celebrations, congratulations, commiserations – there are a myriad of reasons for sending flowers, and the lovely thing about our flowers is that they are all grown in the UK, in the summer by us, and in the winter by our Cornish and Lincolnshire colleagues. While of course there are ethical growers around the world, we find that simply squaring the area within which we can source stock saves us having to research each and every supplier, and being more strict with stock makes us more imaginative with flowers which are always absolutely seasonal for where we live. Our flowers have never seen the inside of an airplane and are always fresher by days than flowers flown in from distant lands. Like going floral foam free, which we did last year, we find that putting strict parameters around the material we can use, and the way we can use it, makes us more creative, makes us think outside the box, and prevents us from giving in to the temptation to be samey.
We try and keep things simple: our bouquets have fifty, seventy five, or ninety+ stems in them. The stems we choose depend entirely on the week and the season, and so we are free to use our creativity, while always being generous (I don’t know where else you can get a 50 stem bouquet delivered anywhere in the UK for £60 including delivery and VAT!)
And so I had better wind up, for the garden calls loudly with many jobs to do.
Happy new year all! Georgie x