Farewell to Winter Newsletter

As I start to write this on the last (very blustery) day of March we can finally say farewell (and good riddance) to Winter! For me there is no other season as exciting as Spring, it quite literally puts the spring back into my step once I can see the garden and hedgerows coming back to life and can get my hands in the soil again. That is not to say I do not look forward to and appreciate every season. Come Autumn I am always looking forward to a little bit of a break and rest over Winter, and every year it never happens! Someone did ask me the other day, "so what do you do in Winter? ", I shall stretch the answer to 'what have our members, including me been doing over winter'.......

L-R we have The British Flower Collective Members...James from Flowers by Clowance, Toria fromFlowers from the Plot, Becca from The Garden Gate Flower Company, Amanda from Amanda Taffinder Flowers, Thomas from Thomas Broom - the Florist, Mari from Roswartha flower farm, Sarah from Simply by Arrangement, Maz from The Garden Gate Flower Company, Tammy from Wild Bunch, Kay from Martin and the Magpie, Chloe from BareBlooms, Susanne from The Blue Carrot, Jay from Jay Archer Floral design
Image thanks to Lucy Wallace Photography.

The beginning of February saw what has become an annual pilgrimage to Cullompton in Devon for the South West Meet up of flower farmers, florists and British Flower lovers. Organised by the south west representatives of Flowers from the Farm. Above you can see a lovely image by Lucy Wallace Photography of the British Flower Collective members that I could manage to round up/persuade to have their picture taken! 
After the success of last years idea to make a weekend of it in a self catering barn near by, I decided to book the barn again and invite other lovely flowery people to join me. The perfect way to make new friends. 

I've been taking advantage of the lull in wedding and gardening commitments to get out and about a bit visiting Members and organising meet ups. 

 Left image top ) - Midlands Members meet up with Hannah from Bride and Bloom, Emily from Emily Wisher Artisan Florist, Carol from Tuckshop Flowers, Kathryn from Shelsley Herbs & Flowers, Breige from Flowers by Breige, Rachel from Catkin Flowers. We had a lovely meet up for some super delicious lunch at, the highly recommended, Fusca in Ryton on Dunsmore. 
(Right image top) - Myself, Tom from Thomas Broom - the Florist and Lindsey from The White Horse Flower Company decided to drop in and visit Kay and Martin at their gorgeous shop, Martin and the Magpie in Hungerford. 
(bottom images) - Kay was kind enough to then take us to have a nose aroundMartin and the Magpies enviable walled garden where the sweet rocket (pictured) was looking very healthy and Blanche (Toms dog) did a fantastic job of photo bombing. 

Jo at Floral Circus has been very busy with her floral couture. Her winter shoot 'keeper of the trees' was featured over on Flowerona and check out this stunning Spring outfit by Jo. 

Images Gabrielle McMillan

Jo is taking part in this years Chelsea Fringe. Chelsea Fringe is an alternative garden festival with a focus on community and inclusivity. it runs from 16th May to 6th June, spanning Chelsea Flower Show. It's billed as a funky celebration of all things horticultural where anything goes, the more creative the better.  
Chelsea Fringe pop up all over the country and beyond, even Japan! This year will see the first in Henley with a Floral Flotilla launching the festival on 16th May. Juliet of Babylon Flowers and Jo are going to be creating a community art project of suspended flowers from the bandstand at Mill Meadows by the river on that day, with schools getting involved making hand made flowers to tie within the installation.
Jo will also be hosting an evening event of Floral Couture and Cocktails as part of the Chelsea Fringe. 

The British Flower Collective member Susanne from The Blue Carrot escaped the gloom of the British Weather to run a workshop with The Love Affair in Tuscany. You can read about it over on their blog, depending on how good your Italian is!

Susanne and the attendees - images by Elisabetta Marzetti 

The British Flower Collective Member Tammy from Wild Bunch was lucky enough to enrol on the workshop and she created the beauty below. 

image by Nadia Meli

It wouldn't be a Newsletter without our regular ditty from Victoria in Shropshire. Congratulations to Victoria and Barney who have had a busy Winter germinating more than just flowers! .......

March in The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court

We went to the garden one Sunday afternoon in late March to pick a posy of flowers to take to a friend's for tea. There was an open garden day at Stokesay Court, and the grounds were scattered with groups of happy people pottering about amidst the green and yellow clouds of wild daffodils. We opened the door to the walled garden and sneaked inside, locking it behind us. Everywhere were signs of life and loveliness to come – fat promising leaf buds on rose bushes and unfurling columbine leaves in the borders – but not many flowers yet for picking. We gathered a posy of speckly pink and white hellebores, starry cherry plum blossom, three stems of fragrant peachy stocks that had got ahead of themselves in the polytunnel, and a fistful of narcissi 'Thalia', still in bud. We've learned through experience that it is better not to mix narcissi with other flowers in the vase, as the leaky sap from the stems will kill the other flowers. However, blossom and hellebores have such a short vase life once cut that we thought it would make little difference; and Rosie would have the lovely scented, airy creamy white flowers of 'Thalia' to look forward to when the blossom was over. We wrapped the posy with torn sari silk and took it to tea. Rosie had made a magnificent Victoria sponge cake, and decorated it with primroses.

Victoria - The Flower garden at Stokesay Court

Workshops/Courses


'Herbs and handties' with Rachel from Catkin 21st April, 10am - 4pm.

'Arranging Flowers' with Jo from Floral Circus - 22nd April, 

 'The Joy of Spring' Flowers Workshop' 02, with Tammy from Wild Bunch 28th April, 10.30am -2.30pm. 

'Flower farming for beginners' with Georgie from Common Farm Flowers 29th April, 10am-4pm.

'Arranging with garden style' with Jo from Floral Circus 29th April, 10am-3pm

'Growing your own cutting garden from seeds and bulbs'  with Claire fromPlantpassion 29th April, 10am - 1pm.

'Posy tying and silver flower necklace workshop' with Common Farm Flowers - 5th May, 10am-3pm.

'Bloom Brigade' Flower Club with Jo from Floral Circus, next one 6th May, 6.30pm

'Flower Crowns' with Claire from Garden & Wild 31st May, 11am-3pm.

'Floral Couture and Cocktails'  with Floral Circus 3rd June, 7.30-10pm (part of the Chelsea Fringe).

'Hand tied Bouquet' with Claire from Garden & Wild 6th June, 11am-3pm

'Posy tying workshop' with Common Farm Flowers 9th June, 10am-2pm.

'Pick your own Posy' with Claire from Plantpassion 10th June, 9.30am - 12.30 pm. 

'DIY wedding flowers' with Common Farm Flowers 10th June, 10am-2pm.

'DIY wedding flowers' with Claire from Garden & Wild -14th June, 10.30am - 4.30pm

'Rose day' with Rachel from Catkin - 16th June, 10am -3.30pm

'Make your own bouquet, table arrangement, buttonhole, crown...workshops' withSimply by Arrangement 24th April, 15th May, 25th June, full day

Many of our Members, including The Garden gate flower company also offer bespoke 1:1 classes on request. 

You can also keep an eye on our Workshops page for details/links of Workshops/courses from our Members 

As we near the end of the Hellebore season I am amazed that the hashtag#helleboreappreciationsociety that was started in winter 2014 on Instagram byThomas Broom and Lindsey Kitchin with myself quickly becoming honorary member followed swiftly by The garden gate flower company, etc,etc...... has snowballed this year and gone global with Erin from Floret even naming a blog post after it ! Isn't social media a funny, amazing thing! 

Other Flower News/Links/Dates for the diary


You can find out what the Garden Gate Flower Company girls get up to in the winter by reading their 'behind the scene' guest blog on Flowerona

Carole from Tuckshop flowers will be part of the Flowers from the Farm stand at Gardeners World live this year at the NEC (11th-14th June). You can read about it over on her blog

Don't forget it is British Flowers Week on the 15-20th June. This year New Covent Garden Flower Market have set up a dedicated website with all the details.  

Watch this space for a new website from Thomas Broom - the Florist or is that Thomas Bloom ?!! 

Jay Archer launches the Jay Archer Floral Design flower school.

New Members 


We are very pleased to round up this Newsletter with a big welcome to our New Members

Shelsley Herbs and Flowers 
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Branch-Out MK CIC
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Florist in the Forest
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Fox and Cat Flowers
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Frances & Rose
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The Garden Room
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I hope you have all had a restful Easter break and are enjoying the sound, smell and sights of Spring. 
If you are interested in becoming a member than please take a look at our websitefor details and a contact form. 

Chloe (BareBlooms

Farewell to Autumn Newsletter

Brrrrrrr, I know in astronomical terms it isn't officially winter until the shortest day but with the frosts and icy winds that have blown in I certainly feel like Autumn has now departed. So welcome to our Autumn Newsletter a little round up of what has been happening with our Members during the Autumn months. 

November in The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court


Glorious golden sunshine pours into the garden and streams through the emptying beds, silhouetting the hazy shapes of artichokes, willow herb, lavender and verbena.  All is still and peaceful, apart from the occasional bang of a gun, and a red admiral butterfly finding the last of the nectar from the scabious flowers.  All the dahlias have finally finished now, chrysanthemums too, and the only flowers left are the nerines, which I don't like to pick yet because I want them to bulk up and make more flowers next year.  For the rest of this month we will be hacking our way into the jungly rose garden, clearing the culinary blackberries which live there, cutting back the roses a little, clearing the weeds and mulching the ground.  I love working in the garden at this time of year, when all is fading and earthy, imagining the good things that are going to come out of it in the spring.

Victoria

Day out at The Garden Gate Flower Company


Back in October I was lucky enough to have the time to take a mini road trip down to Cornwall to visit Becca and Maz at The Garden Gate Flower Company.

Becca and Maz had orgainsed a get together of fellow flower growers and arrangers at their farm near Fowey, Cornwall. As well as the chance for a good old natter we were allowed to cut from their flower fields and make our own arrangement, with gorgeous cakes and scrumptious soup courtesy of the girls and Becca's Mum, Penny. 
I shared quite a few images from the day, along with some of the arrangements over on our facebook page back in October. If you want to read about the day in more detail (and just one of the advantages of social media) then I suggest you hop over to The White Horse Flower Company blog, where Lindsey summed up the road trip to perfection, and took much better pictures than me ! 

If you fancy visiting the girls on the farm yourselves hop over to The Garden Gate Flower Company website where they have an array of workshops listed from wreath making, one to one, wedding design, as well as a Dutch masters workshop with Arne Maynard in Monmouthshire.

Just some of the lovely ladies (and gentlemen) that took part in The Garden Gate Flower Company fun on the farm! 

L-R = Sara (My Flower Patch), Mari (Roswartha Farm), Maz  (The Garden Gate Flower Company), Susanne (The Blue Carrot), Amanda (Amanda Taffinder Flowers)Lindsey (The White Horse Flower Company)Charlotte (Rock 'n' Rosie)Chloe (BareBlooms)Thomas (Thomas Broom -The Florist)

Image thanks to My Flower Patch

After having such fun in Cornwall and realising how important it is (both personally and for business) to meet up with fellow British flower lovers, I already have my next road trip in the diary. On the 2nd of February there is The South West Growers meet up in Cullompton Devon. I've been to the last two and come away with many new friends and a refreshed enthusiasm for what I do. 
You can find full details of it here , hurry though, James from Clowance Flowersinforms me places are selling fast. I hope to see some of you there. 

The Flower Farmers Year book launch


November saw me hopping on a train for a much shorter journey, down to the big smoke. I was lucky enough to be invited to the book launch of The Flower Farmers Year by The British Flower Collective member, Georgie Newbury.

It is always a pleasure to have an excuse to visit the Garden Museum and what better venue to celebrate Georgie from Common Farm Flowers latest arrival ! 
This book is substantial in size and information. The reader benefits from Georgie's 'hard earned' lessons some of which are in handy 'boxed' easy to find sections. Making this a book that is easy to dip in and out of as a source of reference as well as a enjoyable sit down and read from front cover to back. 
I'd recommend it not only to those who are contemplating starting their journey with growing British flowers. It is also the perfect ingredient for 'old hands' that over the quieter months might have a bit more time to indulge in some reading and need a little ignition to that floral 'mojo' that the cold, damp weather seems to quell. 

If after reading the Flower Farmers Year you are greedy for some 'hands on' experience then we now have a new page to our website containing a list of up and coming courses/workshops from members of The British Flower Collective.

Growers Workshop at Floral Circus


I was off out again at the end of November to South Oxfordshire and the enviable studio of Jo from Floral Circus.
There was a lot of chat, gorgeous food, some wreath making and lots of laughter. You can read all about it over on Jo's blog, which has some professional images of the day from fellow British Flower Collective Member; Bouquets and Blooms. Jo also told us about her and Juliet's recent award............

Award for South Oxfordshire Members of The British Flower Collective

 
Flower grower, Juliet Bennett and floral designer, Jo Wise grabbed the London art scene’s attention with a 12ft high pair angel wings made entirely out of flowers grown in rural Oxfordshire and the UK.
 
Their ambitious art installation, called “I believe in Angels” won Winter Prides Alternative Arts Award at Tobacco Docks in East London this weekend.
 
Juliet, from Babylon Flowers in Watlington and Jo Wise from Floral Circus in Benson are both passionate champions of British-grown flowers, and set out to create a piece of art which was both magical and theatrical, but was also 100% natural.
 
“For me art is heaven sent and can speak to us in ways we can’t put into words.” said Jo Wise. “Mother nature has surrounded us with art. Flowers can lift our spirits, inspire us and take us to a higher place. So angel wings made from flowers seemed to be an embodiment all of those qualities.”
 
For Juliet Bennet, the Winter Pride UK 2014 Art Awards provided the opportunity to push her creative boundaries.“It was an exciting chance to produce something more extraordinary than our usual commissions from clients.” said Juliet. “And I was really excited to take something that is essentially very ‘country’ into the heart of the city.”
 
Juliet and Jo said they were both “truly shocked” to find themselves on the winning podium. But they’re also "incredibly proud" of being able to demonstrate there's so much more to British Flowers than cottage arrangements in jugs. British-grown blooms can be used in many innovative ways to create truly enchanting visual compositions.
 
Click on the names to read interviews with Jo Wise & Juliet Bennet by The Winter Pride Awards 

Juliet and Jo of Babylon Flowers and Floral Circus.                                             Images Ren Brocklehurst. 

New Members


We are delighted to welcome to the Collective...


Wild Flowers Company

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Simply by arrangement

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Constance Rose
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Rosie and Twine
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Mill Pond Flower Farm
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Well Autumn certainly was a busy one. Time (after Christmas) for a little feet up and perusal of those tempting seed catalogues as well as a good front to back read of Georgie's book!

Festive Wishes, hope you get some flowery goodies in your stockings! 

Chloe (BareBloomsThe British Flower Collective)

September Newsletter

As I sit and begin to write this on the Autumnal Equinox it is with equal measures that I mourn the end of summer and welcome the start of a new season. The best thing for me about using seasonal British flowers is that no two months, weeks, or even days are the same. There is always a new bloom, seed head, scent in the air to welcome or look forward to.
Although I will miss the exuberance of the summer blooms, the scent of the Sweet Peas, etc I know that if I experienced them all year round I would not appreciate their beauty and would not long for their arrival again next year. 
For me, this time of year when I can see the end of the wedding season tunnel with the crunch of colourful leaves under foot gives me the chance to sit down for a few moments and contemplate my business, where it is going, where I want to be, what I will do differently next year (there are always lots of things to add to this list!). It looks like Victoria who writes our regular Newsletter feature has also been making some business decisions.....

September at The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court


It's been with a little sadness but a huge feeling of liberation that we've decided to give up our weekly Ludlow market now, in order to concentrate our energies on event flowers and regular local deliveries.  The regret comes from giving up that weekly contact with our local customers which has been so much fun, and which has made us feel like a 'real' local business, with a proper place in the life of the town.  There's always much chatting to be done, about flowers and everything else, and it's a great way of keeping a sense of proportion when the two of us spend most of our time stooped over a flower bed within our garden walls, listening to the dog run about barking at pheasants.  On the other hand, takings for all the stallholders seem to have been going steadily down over the last year, and the energy that we were putting into the market was not always being repaid with profit.  We found it very difficult to charge respectable, florist-level prices on a market stall, and low prices coupled with low footfall have eventually made us see that our energies can be better used elsewhere.  Happily, the tailing off in market interest has coincided with a surge in wedding enquiries and bookings.  While the relationships we build with wedding couples through email exchanges and a few short visits are different to those built up gradually week on week with our local customers, the quantities of flowers involved with decorating a wedding, the time and (we hope!) skill that go into making up the more fiddly bouquets and buttonholes, and the guarantee that the flowers will be wanted once picked and arranged – all these factors mean that party flowers are the way to go for us.

Last year's dahlias were good, but this year's are really stunning.  Dahlias are one of the crops we have decided to focus extra activity on, having noticed how dramatically they respond to a bit of special fuss.  Having planted them (eventually) in holes with bonemeal and garden compost, we then kept them weeded, mulched and fed throughout the summer, and now the big dahlia bed – a stolen third of what was the vegetable garden – is a veritable sea of spiky, pompommy, gregarious colour.  Barney's unpatented sheep wire supports have worked a treat, and the dahlias grow up through the horizontal mesh with no need for tying in.  Special favourites this year include spiky peachy Preference; pink ball-like Peter, the perfect cut flower with it's long stems and longlong lasting qualities; Kafka for its sweet compactness and cheeky purplish bonbon faces; and a mystery old variety, red-and-white bi-coloured in some blooms and blush white in others, which was given to us by a kind elderly neighbour who has since died, aged 96, and whose gift we will treasure – and protect from slugs.  Thank you, Sybil!


Victoria

The end of Summer also seems to be a time when most Brides start making enquires for their weddings next Summer. I am sure many of you have already watched thisvideo by Alison Ellis from Floral Artistry but if not I highly recommend having a look. I guarantee it will instil you with confidence when booking consultations and writing quotes not to undervalue yourself.

I am always casting my eye over our Members social media to keep up to date with the exciting things they are up and the gorgeous work they are creating. I was rather excited (and rather jealous) when I saw that Brittany Asch (BRRCHH) was in the country visiting our Members in the North and South. 
Thank you to Susanne (The Blue Carrot) and Fiona (Pyrus) for sharing a little bit about Brittany's visit with us.......

Amanda (Taffinder) and I had a really great, relaxed afternoon with Brittany. We met at my garden and I let her loose with a pair of snips and a bucket to create something with my flowers. It was so great and inspiring to see someone else play with the fruits of my labour. After that we made a trip to the nearby lost gardens of Heligan. On the way back we popped by Amanda's workshop and walled garden and wondered amongst the roses with a nice glass of wine.
It was fantastic to chat with someone at the top of her game very open and honest about the ups and downs, ins and outs of running a floral design business. It gave me a much needed kick in the backside about self valuation, pricing and confidence. 

Susanne - The Blue Carrot

Pyrus (Nataya and Fiona) with Brittany - images by Nic Rue

 

Earlier this year we were contacted by Brittany Asch of BRRCH; she was planning a UK trip and a mutual flowery contact in NY had suggested she got in touch.  Of course we were delighted to host the Scottish leg of her trip, particularly as she was keen to come along and help with our events (the best assistant we've ever had!).  Amazingly, she landed on the red eye from the US, jumped straight on the train to Edinburgh and within hours found herself on site at a wedding venue in Perthshire.  What began as a loose plan to show her around ended as a week long stint with us with plans to return after she had visited the Highlands.  We had been talking about collaborating on a public botanical installation so, while Brittany explored the rest of Scotland, we arranged for a photographer, film maker and poet to work with us for a day to create a site specific piece on Edinburgh's Royal Mile at the start of the Edinburgh festival.  It was wonderful to work alongside another florist with similar ideas to our own and there was much talk of further collaborations, hopefully stateside next time.  Watch this space! 

Peace Poem

Out of the mouth of the fountain 
Which is your mouth

Out of the mouth of the flower 
Which is your mouth

Out of the mouth of the child 
Whose mouth is yours

One hundred words, one hundred colours, 
One hundreds droplets, one hundred petals
JL Williams

If you missed the lovely video of their installation by altermotive films you can view it here  on their Facebook page. 

Fiona - Pyrus

New Members 


Kate's Cutting Patch
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Bouquets and Blooms
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The Flower Farm
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 News and links from our Members


We could not be more excited and proud to announce that Georgie fromCommon Farm Flowers has a book coming out next month. 

 

The Flower Farmer's Year is released on the 23rd of October and will be available in all good book shops. You can read more about it, including rave reviews by clicking on the image. 

Dreamy imagery of a day in the life or Pyrus and Wild Bunch from Nic Rue 

Don't forget that as many of us are slowing down with cut flowers our lovely members on the Isle of Scily are just beginning to cut the first of the gloriousScented Narcissi 

As I finish putting together this Newsletter I am fresh from a visit to that London where I had the pleasure of attending the Social Media for Florists course run by Flowerona and Fiona Humberstone. It was lovely to see fellow The British Flower Collective Members there; Toria (Flowers from the Plot) and Jo (Floral Circus). It was one of the most beautifully styled workshops I'd ever attended and the food was out of this world, not to mention all the useful tips I have picked up from the wonderful tutors. I think it is going to take a while for all the information to trickle into use, but I have no excuse now not to be using social media to its full potential. Look out for blog posts about the day from Rona and Fiona as well as all the other talented participants. It may have even given me a big enough push to start a blog.......

Chloe - BareBlooms 

May/June Newsletter

Welcome to our little round up of the merry month of May and what is yet to come in June. First of all I want to have a big shout about BRITISH FLOWER week, which this year is from the 16th -20th of June. You can read all about it here over on the New Covent Garden Market website. Keep posted to our facebook page to see what some of our members are up to for it, you may even catch a little competition ! For those of you that missed our April Newsletter let me remind you that Belinda at Chez Fleur is holding a British Flower Festival this Saturday (14th June) you can read about it here 
This month our Member of the Month is Lucinda at Blooms and Bees who had a brush with royalty in May. Over to Lucinda to explain.....

Member of the Month - Blooms and Bees


A couple of months ago I was contacted by an old friend – Richard Fishbourne of Bugs and Beasties (www.bugsandbeasties.co.uk). He was organising an event at the RHS Malvern Flower Festival in the ‘Get Going, Get Growing’ arena and asked me to be involved. I initially said no as I had my first wedding of the year on the Sunday of the show but no didn't seem to be an option and I found myself setting up at Malvern on Wednesday 7th May feeling slightly apprehensive! Richard had also just sprung the news on me that he would be introducing me to HRH Princess Anne on Friday and could I do her a small posy!
Realising that I couldn't do this on my own I roped in my friend Nicola to help and we had an absolutely fantastic time at the show. There was a sense of overwhelming support for the use of seasonal, British flowers and foliage. We had many warm comments about our stall and all the vintage bits and bobs that we displayed flowers and plants in – everyone seemed particularly taken with planted up cups and saucers and teapots. Wedding enquiries came in from London, Cheltenham and North Wales and we were exhausted at the end of each day from talking so much!

Meeting HRH Princess Anne was fantastic and a real honour, she immediately put us at ease and took a keen interest in what we were doing and trying to achieve. We gave her a hand tie of lilac, rosemary, Solomon’s seal, pinks and stocks. It was great to see pictures of her carrying her flowers long after she had left us.
The Sunday morning found us in Coleshill at half past nine at the gorgeous wedding venue, Shustoke barns. www.crippsshustoke.com. This converted barn is a relatively new venue and I had done one wedding there last year not long after they had opened. After dropping the bridal flowers off in the village and finally meeting the lovely bride to be Nina – who had arranged her wedding all the way from Australia we sped back to the barn and arranged 50 jam jars before driving back to Malvern (only getting slightly lost!).
We had left the stall in the capable hands of my mother Sheila and her friend Janet. Mum ended up on stage giving a flower arranging demonstration with Terry Walton. I wish that I could have been there to see it!
Nicola and I have decided to join forces and throughout the four days that we spent in Malvern we came up with loads of ideas and plans for the future – we have already tackled one major job – clearing out my shed and turning it into a dedicated flower arranging area. (Though it does mean I now need another shed for all my pots and tools!).

Lucinda

May with it's five weekends has been a bit of a wedding blur for me, with very little time to sit back and soak up the flora which is filling out my town garden to bursting point; so it is lovely to hear Victoria from The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court describing what has been appearing in her enviable walled garden in Shropshire......

The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court in May


All the good things of the summer begin to show themselves in the garden. Allium globes hover over drifts of catmint and lady's mantle; the young rose bushes grow fat round buds with a tantalising flush of colour; toadflax, lupins and foxgloves send up grateful spires of pink and white and purple; sweet peas offer us the first fragrant flowers to pick; late-planted dahlias (very late) show signs, and we are ever-vigilant against slug-attack. So many of the things we have never grown before. I am so excited to watch and pick the first of the pinkish Gladioli byzantium, which I have only ever seen before in a Greek olive grove. They look so elegant on our market stall in amongst the blowsy late Spring standbys. Allium bulgaricum (Nectaroscordum) looks almost alarming in the Hot border, growing against the tall south facing wall, with its spooky grey pendulous flowers looming threateningly above the smaller garden chrysanthemums and artemisia 'Powis Castle growing there. Although I'm ashamed to admit it here, I don't think I have grown sunflowers since I was a child. This year I sowed them in pots undercover, and they are now planted out in the ground. Not really knowing what they should do first, I watch them anxiously for signs of thickening stems and swelling flower buds. They look small and skinny still, with strange mops of green at the top. Nor have I ever grown Campanula medium from seed before, but these promise to be a glorious success, having formed massive plants during the last growing season, and now crammed in together in the rose garden, they squeeze out everything else. I long for the sun to come out and make them open, so that I can pick them for the delight of our first June bride. 

Victoria

News and Links from our Members


- Inspiration for your perfectly imperfect wedding from Pyrus and Caro Weiss onRock and Roll Bride 
- In last months Newsletter I mentioned my little trip to London to take part in the  'Little Flower School'. Check out The Garden Gate Flower Company's blog  and Amanda Taffinder's blog to hear about their day(s) on the course
- Rachel Petheram of Catkin still has a few places left on a few of her courses, check them out here
- Up coming workshops from Common Farm Flowers : Posy tying and garden floristyadvanced social media for business
Field Gate Flowers have a DIY wedding flowers workshop on the 29th of June.
Floral Circus have an arranging wedding flowers course on the 6th of July, anarranging with garden style course on the 9th of July, as well as other workshops and floral parties.
Green and Gorgeous have a number of Floristry courses coming up as well as aRoses Masterclass on the 6th and 9th of July
Mayfield Flowers have cutting and arranging gardens flowers workshops in June and July
Organic Blooms have a floristry skills workshop on the 23rd/24th June and also in July
The Flower Hive has a hand tied bouquet workshop on the 29th of June
- Join The Garden Gate Flower Company ladies for an evening in the garden on the 18th of June as well as learn to make a seasonal hand tied bouquet on the 7th of July

Other Flower News 


Flowerona is running a Social Media workshop specially for Florists along with Fiona Humberstone on the 1st of July in London. Details can be found here 
Round up of flower events in June, including British Flower Week events on theFlowerona blog 
The 29th of this month sees the second annual International Lonely bouquet day, although you can leave a 'lonely bouquet' any day of the year. Last year I asked Emily from Fleuropean (the brains behind The Lonely Bouquet Project) to tell us a little bit about it, you can read what she said here. Emily can explain a lot better than me so if you are new to the project then please follow some of these links and pop over toyoutube to hear all about it from Emily herself. You can follow The Lonely Bouquet onfacebooktwitterinstagram and youtube
Don't forget it is BRITISH FLOWER week 16th-20th June. Let's make sure we inundate social media with British Flower love.......

New Members this Month 


we are very pleased to have three new members join the collective this month (and more waiting in the wings)....

Floral Circus 
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Bride and Bloom
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Green and Gorgeous 
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make sure you click on the links and follow them and their beautiful blooms


Chloe  (BareBlooms)

April Newsletter

April Newsletter

 

"Drip drip drip little April showers".....luckily we have seen some glorious sunshine too, all a winning combination for new growth and our green and pleasant land looks very green and very pleasant again.
This months 'member of the month' is Belinda at Chez Fleur who was inspired by the BBC Great British Garden Revival series, screened earlier this year, to orgainse a totally British Flower festival. Over to Belinda to tell us all about it ......

Member of the Month - Chez Fleur


The Flower Festival is being held for charity at Hurstpierpoint College Chapel in West Sussex and will be open to the public on Saturday 14th June from 10-5pm. 

 

 

The Chapel. Some of the money raised will go to the 'Font fund'.

The festival is titled ‘In England’s Green & Pleasant Land’ and all the designs will be themed around Songs & Music…..think Vivaldi 4 Seasons, Sunny Side of the Street etc.  Parents, children and staff at the school will be helping to make the arrangements using only British flowers & foliage.  Another feature of the festival is that no floral foam will be used with the majority of vases and containers being recycled.
This event will be a fantastic showcase for British flowers and comes the weekend before Covent Garden Market’s week long British Flowers event. I am delighted at the support I have got so far but would be very pleased to hear from any growers who may like to sponsor the event by donating whatever they feel they can.  In return, all businesses supporting the event will be given a FREE advertisement in the Festival programme which will be sold for £2.50. I am hoping that if a LOT are able to give a LITTLE then costs can be kept to a minimum, we will raise funds for two very worthy charities (motor neurone disease association and sussex cancer fund), whilst at the same time flying the flag for #BRITISH FLOWERS
One of the British Flower Collective members, Georgie Newbery ofCommon Farm Flowers in Somerset, has already agreed to sponsor one of the designs and I have also received support for the venture from Shane Connolly and Paula Pryke.
If you would like to get involved, contact Belinda at belinda@chezfleur.co.uk or telephone 07811 892644
Thank you so much!
Belinda (Chez Fleur)

 

 

I am very pleased to hear that floral foam has been 'banned' and I hope some Members are able to help Belinda in her quest for British Flowers.

This month we managed to trial a little British Flower Collective workshop idea with some of the 'local to me' ladies. Victoria from the Flower Garden at Stokesay Court offered to tell us all about it....

Sabina and her Magic Camera


We Welsh Marches growers were in luck this month, as the ballerina-perfect and photographically gifted Sabina Rüber treated four of us to a lesson in flower photography.
We all brought along buckets of flowers to the lovely farmy headquarters of Tammy Hall (Wild Bunch), where we first spent a good hour marvelling at Tammy's luscious field of Tulips, all wishing we could just lie down in them.
 

 

Then Sabina took us inside and explained a few 'basic' techniques that she thought would be useful to us, briefly comprising light, focus and the importance of getting what you want in the picture. This last sounds obvious, but it's amazing how big a difference a little less laziness can make to a picture; moving the crisp packet out of the way...pointing the camera so that the 'No Smoking' sign does not shout out in the background...moving our scruffy car away from the lovely flower arch....
Sabina recommends taking this principle to further extremes and making the camera focus on only one part of the picture - say, the most glorious flower in a bouquet - with the rest of the picture a little swimmy and out of focus. She showed us this on her own camera, and it does certainly add an element of atmosphere and mystery to the pictures. This Magic Photographer does however have a Magic Camera to do her photographic skills justice, and the effects achieved by her machine are perhaps beyond the possibilities available to most of us.
Next, light. We sat in different positions relative to the big window in Tammy's flower studio, and noticed the differing effects on our features. Sitting in direct sun was harsh; sitting to the side of the window, in a well- lit position but with no sun shining on our faces, was more flattering. The same goes for where to position flowers. Sabina also showed us how the background in a photograph can strongly influence the success of a photograph. A light bunch of flowers, for instance, which is positioned very closely to a light-coloured background, simply vanishes into the photograph.
For a clearer picture, we learnt move the flowers so that there was a bigger gap between them and the thing behind. Plain backgrounds are the most effective. A very dark or black background gives a startling, Dutch master effect. We all loved this, and cannot believe how good the photographs are which Sabina took of our floral efforts, with her magic camera, against the backdrop of a dark grey table. Did we pick and arrange those flowers? Are they even real ? ...

Victoria (The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court)

 

 

 

 

arrangements clockwise from top left : Wild Bunch, The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court, Blooms and Bees, BareBlooms 

New Members this month


- Babylon Flowers   
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 Instagram

- Flowers by Breige
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- The Garden Gate - Southwold
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Do pop by and make them feel part of the British Flower gang...

Last but not least, this months Newsletter is late due to a fleeting trip to London to take part in the 'Little Flower School' course.
It was lovely to catch up with a few of you and a shame to miss those of you that were on the two day course. There is so much loveliness to share that it would be great if those of you who took part would be willing to help me put together a Collective blog on our experience. Cathy and I have been meaning to set up a 'The British Flower Collective' blog for ages and now seems as good a time as any, especially with so many gorgeous arrangements to share, even if they are not 100% British grown.  If you are interested than please drop me an email. I'd love images of your work and any text would be welcome, especially from the two day course girls.
We all had such a fantastic time (trying not to rub it in to those that weren't there) and I think we all agreed that we need to organise a big 'The British Flower Collective' meet up when the season has calmed down.
Talking of blogs, I have been approached by the Fennel and Fern blog asking if our members would like to contribute.  It would be nice to feature a different member each time. Obviously this is not compulsory, but if you are interested than drop me a line.

 

 

The British Flower Collective members from the Monday course. L- R : Amanda Taffinder from Amanda Taffinder flowers, Susanne from The Blue Carrot, Chloe from BareBlooms, Thomas from Thomas Broom - The Florist, Fiona from Pyrus and Natalya from Pyrus.
Our glamorous teachers for the afternoon. Nicolette from Nicolette Camille and Sarah from Saipua.

Chloe (BareBlooms)

p.s. as mentioned in last months Newsletter if you would like to submit an image of your work (100% home grown only) to possibly be featured in the TBFC interview by Rona of Flowerona than please email it over asap. Make sure to include the name of the photographer if applicable (please send via we transfer)

Copyright © 2014 The British Flower Collective, All rights reserved. 


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