June 2013 Newsletter

Welcome to the June addition of The British Flower Collective newsletter.
May seemed to fly by in a riot of Spring bulb 'catch-up' frenzy without a chance to put together a newsletter! I'm still in denial that the solstice has just been and gone. So consider this the May and June double issue newsletter!


above image from Susanne at The Blue Carrot 

The May bank holiday weekend saw The British Flower Collective  running a stall in Hay on Wye, as part of Fair on the Square during the Hay Festival. This is the third year we have had a stall here in the market place and yet again we were treated to a mixed bag of typical Welsh border weather of sunshine, wind and rain! 

It was yet again lovely to be able to share a stall with fellow 'near by' members. Thank you to Tammy from Wild Bunch, Victoria from The Flower garden at Stokesay Court , Lucinda from Blooms and Bees, and our lovely photographer friend Sabina Ruber for giving up a day from their bank holiday weekend to come and help Cath from Brecon Blooms and myself, Chloe from BareBlooms to spread the British Flower word. Next year I must make sure I get on the rota for the Saturday as the weather is always better on that day and let somebody else do the windy, rainy Monday!I

For those of you who follow The Natural Wedding Company blog you will know that Charlie has recently been on a road trip to the South West of Britain to visit some of the businesses on her directory, three of which are also members of The British Flower Collective. You can read about Charlie's visit to Susanne at The Blue Carrot here, Maz and Becca of The Garden Gate Flower Company here and Jo and Wendy of Organic Blooms here.  I would love to do a similar Nationwide road trip in the near future of our Flower Collective Members. 
I thought it would be nice to tie in Charlie's road trip visits with this months featured Member. So May and June's double issue have two featured members. Susanne at The Blue Carrot and Maz and Becca at The Garden Gate Flower Company, both based in Cornwall. I asked the ladies if they could comment on Charlie's visit and tell us a little bit about what they have been and will be up to, etc, etc. 

above images from The Garden Gate Flower Company. Catherine's bouquet, hair flowers and table arrangements.

......... over to Maz . One half of The Garden Gate Flower Company

The Natural Wedding Company on tour

A misty, typically Cornish day the other week, was positively brightened by Charlie from The Natural Wedding Company who stopped off on her South West tour.  We had a little workshop of our own and focused on hair. Charlie has totally sparked a new interest in native grasses (or … errm, weeds to us gardeners: until now? I am totally embracing the ‘can’t beat them join them’ aspect of this idea!).   Charlie was looking for a different angle on hair-flowers as an alternative to the trend for big, boho statement crowns.  We took a few pretty flowers form the garden and wove them around a dainty little flower crown with native grasses.  We used combs and clips to decorate as a few of our brides have asked for this too.  Our friend Natty, whose glossy rich black hair made everything look good, posed for pics in the poly tunnel (the only dry and light place) in the morning. Taylor and Porter Photography arrived just before lunch and we took more pics of simple twisted half-up hair and low key, romantic, buns and plaits with small meadow flowers and grass seed heads with Charlie as our model.  This look is natural and pretty and complements a relaxed, country style wedding beautifully, and fits with Charlie’s beautifully natural colouring and long hair.  Louise and Becca modelled admirably too, and we had a very nice day indeed meeting Teo and Louise, who's use of film and old style whizz-click photography made us all feel a bit nostalgic!  We can’t wait to see the images (and we do have to wait - for the film to be developed– remember that?!).   Charlie was a fountain of knowledge and we interrogated her about all things wedding for hours (sorry Charlie).   It was so nice to meet and work with Charlie, Louise and Teo, and we all very much enjoyed a warm bowl of soup and homemade bread in the warm farmhouse kitchen (thanks Penny).

all above images from The Garden Gate Flower Company

The Patch

This time last month we still had tulips, ranunculus, bluebells, late daffs and camassia. Since then the wedding season has really started. Our mail order bridal flowers and loose buckets to DIY your venue have been successful, although a little nerve wracking when they leave by courier for overnight delivery. You can order our flowers for delivery here
The paddock has changed dramatically in the last few weeks  and we have huge oriental poppies in bright reds, oranges and antique pinks which team up nicely with a pale blue phlox the colour of forget-me-nots.  Annual poppies, nigella, corn flowers, chamomile, alliums in pinks, white, and stardust purple have added pizzaz to our patch.  We bought some shrubs this winter and the pear bush (exochorda) has been great, along with lilacs and a mock-orange we are willing into flower.  The peonies have big buds while the roses have begun to open already.  Geums in red and burnt orange fade nicely as they age and really complement roses in buff, off white and cream.   A few nice days and it really feels like summer.

Wedding  season

Our first big wedding of the season was at the beautiful Boconnoc House, near Lostwithiel. This late spring weather meant that lilac and apple blossom provided some cool architectural features in this elegant stately home. We absolutely loved doing this wedding, and working with the bride and groom who were fabulous to work for.  We were so pleased they had a perfect day of weather too.  We enlisted Mark and Tamsin to join our little team of three, and we loved working with those guys too.  We could not have asked for more. 
Since then we have been to a Yurt near Padstow and a stunning field overlooking the sea, and back to Boconnoc for this elegant wedding with a Scottish twist.  We have totally fallen in love with artichoke leaves, colour, texture, classical connotations, and style in one gigantic plant! Someone pass me that urn.  Local flowers supplied by Cornish grower BJ Richards has been a feature recently too with business growing faster than our flowers, and his pin cushion scabious is our new favourite flower. I took this picture whilst waiting for the delivery driver and have been unable to shake off the grey/blue and burnt umber colour combination ever since.  There is inspiration everywhere! 

above images from The Garden Gate Flower Company. Inspirational sky and gorgeous urn arrangement.

We have been getting into the British Flower thing too on twitter and elsewhere,  and writing a few guest blog posts here and there too. 
So you're getting married ..... blog  - The British Flower Revelotion.
Interview on the Flowerona blog 
The English Rose blog 
Mr & Mrs Unique - Guide to Spring Wedding Flowers 

All in all we have had a very sociable start to the spring and look forward to making new friends like Ashley Hampson (photographer and provider of hilarious anecdotes) and designer of achingly beautiful dresses Annalise Harvey with whom we have a very exciting photo shoot lined up.  Charlie has inspired us to take our own little tour of growers too, so keep an eye out on the blog for top tips from our flowery friends (up North – well North of Launceston anyway). 

Those Garden Gate ladies have been impressively busy, thank you Maz for sharing with us. 
Over to Susanne at The Blue Carrot who's arrangements always have me salivating with their romantic deliciousness .....


Charlie's visit meant a lot to me, as my business owes her a lot. Advertising with her right from the start of my adventure opened the way to reach exactly the right market for what I have to offer. It was a bit surreal, as it felt like I already knew her although we never met before.

It's such a great experience to see your setup and familiar workplace through someone else's eyes. I really enjoyed it.

I'm now in my second year of wedding flowers and the changes I've made this year are paying off already. I've canceled all my regular customers and do special occasion bouquets only if they fit into my wedding schedule. This way I can fully and wholeheartedly concentrate on my brides.

It's just so much more work than you first think it would be. Consultations, admin, mockups, finding suppliers, hunting for sundries - all things that you don't count in when you start.

I've changed my pricing policy as well. I was a bit naive in the beginning and now I understand what's involved, I'm confident to call a certain price tack. I know that's not for everyone, but you can't go to an artisan bakery and expect to pay Aldi prices. You get what you pay for.

The garden is slowly recovering from this very strange spring. Poppies, sweet peas, grasses and the roses are really going for it now.

I've been brutal and ripped out a lot of things that are just alright, but never really end up in a bouquet, to make more room for favourites like dahlias, roses, Ammi, poppies etc.

I Wish you all a very exciting growing year and stay strong. I know how bloody hard this job is :) 

Thank you Susanne for the sumptuous images and the inspiration text. I was feeling a little bit down with the wedding workload and these few words from Susanne really helped to give me a much needed boost. 
I like to think that for those of us who work alone, like me, can gain some support and confidence from our extended little The British Flower Collective family.

Concluding our double issue newsletter I would like to welcome and introduce our newest members:

Flowers by Clowance 
ield Gate Flowers
ild and Wondrous

Hello and Welcome to the family.  
We are gradually filling in the spaces on the British map but are always looking for new members to help spread the British Flower word........

Chloe at BareBlooms




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