October 2013 Newsletter

Hello and an Autumnal welcome to the October Newsletter from The British Flower Collective. 
The summer saw a flurry of weddings for me as BareBlooms and my aim of sending out a monthly newsletter for TBFC fell rather short of target! Now the height of the wedding season is over , I can turn my attention here. We've had many enquiries from potential new members. If you have emailed us wanting an application form or other information then please check your spam folders for a reply as a few people have found emails from us in there. If you haven't heard from us then please be patient, I will be working my way through those emails that have fallen by the wayside while wedding work took priority. Cathy (the other half of TBFC) is on maternity leave so it may take slightly longer for us to respond than normal. 
I am actually looking forward to the colder, darker days as the perfect back drop for a bit of website revamping and putting into practise some of our ideas to promote all that is British and Seasonal in the flowery world. 

Last month saw Christmas come early for us when we joined forces with two of my lovely friends. Hannah Madden from Hanmade and Sabina Ruber  (you may have seen her gorgeous flower photography popping up in the new Chiltern Seeds catalogues) for a little Christmas inspired photoshoot. Thanks Andrea for letting us use the Shepherd's Hut at  Wild Meadow . We tested out the cosiness with a cuppa and the log burner a blaze........

You can find all of Hanmade's gorgeous goodies on her ETSY and FOLKSY shops. We shall be adding a shop to TBFC website next month to include some of Hannah's Christmas products as well as some of ours

I think it's safe to say the highlight of our 'early Christmas' was the excuse for me to bake a yule log. It certainly seemed to go down a treat during our 'tea break'

We've added a few new members to the website since the last Newsletter. We are always on the look out for new members be they florists, growers, wholesalers, retail, etc. We do not insist on 100% British flower usage, as we know from our own experience how difficult this can be to achieve in some situations. We do however ask that our members share our passion for British and Seasonal, that they strive towards 100% British where possible, and never pass their work off as being British when it is imported. 
A big welcome to our newest members; Catkin Flowers and Ducks & Daffodils

Pop over to the TBFC website to see who else is on our books.

Thanks to  Flowers by Clowance who have recently added our 'badge' to their wholesale price list which pings it's way into almost 1,200 inboxes every week! Thank you James for this excellent bit of publicity. Also on the price list is the badge for the flower growers co-operative; Flowers from the Farm
James is helping to organise the South West Meet up of FFTF on the 13th of January 2014 again after the success of the first meet up at the beginning of this year. This years event attracted lots of people not just from the South West and not all members of FFTF. You can find out more about the event including how to book here.
I loved meeting some of our members and prospective members earlier this year and will again be making my way down the M5 in January 2014 to hopefully meet even more of you. 

The last Newsletter saw The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court as the 'featured member'. I enjoyed Victoria's 'flowery' writing so much that I have asked her to be a regular contributor our newsletter. So here is Victoria's first regular feature from her gorgeous walled garden near Ludlow. I hope you all enjoy following her floral journey throughout the seasons....

The End of Summer....

Bishops Children and other red, purple and orange dahlias blaze the last movement of the summer in our walled Flower Garden.  We've had incredible sweet peas this year, perhaps because we chose to grow the exhibition kinds, and because Barney dug a big deep trench and filled it with rich composty stuff.  Our roses flowered abundantly on their short, first year growth, not really tall enough to pick yet.  Perennials all got a bit tangled up together and flopped sideways because we didn't stake them.  Tiny new perennials that we planted in the spring did their best to grow without any water at all throughout the whole summer, except for rain... I hope they'll forgive us.  I kick myself for not having planted more, and as the garden fades for the year my mind is mostly busy planning next year's planting.  We've learned some important lessons this year; things you always read in books but never really take in properly until you make the mistakes for yourself.
1. Planting things properly, with lots of space, feed and water.  Keeping them weeded and watered as they establish.  Not being greedy, as I am often am, trying to squeeze too much into too small a plot.
2. Succession sowing: the annuals went over so quickly this year, and if we'd done a bit more succession sowing it would have made such a difference. 
3. Sowing in the autumn.  Autumn-sown plants outperformed the spring-sown ones hugely.
4. Staking things properly.  It all sounds so obvious!  Why didn't we do it?
5. Cutting things back as soon as they begin to look a bit over, in the hope of getting a bonus crop...
6. Feeding.
We've hired a turf cutter to prepare more beds for planting, especially for peonies, hydrangeas, roses and spring-flowering bulbs and perennials.  There seems to be so much to do, and our small cottage is crowded for now with boxes of bulbs waiting to be planted, and piles of catalogues with seeds waiting to be ordered.  The drizzly weather is calming and relaxing, and reminds us to gather in the rest of our fruit and vegetable harvest, like mice preparing for the winter.                        


A bucket of Home grown picked Dahlias and next years planning

Last but not least I have to share with you a lovely little video from the ladies atThe Garden Gate Flower Company. They have teamed up with photographer Emma Griffin to make a beautiful little film about one of their home grown Bridal Bouquets. You can find out more and view the video over on The Natural Wedding Company blog here.

You can contact Chloe and Cathy on flowers@thebritishflowercollective.com

Chloe  (BareBlooms)

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