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.
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.
We are delighted to welcome to the Collective...
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 (BareBlooms, The British Flower Collective)