Ooooh I’m dead excited about this! Last year I went on a course at Green & Gorgeous (flower growers and florists in Wallingford) to learn how to grow naturally grown wedding flowers. It was an excellent course which I can highly recommend. After the course I got thinking about working with wedding suppliers that hold similar values and work ethic to myself and started to plot and plan to have a page on the website called My Little Black Book where I can showcase my favourite suppliers and introduce you to products and ideas that are a little different from the norm and where possible are eco-friendly and/or organic.
I’ve always been particularly passionate about photographing flowers because I love them! This lead me to think that it would be great to see if Green and Gorgeous would be interested in working with me to produce a month by month diary of their year. The idea being to show you what happens behind the scenes in the production of the beautiful flowers that they grow and to get a better understanding of how you run an organic flower farm.
So first let me introduce you to Rachel. Her passion is infectious and her knowledge slightly overwhelming. I am very much looking forward to working with her this year I think we will come up with many interesting plan and schemes! I will introduce you to Ashley later as he managed to avoid the camera this time 🙂
Now onto February’s jobs and flowers. The gardens look quite barren at this time of year but that’s part of the charm. It may be all brown, muddy and not particularly inviting but the potential is almost palpable! New shoots are peeping through and the knowledge that all that is brown will soon be green and then a riot of colour fills me with a sense of joy.
Rose pruning was job number one. Now these were shooting and I have to say I was quite surprised to see how harshly they needed to be pruned! There was but a small stump left after Rachel had removed last years growth and left the plant ready to sprout beautiful long stems ready for cutting. Any crossing branches must be removed and the ground around cleared of weeds.
Just look at how long those rows of roses are!! That’s A LOT of pruning!
The result is a plant that looks a ‘little sorry for it’s self’ but it’s now in the perfect condition to make sure that it produces a great crop later in the year.
Next we moved to the poly tunnels to pick some Anemone’s. Rachel places elastic bands on her wrists so that she can pick and bunch at the same time.
The poly tunnels provide a warm environment to grow more delicate plants like Anemone’s (above) and soon, Ranunculus. This is such a lovely place to photograph as the poly tunnels act like a giant soft box, creating lovely soft light, great for flower photography.
Rachel makes up bunches of 10 stems as she pics. I love watching her arrange them, holding them loosely between thumb and forefinger so that the stems can fall naturally into a slight twist as each bloom is added.
One of many ‘assistants’ 🙂
These stunning green and cream blooms could so easily be a bridal bouquet just as they are. Elegant, simplicity!
All the flowers need to be conditioned before they are used for bouquets, arrangements or sale. The stems are cut at an angle and they are placed in a cool place with lots of water to drink.
Hellebore’s (above) and Pussy Willow (below) are two more of this seasons stars.
The last job of the day was pricking out new seedlings into larger pots ready to grow on before planting out in the fields or poly tunnels.
The seedlings below are from gathered seed (collected from last years crop) of Icelandic poppy’s. They’re teeny tiny little plants so need to be handled with care to be planted into separate pots.
These are Dahlia tuber’s. Sadly there has been some flooding in some of the fields, although it’s more mud than running water now. The Dahlia’s still needed to be rescued though and all these are safely tucked up in the potting shed on heated mats and are already shooting. Cuttings will be taken from the new shoots growing from these old tuber’s. I think these are the perfect example of how something so dull and ugly can change form over the course of a year and produce some of the most stunning flowers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first instalment of our diary? I’d love to hear your thoughts below. We’ll be back at the end of March with the next instalment so keep your eyes peeled.
In the mean time if you’re looking for a florist for your wedding then I can highly recommend recommend Green & Gorgeous!