Friday, 25 October 2013

Great British Flowers

I want to wax lyrical about the fantastic British flowers I got for two events that I did at the start of autumn. I bang on about using local, seasonal flowers, at least in the warmer months, and hopefully these photos demonstrate why.

Firstly, there was the pick-your-own bucket of flowers at a local flower farm. We picked a stunning collection of white and pink flowers for the London Zoo wedding, with some blues for the 500 Days of Summer photoshoot, and some foliage, grasses and seedpods. The delightful Jen at Blooming Green, near Maidstone in Kent, gave me the metal bucket that is their ‘measure’, and we filled it with as much as we could gently cram in. Cutting the flowers from the acre plot is a joy in itself, although it was a scorcher of a day so we had to work fast so that the flowers in the bucket wouldn’t wilt before we’d even left the farm! I separated them out into different buckets when I got home – Blooming Green provide two plastic buckets to take the cut flowers home, but I’ll take a few of my own next time, as it’s a bit of a squeeze, and things like dill and sweet peas tend to get tangled up with everything else.

Secondly, there was the special delivery from Cornwall! Tregothnan, which is famous for being the first farm in Britain to grow tea, also grows cut flowers and foliage, and sells these along with ready-made garlands and bouquets. I bought some delicious-smelling rosemary and glossy myrtle, and some white dahlias, sunflowers and baby blue hydrangeas. The sunflowers and hydrangeas were stunning and they lasted so well.

Finally, there was the rest of the foliage, which I mainly used for the garlands and the registrar’s table arrangement, and it all came from the garden: eucalyptus, laurel, jasmine, Japanese quince, and a few mystery trees and shrubs. There was still some pink hydrangea in the garden, so that was cut and used for some of the table centres.

For the wedding, I would say about 80% of the flowers and foliage were British. Just the white hydrangeas and matricaria were Dutch, and the snowberries…I’m not sure where the snowberries were from, but I assume they were Dutch, too. I did cut some snowberries from Blooming Green as well. But everything else – stunning hot pink cleomes (I’ll overlook their nasty, tiny thorns), snapdragons, cute zinnas, cosmos, dahlias, delicate ammi, clary, veronica, ageratum and agastache, and gorgeous foliage from eucalyptus to senecio – was all from the south-east (or south-west) of England.

But for the 500 Days of Summer photoshoot, I’m pleased to say that the flowers and foliage were 100% British! I used some Mayfield lavender in the bouquet, and of course the photos were shot in the beautiful Mayfield Lavender farm. There were sunny, Cornish hydrangeas and sunflowers, and romantic rosemary and myrtle from Tregothnan, and cornflowers, scabious, dill, grasses and seedpods from Blooming Green, as well as some purple sweet peas from the garden.

I hope this gives a taster of beautiful and varied British flowers, and encourages you to buy local when you can!

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