I’m linking this post to Cathy’s ‘In a vase on Monday’ meme because so much of what Georgie Newbury, from Common Farm Flowers, said during her talk reminded me of this meme and the joy we’ve all had from it.
Georgie is a flower farmer and now also author of the wonderful ‘The Flower Farmer’s Year’, a book I was so excited about I pre-ordered it. Neither the book, nor Georgie in person, disappoint. Her tone is that of a knowledgeable friend, bursting to share her knowledge and love of plants, growing and floristry, and I found her talk captivating.
Rather than flogging either her book or her beautiful bouquets, her talk was all about inspiring people to grow and arrange their own. And at this time of year, going in the garden and searching out whatever might be available to cut, just as we all do for our Monday vases.
During her talk Georgie created a beautiful, informal hand tied bunch (which sadly I failed to photo as she gave it to her aunt who was in the audience!)
Her foliage was all from her farm, Poplar, Pussy Willow, Black Elder and Hawthorn.
However, the blooms were largely from her suppliers in Cornwall as she lives in a frost pocket and struggles to produce flowers before April. Flowers included Narcissus (Soleil D’Or and Paperwhite) and lots of gorgeous Ranunculus.
She shared numerous tips (don’t pick flowers when you can feel the sun on the back of your head, so early morning or after 7 at night, pull bulbs when picking to get a longer stem, always pick directly into water – no romantic wandering with a trug, keep everything scrupulously clean and change the container water regularly to prolong vase life…) as well as numerous supplier tips. Interestingly many I already use – Chiltern and Higgledy Garden for seeds, David Austin for roses, Peter Nyssen and Avon for bulbs – but also others like Withypitts for dahlias and Hillhouse Nursery for shrubs.
Like Mark Diacono for vegetable growing, she encourages people to grow things that are unusual and unavailable in the shops. She had a few suggestions of less well known plants including the bulb, Ornithogalum, the slatey purple flowered Delphinium D. requienii and she also loves the Iris below, Iris tuberosa. It has a relatively short season but is so different to anything else.
I’m already booked on a course at Common Farm later in the year and hearing Georgie talk has just made me even more excited.
With thanks as ever to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting the lovely ‘In a vase on Monday’ meme. I’m sure Georgie would approve!