During the season Fridays tend to be rather frenetic with weddings to arrange and flowers to be picked for our Saturday shop, last minute pick ups and arrangements to be made for all the Saturday goings on and of course there are still the plants themselves that need looking after.
I am fortunate to have a more than capable team of both growers and florists to help me make all of this work possible in just one day.
Back in September I had the pleasure of being visited by photographer Mark Lord who was keen to record all these activities and capture a few good animal shots at the same time.
I first noticed Mark’s work whilst looking at Waterperry Garden’s website where he spent the last two years capturing some sublime images of their gardens, flowers and gardeners. Mark has both a garden photography blog in which we appear and a website for his wedding and portrait work.
I have to confess I particularly like his animal portraits and I am always keen to get my whippets photographed as much as possible!
Mark arrived bright and early which is always the perfect time lighting wise to photograph the garden but perhaps not my most attractive hour – oh well, as ever the flowers must come first!
We always pick for a Saturday wedding on a Thursday apart from some of the key blooms, in this case dahlias and roses which I want to look as ‘vital’ as possible.
So my first job is selecting specific flowers for the bouquet work. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to picking roses and unless I am really up against it always cut those precious blooms myself, despite the thorns it is a job I savor.
Everyone else is sent to the field to ‘walk the line’ as we affectionately call our 100 metre long dahlia row. Flowers are picked into our trusty dutch buckets which we buy in from Holland by the pallet load. Once back at the packing shed they are conditioned and stored in our walk in chiller.
A coffee break….followed by lots and lots of floristry……
Lucy and ‘Scratch’ are on buttonhole duty and I take up my usual spot at the bouquet table.
I have quite a structured approach to making bouquets especially when there are multiple bridesmaids. Each bouquet has a bucket in which the prepared ingredients go into, that way I can ensure everyone has their fair share and all the arrangements are consistent.
Once assembled I tie them off with raffia which will be replaced in the morning with tape and silk ribbon, this helps to loosen them up and achieve the wild, ‘grown in’ look I am after.
Ash brings in the Saturday shop haul from the field in our back-saving harvesting buggy – it’s saved us a lot of walking this year. Looking like it originates from a pre-atomic era, it is a lot of fun to drive and there’s space for a lucky passenger. The one wheel at the front results in a nifty turning circle and it makes quick work of harvesting, essential on hot days.
Everything Ash and I do is centered around my mantra ‘minimum effort maximum results’ with six acres to cultivate and seventy weddings to supply and arrange it is the only way to make it work.
I am working on a new series of full day floristry workshops at the moment, some I hope will be collaborative and all will focus on capturing the essence of each season. I plan to release the dates in the New Year with my next blog post.
Talking of seasons I have always claimed to be a Spring girl, I love the freshness of everything and I guess I feel pretty good at the beginning of the season too. But I am becoming increasingly fond of the end of the season when there is a lot more to play with in both our cutting fields and beyond on my regular dog walks.