Archive | roses

Palette on a Plate from an English Summer Wedding

When I asked if they had any colour preferences for their wedding flowers, keen foodies Gaenor and Paul presented me with a picture on their phone of an amazing plate of salad…


They certainly had food at the top of their list when they chose Michelin-starred Caldesi In Campagna in the village of Bray, Berkshire for their reception celebration.

Their wedding was in June, in the midst of a heatwave, it certainly felt like the hottest day of the year…

Fantastic Foodie Wedding in Bray - Clare West Photography

I was so pleased when they chose Clare West as their photographer, as I knew her love for photographing flowers would mean there would be more than the normal quota of flowery pics and I would get a good idea of how well my flowers stood up to the extreme conditions.

I never guarantee specific flowers for a couple’s wedding day, that would be a dangerous game when you are relying on our unreliable weather to play along. But I always work with colour choices and in this case I had a plenty to conjure up – blue, lilac, pink, peach, coral, oh and of course, green were all on that inspirational plate.

June is the peak flowering time for hardy annuals,  so sweet peas, cornflowers and nigella ticked most of the colour boxes, whilst the annual quaking grass briza added movement and a wildflower meadow feel.

I love arranging with sweet peas –  they come in such a range of colours, are wonderfully fragrant and if picked with some of the vine, create a lush, untamed feel. We grow about 30 different varieties both indoors and out so that they are available from May through till July.

Sweet pea jungle in our tunnel, seasonal British flower grown by Green and Gorgeous

The high temperatures had brought my roses on all at once so they were centre stage in the bouquets and table flowers, providing plenty of scent along with the sweet peas.

Tall spire shaped flowers for the milk churn and church pedestal arrangements were provided by larkspur in an unusual smokey lilac, blush pink delphiniums, peach chantilly snapdragons and a punchy coral penstemon.

These grow to extraordinary heights in our tunnels sheltered from the wind and the rain.

I was pleased to see that even the flower girls crowns stood up to the high temperatures, a testament to using freshly picked, seasonal flowers.







And being next to a picturesque stretch of the Thames, the guests were able to have a chance to cool off at the end of a perfect day…




Real Roses


I have just been working on a small wedding for tomorrow which has got me contemplating my roses. The bride wanted blush pink and apricot ones – this heat has all but stopped them in their tracks but I still managed to find just enough. ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ has proved to be the winner for repeat flowering with ‘Irish Hope’ coming a close second. Both seem incredibly heat resistant.


Back in June when they were looking at their luscious loveliest, Clare West joined me for an afternoon shoot all about roses. It felt wonderfully decadent to pick these precious blooms and create ‘make believe’ bouquets and pedestals with them. But to have them captured by Clare’s beautiful photography was an opportunity I could not resist.

Green & Gorgeous - June 219

Photo by Clare West

We grow about 40 varieties here, mostly undercover in a Spanish tunnel. This not only protects their petals from the rain but increases stem length and reduces black spot. I think I managed to pick one of each variety for these pictures, out came the crystal vases and then I handed my fancy pen over to Clare who has much prettier writing than me. I decided to present the roses like this for my Rose Masterclass the following week. People were able to experience the blooms close up as I discussed planting, pruning, etc. and then we went outside to do some deadheading and to look at the growth habit of the different varieties.

Green & Gorgeous - June 206Photo by Clare West

All of our roses are scented, some more than others, I think ‘Chandos Beauty’ and ‘Margaret Merril’ are the strongest. Sniffing roses is like tasting wine, each has a unique perfume which enhances it’s character. They are like old friends to me and in the 5 years I have been growing them I have got to know their own little quirks and foibles.

Green & Gorgeous - June 218Photo by Clare West

Out of all the cut flowers I grow I think they are the most far removed from their soulless, imported cousins. All the more reason to grow roses and bring unrivalled beauty to your arrangements.

Green & Gorgeous - June 171
Photo by Clare West

An urn filled with Hornbeam, Jasmine, Campanula, Ammi and the Rose ‘Sweet Child of Mine’.

Green & Gorgeous - June 245
Photo by Clare West

A bridal bouquet with just the simplest addition of Jasmine and Apple Mint. Roses include ‘East park’, ‘Millie’s Rose’, ‘Queen of Sweden’,’ Warm Wishes’ and ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’.

Green & Gorgeous - June 231

Green & Gorgeous - June - 045
Photo by Clare West

Floral crown using patio rose ‘Sweet Dreams’.


David Austin roses ‘Crown Princess Margareta’, ‘Port Sunlight’ and ‘Crocus rose’ accompanied by the lovely ‘Chris Beardshaw’.

Many thanks to Clare West for keeping up the good work with all the incredible images, her last blog covering June can be found here.

Hampton Court


We were able to have a day off the farm yesterday and get off to Hampton Court Flower Show. Rachel was invited to do a floristry demonstration and we were able to help man the ‘Flowers From the Farm’ Stand.

The stand was very busy all day and was generating lots of interest, with people being incredibly supportive and keen to find out more and smell the fresh blooms. Claire Brown (Plantpassion) and Fiona Hesketh(Purple Dasiy) have both been putting a lot of time in manning the stand this week, as well as Emily Rae (Plants 4 Presents) organizing matters on the ground.



Lots of flyers were handed out and everyone commented on how they loved the display (special thanks to Martin & the Magpie, among many others).


Next to us in the Floristry and Rose marquee were Pococks Roses, whom we sourced most of our stock from, so we were able to have a bit of a catch up with them. We were also able to see lots of our other favourite nurseries and pick up this new dahlia from Pheasant Acre called ‘Julie’, with distinctive, small heads.


We had a quick stroll off into the calm of the grounds of the palace itself, before braving the throngs again.


This was a WW1 show garden, showing how some horticulture did flourish behind the lines.


At 5pm, Rachel took to the stage to arrange a large urn arrangement and talk all about growing the flowers themselves.



She used chicken wire inside the urn and some incredible showstoppers from the garden at the moment, Dahlia ‘Cafe au Lait’, Rose ‘Chandos Beauty’, Ammi majus, Snapdragons, Campanula, Nicotiana and hornbeam.


Talking to some florists from the Academy of Flowers about British Grown Flowers, flower food and florist’s foam…..