Archive | Weddings

Real Roses

IMG_0383

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.

IMG_0380

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’.

IMG_0001

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.

My Friend got married in February

My very dear friend Janet told me she was marrying her
partner of 16 years Nick (also an old friend from Art school) “Would you like me to arrange the flowers?” I offered, “ I’d
love you to!” replied Janet. The slight drawback was the wedding date was set
for 9th February.

I don’t usually do winter weddings due to lack of flowers,
but there was no way I wouldn’t have done this one. I didn’t want to let Janet
down, particularly as she had asked me to be a ‘best woman’, which was an
enormous honour.

I suggested hellebores, anemones, viburnum and pussy willow.
Thankfully she loved the sound of all of those. She is a firm believer in
British grown and had really set her heart on all the flowers coming from the
garden. All I could do was watch and hope. I watched the flooding and the snow.
I cringed at the hard frosts and gave weekly reports on their progress.  Finally the weather was kind during the
first week of February and all was well. In the end it was only the delicate
little viburnum that suffered, as most had gone brown from frost.

 Janet&nick-6859
Photography by Stephanie Rushton

The hellebores were stunning, but they were tricky. Mostly
due to it being so early, too early to pick them really. The heads hung down
and I knew they wouldn’t be terribly reliable out of water. They worked well in
little bud vases and nestled into the bouquet.

 

            IMG_6098

 

                                        
IMG_6083

photography by Rachel Siegfried

I also worked them into the buttonholes with pussy willow
and rosemary. Janet and the best women all wore them in their hair (apart
from me who loves an excuse to wear a hat) I advised all the girls to keep an
eye on each others hellebore hair flowers and make sure they remove them at the
first signs of wilting. I’d say we got about 3 hours out of them, which isn’t
so bad for early February.

 

            Janet&nick-7052

 

            Janet&nick-6933

 

The table centres were quite simple jugs of anemones,
hellebores and pussy willow.

 

            Janet&nick-7117

 

The pussy willow was a joy and worked brilliantly with
Janet’s fur jacket. I ran it through all of the arrangements. I used tiny
sprigs right through to some very long branches which went into an enamel
pitcher on the bar. The most important thing was Janet was really thrilled. It
was a great day and it gave me a good feeling to make a friend happy,
especially on her wedding day.

 

 Janet&nick-7073

Photography by Stephanie Rushton

Jo Wise    

1

New Year Plans

It has been a long time since I wrote
my last blog, I think it was in June when the rain and wind came,
after that I was too busy battling with the elements. It certainly
tested my resolve as a flower grower as I watched countless flowers
rot in the ground or be flattened by the wind.

As we were not able to grow some G&G
favourites new flowers were discovered and took centre stage. Many of
these were from the group that really saved the season – perennials.
These proved to be far more weather resistant than many of the
annuals and because of all the rain grew taller and more prolifically
than normal and those prone to mildew like Asters, Monarda and Phlox
were spared.

 The real stars were the perennials sown
from seed in February/March which went on to produce buckets of
flowers from June onwards. They included Achillea, Galega and
Tanacetum which all proved to have good 'cut and come again' value and
a wildflower- look for our natural style bouquets.

 


IMG_5695 

 IMG_5497

 

Our new field of perennials planted
mostly as bare root in the autumn of 2011 also grew in very well
thanks to all the rain. It was a joy to wander in there one evening
when supplies and spirits were low in the cutting garden to discover
row upon row of new and exciting things to cut.

So the extreme weather meant different
flowers to work with, a new palette with unexpected combinations and
some beautiful results.

 


IMG_5432

 


IMG_5086

After seeing off the most challenging
year for growing cut flowers I am full of plans for 2013, which include adding to our mail order
range and developing a Pick Your Own cutting garden. More news on
that in the coming weeks. 

We have also come up with some new
courses:

Jo and I have put our heads together
and developed a two day course for DIY brides on how to grow and
arrange wedding flowers.

 


IMG_5983

  IMG_5163

I am offering an in depth growing guide
to three of our favourites – sweet peas, roses and dahlias as half
day workshops.

If you would like to find out more have
a look at our Courses page on the website.

Rachel Siegfried

 


IMG_5491

0