Tag Archives | roses

First Flower Club – June

My first Flower Club was a cake-fuelled floral extravaganza! We had some sunshine too, but it was not too hot – perfect weather for wandering through the cutting beds picking and designing a bouquet.


A bit daunted at first, everyone came back with buckets to condition in our chiller before taking them home to practice later.  Each selection could not have been more different,  a unique expression of what is looking good in the garden right now.


After sampling the results of my latest bake – chocolate pecan nut brownies and lemon drizzle cake. I went to work demonstrating how to make a natural, sumptuous hand tie – this was my pick of the garden – Rose ‘Just Joey’, Dahlia ‘Cafe au Lait’, Alstromeria ‘Elvira’, Astrantia, Campanula lactiflora, Scabious ‘Ping Pong’, Dill, Rosa glauca, Nigella seedpods and Eryngium planum.


With a generous selection of flowers set out in my new smart buckets (previously picked and conditioned) it was now time for everyone to make some more decisions and make their way to the flower studio and in quiet concentration put together some beautiful hand ties.




We finished with an aquapacking session and tissue lined bags were filled and at the ready for everyone’s artistry to be carried home.

Here is what Linda Dixon said about the morning “I had a fabulous time on Sunday; it was fun, instructive and challenging – looking forward to the next Flower Club”.

On the subject of floristry I am gearing up for my floral demonstration at Hampton Court next week, I will be in the Roses and Floristry Marquee on Thursday 10th July at 5pm. My subject is ‘Natural Showstoppers’ which will be basically something big and wild without the use of florist’s foam.



Our NGS Open Day is fast approaching too, on the 13th July, 12-5pm. Refreshments, plant sale and floral displays…


A Year in British Cut Flowers

I had great fun last week with Clare West, a photographer who I met last year when she came on one of my growing courses. She had a rather good idea – to visit the farm once a month through the year and photograph all the seasonal jobs….


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Take some stunning plant portraits….


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And teach me a thing or two on how to use my camera.


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‘A Year in Flowers’ had it’s first installment on her blog this week.


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We are also planning to do some styled shoots this year, a very exciting prospect. I am planning the first one in the orchard, when it is in full blossom I hope. In the meantime it’s all about pruning hundreds of roses, pricking out thousands of seedlings and picking the odd Anemone.


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Like this beautiful white Anemone with a green eye called an ‘Albino’. I pick early in the morning, next they are whisked off to the flower studio for trimming and bunching.

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Next it’s into the greenhouse for some pricking out of Icelandic Poppies, talking to customers on the phone and stroking my dogs as much as possible, who always enjoy the heat mat meant for seedlings!

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Finally we have to get back to the Rose pruning, as we have over 500 to get through at this time of year. This rounds off the day and I have some rather glorious red Anemones to take back into the house.




Clogs in the blog

My first blog for many months… I did have very good intentions but they got swept away by the demand for our flowers which seemed to take up every waking hour. Not that I'm complaining….

Anyway, the season has drawn to a close so I am now able to waffle on all winter about….well, flowers. If I'm not working with them I have time to talk about them and all the lessons learnt this season, and maybe squeeze in some ideas for 2012. 

I found lots of inspiration in Holland last week when we visited the Hortifair, an annual get together of amongst other things, cut flower breeders and growers from all round the world. I made some useful contacts with a few Dutch nurseries, who specialise in growing plants for cutting. It was sad to see the UK only represented by one grower (David Austin's roses); the fair was dominated by the Ecuadorian and Kenyan growers with Ethiopia being the new kid on the block. I presume these countries are favoured because the climate allows flowers to be grown year round and natural resources and labour are cheap. A conversation with an Israeli plant breeder was eye-opening, he was genuinely shocked when I asked him about the flowering period for Solidago (Golden Rod) – "don't you want to grow it year round under lights?". When I told him that my selling point was seasonal he looked bemused, obviously something he had never heard a grower say before!

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There was not a great deal of variety at the fair, with roses being the main flower of the show. These were the kind of rose that has sacrificed all trace of scent for stem length, head size, vase life and productivity. Inevitably it is profit that comes first, which has taken flower breeding away from fundamental characteristics that we value like scent and seasonality. I suppose I knew all of this but the show just helped to reinforce my belief in what we are doing.

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I have returned with a very long wish list and to 1000 new perennial plants which arrived whilst I was away. We are expanding into a new 3 acre field which is already planted up with a few thousand scented narcissi, tulips and dutch iris bulbs. Once all the planting is done (which is slow going in this dank, gloomy weather) I will get on with lifting the dahlias from the spanish tunnel (like a polytunnel but with a just a top cover in the summer months). I have learnt that they do much better outside with good air circulation and plenty of moisture to keep the dreaded red spider mite at bay. They will be replaced by another bed of roses, this time lots of soft pinks, apricots and blush/nude tones for weddings.


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Rachel Siegfried