Tag Archives | weddings

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…




A Vintage Season

I know it has been an age since my last post, I guess I have been busy with the doing rather than the thinking or writing about it. Anyway, now things have slowed to a respectable part time (!?) pace I have some reflecting and planning to do.

Delphiniums at Dusk

2014 will go down in my memory as a vintage year for growing cut flowers, the weather was almost perfect – come on no farmer ever says perfect! We got off to the earliest start in our 7 years in business with an abundance of spring flowers for Mothers Day.

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Our April and May weddings had plenty to choose from, with June varieties flowering early to close any tricky gaps.

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Rain and wind held off and there was very little damage overall, the flowers just soaked up the sun and bloomed their socks off. At the other end of the season the mild autumn meant further extension of flowering, with no signs of frost for a good month longer than normal.

Fortunately I had plenty of demand to keep the G&G team busy with the cycle of sowing, planting, picking and arranging.

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And there was plenty of subject matter for Clare West whose seasonal photographic diary enabled me to view the garden and flowers with fresh eyes.


There will be more from Clare in the coming months, we are presently planning a flower photography course for next year, so watch this space!  It will be aimed at growers and florists who want to ‘up their game’ with breathtakingly beautiful images for their websites and learn more about how their cameras work.

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Our weddings this year included lots of our popular ‘buckets and bouquets’ option which has urged me to run a new course next year for DIY brides who want to brush up on their arranging skills (DIY Wedding Flowers).

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Speaking of courses I was amazed at the popularity of my two new ones this year – Flower farming for Beginners and Flower Club – it certainly demonstrates a rising trend for local, seasonal flowers whether as a business venture or just for fun.

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I am also toying with the idea of running a monthly practical workshop called a ‘Grow Along’. Attendees will join our team for a half day of hands on seasonal tasks in the cutting garden. There will be tips on everything from propagating techniques, favorite varieties, timings for continual flower, effective watering and feeding, support, best tools and equipment and much more.

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It will be a great opportunity to learn as you grow, whether for profit or pleasure.

Thank you to Clare West for the images in this post.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo by Clare West

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

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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’.

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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.