You might have guessed by now I’m quite keen on cut flowers, so it was with a fair amount of excitement last weekend I made a visit to one of an increasing number of British flower growers. Green and Gorgeous are based in Oxfordshire near the riverside town of Goring and have been growing a wide selection of flowers to sell direct to the public for 4 years now. A partnership between Rachel, the grower and Jo, the florist, provides stunning seasonal flowers grown without the use of chemicals and with no air miles.
I was like a kid in a sweet shop surrounded by fields of blooms. My own cut flowers are grown on my allotment in 2, sometimes 3, beds but the scale at Green and Gorgeous was something else. Rachel and Jo take their inspiration from English country gardens and all around were roses, cornflowers, scabious, sweet peas and campanulas.
I’d come to get some inspiration for my own cutting patch and with my note-book and camera at the ready there was plenty to fire my imagination. Although, a slightly worried looking Wellyman did point out I don’t have several acres at my disposal.
Green and Gorgeous sell their flowers at local farmers’ markets or direct from their site on Saturday mornings, when visitors can walk amongst the flower beds and pick their own arrangement. I loved this idea of bringing the customers so close to the product. Modern ways of shopping for perishable goods may have meant more convenience but they have taken us away from the production processes involved. I believe you value a product more when you have some idea about the time and effort it has taken to grow or make it, whether that’s the fruit and veg on sale at a farmers’ market, clothes made by a dressmaker, furniture by a carpenter or flowers from a flower farmer. The anonymous rose you buy from the supermarket may well have travelled a vast distance and been produced in such a way that the environment and those growing it have been exposed to damaging chemicals. But it’s harder to know this or care when there’s so much distance between you and the production process. Being able to see the flowers growing in the fields, talk to the growers and then select what you want is so far removed from most other shopping experiences and I thought it was an inspired idea.
A major part of Green and Gorgeous’ business is weddings and parties, with the option of the flowers being picked, arranged and delivered or their ‘buckets and bouquets’ service where you can do the arranging yourself. They also have a great selection of vases and containers available for hire.
Throughout the year they offer courses imparting their knowledge on growing your own cut flowers and how to arrange them, all set on their magical flower farm.
Only 15 miles north of the M4 they are well worth a visit, if flowers is your thing but if you can’t make it to them direct you can still experience a touch of Green and Gorgeous as they also send mail order bouquets.
For more information you can visit them at Green and Gorgeous.