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.
A woman after my own heart. Like you I have started growing cut flowers on my allotment this year and have been following the advice of the gurus like Sarah Raven to understand the best varieties to grow. So far it’s going very well.
Living fairly close to the Green & Gorgeous Flower Farm we paid a visit a few weeks ago when they had an NGS open day. It’s a wonderful place – oh, how I long for acreage and a polytunnel!
Thanks for the enjoyable post.
It was a lovely place and so inspiring. I really must remember I don’t have acres when I get the bulb and seed catalogues out. 😉
Sounds a wonderful place and as if you had a fantastic time, coming home inspired. I don’t think people realise how many air miles their flowers travel before getting to the supermarket, or the conditions they are grown in. We could do with more farms like this one.
It seems like there are more and more British cut flower growers which is great. My mind has been buzzing with ideas ever since.
No, you’re not going to temp me. I can’t possibly grow flowers for cutting in this heat!, no, no, no! Christina
Christina, Mmm not sure how my flower patch would cope with 40C heat and the watering would be a nightmare, something that hasn’t been a problem this summer. WW
Goodness, I can only imagine how nervous you made wellyman making notes and taking photos in a place like that!! How wonderful, and I agree, a far cry from picking up a bunch of flowers in a supermarket, quite probably grown in Kenya where they have to use prescious water to irrigate the flowers we buy as a luxury rather than for growing food for their own people. Madness.
Janet, Fortunately Wellyman is fairly relaxed about it all. I’m even in discussions about a greenhouse, once we know what’s happening about the job!
Caro (urbanvegpatch) said:
Sounds like a great day out to me – lots of inspiration, camera and notebook in hand, blog post forming in the mind. Fab. Totally agree about learning to appreciate the value of what we buy. During her informal talk to the visitors at her herb farm, Jekka McVicar mentioned the process and time that goes into producing the herbs she offers for sale. Yes, they are more expensive than the plants available in a garden centre or supermarket, but there was a real sense of the personal care for each plant – and, of course, she has to charge a price that reflects her hard work and will keep her business running. It’s made me think more deeply about the cost, and quality, of everything I buy and grow.
I always buy my cut flowers every Saturday morning from Salamanca Market (in Hobart, Tasmania). The grower I buy from grows cut flowers at their property 30km from where I live in central Hobart and has been selling cut flowers for 15-20 years. Their bouquets are so beautiful (and reasonably priced) I even bought my wedding flowers and bridal bouquet from these people!
I can’t claim environmental consideration as the main reason I buy from local growers. The truth is I hate florist flowers. They look plastic, have no perfume and are outrageously priced. I much prefer blowsy cottage style bouquets with perfume.
Do other gardeners have trouble cutting flowers from their own garden? My husband thinks it is hilarious that I buy cut flowers every week, despite having a reasonably large 900sqm garden (by inner city standards) full of blooms! I just can’t bring myself to cut anything. In fact the only garden blooms that make it inside our house are ones that have been accidentally snapped in wind or by our dog or our 2 year old daughter.
Spring in definitely on the way in our garden and yet despite having all sorts of spring bulbs beginning to bloom, yesterday I bought 2 bunches of perfumed jonquils!
I do cut a few flowers from the garden but only to supplement those from my patch on the allotment. The garden would look pretty bare if I kept cutting from there 😉 Great to hear from you on the other side of the world as we’re slipping into autumn you’re coming into spring. Loving the sound of your local cut flower grower. I do agree so much about florists’ flowers. I think there is a bit of a revolution here, moving away from the rigidity of shop-bought flowers as people want something more natural.
What a terrific post about a lovely day out!
Green and Gorgeous have well deserved reputation as flower growers and suppliers.
I do so agree with you, and the other commenters about supermarket flowers.
Thanks Flighty. My mind has been buzzing with ideas ever since. Think I need a bigger plot! 😉
I did the cutting garden course last September at G & G and had the most incredible day. This year I have turned three redundant raised veg beds in my garden into a wonderfully prolific cutting patch.
I’m now very tempted to take back my allotment plot with dreams of taking it a little further … there always seems to be yet *another* flower that I’d like to grow and I can never have enough dahlias!
Found you on Twitter, by the way, and am loving reading back through your blog : )
Hi Dragonfly, Thank you for visiting. Growing cut flowers is great fun, even in a year like this one. I loved G and G and I can imagine their courses are fun and informative. Hope to visit there again soon.
Hi you have inspired me to grow a cutting garden on my allotment this year but any ideas how to get rid of all tiny little bugs that seem to hop out every time i bring them indoors no matter what flower they are ?
Hi Lorraine, Putting you flowers somewhere shady before you bring them indoors will encourage them to leave, perhaps a shed with the door open or a shady corner near the house. The should leave, moving towards the light. Great to hear you’ve been inspired to grow cut flowers.