The growing floral designers
Local blooms make perfect scents
How do you like your blooms? Wispy tendrils or bold and proud? It’s not quite as high profile as London Fashion Week, yet British Flowers Week – until Sun 25 June – is a date that is now fixed in the social and horticultural calendar. And just as we listen to the pearls of wisdom that fall from the lips of the top fashion designers, the same is true when it comes to floral designers. This week, some of the big names have been making their preferences and predictions known. Peach foxgloves are hot right now, according to Fiona Haser Bizony of Electric Daisy Flower Farm. And Shane Connolly, a name synonymous with designing the flowers for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is talking about a look this season that is ‘looser and lighter’.
And in Herts, you’ll be pleased to know, we have our very own talented bunch who create floral designs with the flowers they grow on their own micro farms. They’re all members of the wonderful Flowers From the Farm. And where can you find them? Barnet, Berkhamsted and Baldock. First up, is Urban Flower Farmer, who took root in our Little Black Book this week. Meet Emma Sousa in East Barnet:
Emma started her professional life as a fashion buyer and has actually been a florist for almost a decade now. But she started to ask herself questions about ethical harvesting and the flowers she was using. If you’re happy chomping on Peruvian asparagus in December, you might wonder why it should be any different for flowers. If, however, you think that it’s actually more exciting to wait until strawberries are in season, then you’ll probably appreciate why seasonal, locally grown flowers make perfect sense. They also create perfect scents. Can you imagine a tulip that is naturally perfumed? They really do exist. And in Herts! Emma discovered the book The 50-Mile Bouquet and it set her on a different path, one that has led to her very own field and productive cutting patch. Emma now grows her own flowers and in my humble opinion, her design and flair gives Shane Connolly a run for his money. You can order direct from her, and she will also design flowers for any occasion, and yes, does lots of weddings. And she runs wonderful workshops that get booked up quickly.
Bettina and Trevor Davies live in Berkhamsted and founded Gillyflower two years ago. They are full of the joys of spring, summer or whatever the season, and their energy and commitment to growing an organic and sustainable business is awe inspiring. These flower farmers rock! You can order flowers from them to be delivered to your home, and they also create the most stunning designs for weddings and all other occasions. Bettina is another grower who has transferred her skills – in this case from dance and choreography – to growing. Trevor is an Alexander Technique teacher (yes, it shows in his posture) and an actor, but these days he is more flower farmer than anything else. Their growing business is based in Berkhamsted, with flower fields close to Tring. They’re in the Little Black Book. They can deliver bouquets to you, and they also design flowers for weddings, and you can also buy buckets of flowers from them for DIY events. Bettina does fantastic workshops at Frithsden Vineyard, which is a wonderful place. Gillyflower are doing the complete opposite of manipulating nature. As Trevor puts it: ‘We’re engaging with life as it is.’
In the north of the county, we’re lucky to have Johanna Brown, founder of Baldock Flower Farm, who was inspired by Rachel de Thame to dig up her whole garden, extend it, and create the most amazing field of seasonal flowers. You can turn up at her house on a Saturday to buy just cut flowers, and she also sells flowers by the bucket for events, and designs flowers for weddings, parties and all other celebrations, including funerals. You can learn more about cutting and designing with Johanna – she does workshops in her garden studio.