It was such a good way to start the year. A trip down to Devon to the Flowers from the Farm, South West Flower Growers Meeting. It started with a shared journey with two flower grower friends, so the flower chatter started nice and early.
It was an uplifting day, meeting up with other flower growers, some who I've only met through social media before, and some growers who have become friends from previous courses and meetings. It can sometimes be a lonely business to be in, especially when you are out in the field in all weathers, and so it is really important to have a support network to turn to for advice, collaboration and an understanding ear.
We listened to inspiring talks from Green and Gorgeous and Jonathan Moseley and had an update about what is in store for #Britishflowersweek this year from Liz Anderson. Rachel talked about her journey from gardener to flower farmer and was very generous in her advice and information. The first course I ever attended about growing flowers was at Green & Gorgeous and I have returned there several times. Rachel REALLY knows her stuff and always shares information, top tips and advice about potential pitfalls to avoid. Plus Ash her partner makes sure there is delicious food available and can help with some of the more tool based questions, he really knows his stuff where polytunnels are concerned, and I now have 3 wheeler envy! I'm hoping to attend another course there later this year, we got a little insight to some of the upcoming courses and they are very exciting. :-)
Jonathan was as ever a bundle of enthusiasm, full of smiles and laughter. He used British flowers to create some amazing designs, gave out loads of top tips and shared his insights into upcoming trends. He is such fun to listen to and gave advice not just about creating amazing displays but also how to use our flowers to create commercially realistic arrangements for our clients. There is no point watching a demonstration where they produce magnificent displays that would only suit a 10 foot high entrance foyer if you don't work with lots of clients who have that sort of budget, well not every week anyway! He gave us lots of ideas of how to work within a clients budget to produce fabulous results and turned the humble daffodil into a work of art!
We got to see stunning examples of foliage and garlands from Tregothnan
and a British flower stall to drool over from Flowers by Clowance
, in fact I didn't just drool over the stall but I bought an armful of flowers to come home with. I use Clowance to buy additional British flowers when I don't have any of my own growing or if I need to top up for a big event, and I bought some magnificent foliage recently from Tregothnan for my Christmas Wreath workshops.
was on hand to help with photography questions and to take a photographic record of the day which I look forward to seeing as I only remembered to take a few snaps. I'm hoping to organise a flower photography day course with Emma at My Flower Patch, so watch this space.
All that plus delicious food, the wonderful surroundings of The Corn Barn
, and a host of enthusiastic flower growers, florists and flower lovers to talk to. The only problem was that there just wasn't enough time to chat to everyone, so I'm voting for a two day event next year!
All I need now is for my spring flowers to start blooming in Wiltshire and I can have a go at recreating some of these ideas.
I hope your 2016 has also got off to a flying start.
Photographs are my quick snaps of some of the floral displays by Jonathan Moseley.