We're very behind with sharing the many wonderful classes and beautiful events we've had the pleasure of working on this year here on the blog. At a dinner party recently someone (who I expect is somewhat of an authority on the matter) categorically told me that unless a blog is reliably updated at a regular frequency, it was not a blog worth reading. He mentioned a well-known architect-come-interior-designer who posts at exactly the same time every week and said that if for some reason the poor chap skipped a week he was furious. I fiddled with my napkin and moved the conversation on to Koko Loko roses.
As peak season got underway this year we had multiple projects every week, going from a wedding into a workshop into a wedding every few days and quite simply I was too busy trying to keep my head above water to write much. It saddened me that it wasn't possible to carve out the time to share each and every one as we went along and we've been pondering since how to do so, how we can make this journal more accessible and beautiful, informative and inspiring. And most importantly current and regular.
Now that we're coming to the end of the summer peak we have had a little time to reflect and catch up with ourselves. Looking back over the body of images we've built up since the growing season began in April there have been so many memorable moments, so many exquisite individual flowers and details, the shifting weather, the changing light in the studio. Many glorious pieces of student work that deserve to be remembered here. Brides with their bouquets. Candlelit wedding set-ups and shadowy cloisters. Each project has its own distinct memories attached to it, each has incorporated different ingredients that honour the garden's evolution through the year and has a colour palette reflective of the weather and the mood of the day or the week. Hastily trying to get back to being 'on schedule' by scooping them all into one immensely long post won't truly honour the characters of both the work and individuals so we have decided to keep each separate and we'll be sharing them here over the next few weeks...
These pictures are from early May, the beginning of the growing season, when the first buckets of flowers were starting to come up from the garden - tulips and narcissi from the raised beds, ranunculus and anemones from the poly tunnel. Pale lilac and rose-pink alliums, delicate fritillaries, the first ice-white agrostemma. Late spring, the vernal season, is one of our favourite times of the year - it has a distinctly fresh and frothy feel to it, the pace of the year gaining momentum.
Over two days we hosted a group of six lovely ladies from Shanghai and Beijing for a class focusing on floral styling for weddings and events. It was a celebration of spring, of intricate blossom - prunus, hawthorn and spiraea - layered with vibrant rhododendron, geum, papery clematis flowers on long vines and a peppering of tiny details in the form of grey-blue muscari, geums, ethereal colombine and two-tone pansies.
We are actively exploring new avenues for the blog. For a while now we've been considering whether there is even the space (or desire!) for blogposts any longer, with Instagram and Instagram Stories being such a brilliant 'in the moment' way of documenting the behind-the-scenes goings on over the days and weeks. But this blog means a great deal to me; it has had several incarnations over almost ten years (much of which I am very glad to say has fallen by the wayside / been edited out over time!) and it has been my way of diarising the journey of our business from its inception. I want to carry it on, and I want to make the effort to improve it.
I have always been a 'writer' - amateur - in the sense that I have been compelled to write stories, essays and, for a long time poetry, ever since I was a small child. In my late twenties as a postgrad I studied for a Masters in Creative Writing. It turned out - many months, all-nighters and thousand of pounds later - that fiction wasn't my strong point and after a failed attempt to publish a rather terrible novel I looked around at my life and knew that things had to change; I needed to move on and I needed to grow up. I was in a rapidly souring long-term relationship. I had very little money, the little I had was earned life-modelling for a famous painter in his shadowy studio on cold winter afternoons. I had published a few poems and a couple of articles in the Guardian but had compiled an entire drawer of rejection letters that just kept on coming. I was getting nowhere, and getting nowhere was taking too long. The allure of (what I presumably considered at the time) a bohemian/ creative lifestyle was starting to wear thin.
Three or four years later however, the allure of a steady salary, a pension scheme and a soulless 9-to-5 lifestyle was wearing even thinner. Flowers were a hobby that I never expected to become my vocation or my living but I am so grateful that they have. Documenting the changing seasons, the progress of our garden through the year, the way our business is developing, it is all a story that I am invested in as I have never been before, I guess because it is the daily truth but it is not one that I would ever have believed would come to pass. Now my sister and I garden, cut and arrange flowers almost every day in order to share them with others, some who have travelled a very long way, who appreciate and adore them as we do, some who may live on the other side of the world and who may never attend one of our workshops or who we may never have the pleasure of meeting but who read this blog. Regardless, I am equally grateful to everyone who has ever turned up here and stayed to scroll and read, anyone who has followed and supported us on Instagram and shared in our journey, and for that reason I really want to keep this blog alive.
So, after an intermittent two years, we are going to make our contributions here more regular. During the autumn/winter the blog will have a complete makeover. Going forward there will be the personal journal entries as before (where I do my usual seasonal flowery wittering, with lovely photographs by Jess); sharing the behind-the-scenes happenings in the studio and garden. But there will also be some flower school and events/weddings updates, which we'll keep separate and mainly pictorial, because, as much as I'd love to I don't have the time during wedding season to write up every one. Though of course I promise to save you any juicy anecdotes!
For us too, this will be a way of separating each 'chapter' , remembering all the wonderful characters who have stepped through our doors or chosen us to decorate their weddings, and celebrating the changing materials we have grown and cut from the garden.
If you would like regular updates, to receive an email notification each time a blogpost goes live, or a new workshop is scheduled, and receive invitations to events or pop-up shops at the studio please enter your name and email into the 'Subscribe' form at the top right of this page. We PROMISE we won't send you any rubbish! And you can unsubscribe at any time.
In the meantime, if any of our dear readers have ideas for content or specific requests for posts on certain subjects we will do our very best! Please leave a comment below, via the form on our Contact page or Email Us with your ideas. What would you like us to share, what are you most interested / not interested in seeing, what would you like more of? This blog is for you, so we'd really value your opinions.
Thank you in advance if you're able to reach out with your thoughts!
A & J