British wedding flowers

From Farm to Table: The Tale of British Grown Wedding Flowers

May 4, 2024

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Caroline & Antonia x

We are thrilled to introduce an extraordinary guest to our blog today, Georgie Newbery. A luminary in the British flower farming scene, Georgie’s beautiful blooms are a staple in our wedding designs, directly sourced from her flourishing farm in Charlton Musgrove – just a stone’s throw away from our workshop in Bruton.

Georgie isn’t just a flower farmer; she’s a veritable force of nature in the world of sustainable floristry. Since laying the foundations of Common Farm Flowers in 2010, she has blossomed into a celebrated author with notable works such as “Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers” and “The Flower Farmer’s Year,” a captivating vlogger, and an influential teacher and coach. All these roles are tethered together by her unwavering commitment to sustainability in the wedding floristry sector.

Her pioneering venture has not only carved a niche but sparked a renaissance of artisan flower farming across the UK. Through her innovative use of social media, Georgie has cultivated a thriving business and an engaging community of flower enthusiasts.

Join us as Georgie Newbery shares her invaluable insights on the enchanting journey flowers undergo from field to wedding table, illuminating the path with her expertise, passion, and dedication to her craft.

Introduction to British Flower Farmer, Georgie Newbery

It is a great compliment for Common Farm Flowers to be asked to supply a floral designer like Caroline Redpath of Fleur Provocateur.  She is well known not only for the beautiful work she creates, but therefore the exacting standards which apply not just to the creativity of her team, but to the quality of flowers she sources locally from flower farmers like me.  As a florist myself as well as a grower, I understand well the challenges she faces with each new project and we enjoy her regular visits to the flower farm, a week or so before each event, so that we can walk around the fields and choose the material she’d like to order for the following weekend.

Flower Farm at Common Farm Flowers

The Process of Ordering British Flowers

Our system is a simple one.  At the beginning of the season Caroline and I get together and look at the diary, checking availability and making a list of what may be in flower (depending on the weather,) and prices per stem.

Then we meet before each event and walk round the garden choosing which stems Caroline will order.  We don’t grow all the thousands of stems per event which are used in her designs, but I know that people come to me for the detail which gives a floral scheme a real country house herbaceous border feel: the detail, the scent, the almost over-the-top roses.  I know that Caroline has a similar relationship with several growers in this area of the South-West of England. 

We flower growers are all different: not only do we have different taste in what we like to grow, but our soil is different, the wind is different, the rain and temperature is different, even for people growing flowers within only tens of miles of each other.  And so we all have something contrasting to offer the luxury events florist.  

As the season evolves and we both find ourselves at our busiest Caroline and I may get to the stage where we are whattsapping each other for lack of visiting time with images tagged things like, ‘This is the blue sweet pea colour I was talking about,’ or ‘These roses are just popping, would you like fifty for Saturday?’

And because both of us are conscious of keeping our businesses as planet friendly as we can, once each order is agreed, you’ll find me outside in the fields at dawn, cutting the very best roses, the sweetest smelling sweet peas, the mint, the ammi, the larkspur, the foliage and so on so that they are as fresh as possible when they are collected.  For a Saturday event our flowers will be cut at dawn on Thursday for collection by one of Caroline’s team later that morning.  We are only a few miles down the road from the Fleur Provocateur studio and so the orders are collected from us, with a strict exchange of the good quality buckets we both use.  I wattsapp Caroline after I’ve harvested with a photograph of the material I’ve cut and a message, something like, ‘Seven buckets today.’  And that morning someone will pop over to collect from us, leaving in return seven more empty buckets behind to replace those she’s taken.  It’s an efficient system which keeps down waste.  Other than the buckets and fresh water there is no packaging with our flowers: as the mix is ordered by stem and cut to order, no plastic bands holding bunches together, no paper, no boxes, no courier, and the flowers from us are as fresh as they can be for each event.

A wedding held in Bruton, the home of the FP studio, and a few miles from Common Farm Flowers. British grown flowers supplied by Georgie, arranged by the Fleur Provocateur team. Image by Somerset-based Sophia Veres. Take a peek at this celebration of the best of Bruton.

Sustainability in British Wedding Flowers

The sustainable floristry practices which Caroline’s always used mean that our farm fresh flowers are arranged every time in water.  I much prefer this as it’s much easier for our field grown flowers, which have been treated with no flower preserving chemicals, to drink from a vase rather than through floral foam.  Caroline’s insistence on putting flowers in water means that we can supply her some of our wildflowers, a handful of buttercups for detail, field scabious, wild carrot and more, knowing that they will last happily in the water-based arrangements she creates in her huge collection of vessels and vases.  I’m much happier selling my flowers to someone who knows how to look after garden fresh blooms which won’t last long out of water, and would wilt in horror if treated with chemicals.  

At Common Farm Flowers we grow on a seven acre plot in Charlton Musgrove just a few miles away from the Fleur Provocateur studio in Bruton.  Half our plot is wild so that there’s plenty of space for wildflowers, small wooded areas, orchards, bees.  The half we grow flowers on is a labour of love filled with beautiful garden roses, dahlias, shrubs for foliage, and every year more annuals than I intend to grow for cutting. 

Using British Flowers for your Wedding

Do have a look at the Common Farm Flowers website for more on Georgie, her fantastic teaching, floristry and the wonderful flower farm. Her Instagram and YouTube channels are an absolutely wealth of information, you may even see Caroline popping up on there!

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Georgie for generously sharing her profound insights and captivating stories on the blog today. Her dedication to sustainable floristry and the beauty of British blooms has not only enriched our designs but also inspired a deeper appreciation for nature’s exquisite offerings. British flowers will always hold a place of honor in the creations at Fleur Provocateur, embodying the quintessence of local beauty and sustainability. Should you be drawn to the allure of using British blooms in your wedding flowers, we warmly encourage you to get in touch.

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