Last week saw three beautiful and talented ladies joining Brigitte of Moss & Stone and I in my garden for our Gather & Grow Roses summer workshop. Rather than creating something new today to share with you I thought I would show you the lovely creations we made with my garden flowers last week.
Gather & Grow workshops start, of course, with coffee and a chat. After some very long journeys it is nice for everyone to relax and get to know each other before we start anything serious. In the case of the ladies we welcomed last week there was so much chat going on that I had to put my stern hat on to call them to order and begin the morning! After discussing the best ways of planting, pruning and caring for roses we headed out into the garden to look at the increasing number of roses that I am growing. This has been a fabulous year so far for my roses. Most are in flower with just a few to come and plenty of buds to replace the flowers that are going over. I find it so hard to keep to the 2 hour time allocation for this part of the course – there are always so many questions and inevitably we stray into growing advice for other flowers that catch participants eyes as we walk around. Whilst the day was on the cool side rain kept away and we managed to just fit in all the roses before Brigitte called us in for lunch. Brigitte and I prepare a lunch ahead of of time so we only need to warm a few things and pour the drinks before we all sit down together to carry on with the garden chat.
After lunch we headed to the Coach House where Brigitte had already prepared a lovely selection of flowers cut from my garden with a few extra treats from her garden and the hedgerow for us to enjoy. As I have said before (many times!) Brigitte is a flowery inspiration! Not only does she wax lyrical over every flower she has cut, she is also a mine of information on wild flowers and sees beauty in weeds that most of us are too busy digging out of our borders to ever look at properly. She caught me out with two cuttings that I thought she had brought from her garden. After telling me that I had plenty in my borders she revealed them to be flowering ground elder and the just flowered stems of docks. Both were exquisite!
Brigitte brings a lightness of touch to her arranging that is hard to emulate. She has taken a vow this year to avoid floral foam (oasis) completely as it is totally non bio degradable. Even her large scale wedding work is now being done without floral foam, which I think is something we all should try to do. In this workshop all the flowers were arranged into bowls filled with water and chicken wire. Her arrangement below included foliage from an ornamental quince and a weeping pear, plenty of roses which were allowed to droop as they would in the garden, a beautiful single yellow aquilegia, a few geums and plenty of flowering ground elder. The beautiful silk runner which was used to style these shots was brought by Corette of Cfeurs Design who makes and sells hand dyed wedding ribbons on Etsy.
The next arrangement was made by Paula from Hill House Vintage. Paula is a very talented vintage interior designer with a beautiful Georgian home which she fills with the treasures that she finds and shares daily on Instagram. Her beautiful creation includes a lovely foxglove (Suttons Apricot), some beautiful pink roses, philadelphus foliage, annual phlox, orlaya and of course a few stems of ground elder.
Corette, the talented lady behind the silk runner, choose a lovely colour combination of apricot, rust and plum shades for her flower bowl. Foliage of cotinus and an ornamental plum was complimented by a selection of roses, trailing clematis and calendula Touch of Red.
Whilst we were working (largely in silence as everyone was concentrating so hard on their creation) my poor lonely chicken decided to pop her head in and see what we were up to. My little Buff Orpington flock has dwindled to just 2 ladies this spring and as one has been broody for the past month this lady has become very friendly – following me around the garden whenever I am out for company. Her companion is back in the garden now, complete with a new chick (of 3 eggs only 1 hatched) which I will show you on another day.
Lynn is not only a very successful business woman, she is also a very talented artist and wowed us over coffee with photographs of her screen prints. She choose a lovely colour combination of pink roses varying from pale to very rich shades complimented by that lovely little orange geum Totally Tangerine, sweet peas and astrantias.
Last but hopefully not least my creation majored on white peonies! My peonies are really at their end and I knew these ones would barely make it through the day but they are so beautiful when overblown like this that I could not resist using them. The addition of some rambling roses, honeysuckle, dock stems, grasses and just a few of that geum finished the arrangement.
Gather & Grow days have become highlights of my gardening year. I am so proud that these stunning bowls of flowers have been made primarily from flowers that I have grown and that our participants always go from not knowing where to start to producing something worthy of a magazine. It always amazes me that when everyone has the same flowers to choose from all the arrangements end up so looking so different. Although I am hosting the day I always learn so much from all our participants and love meeting and sharing time with them as much as I love to send them away inspired by new ideas and techniques that they can take home to their gardens. The process of working with Brigitte has changed how I look at my garden and whilst I would certainly not advocate a complete acceptance of weeds in the garden, as I am coming to appreciate their beauty I am certainly also becoming much more tolerant of their presence.
I have not linked to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for quite some time but I am keen to get back to my Monday flower habit so am doing so today. Do pop over to her blog to see what she and her many readers have made from their gardens today.
I will leave you with a quote I read and loved this week: ‘May all my weeds be wild flowers’.