Workshops at Common Farm Flowers, Somerset
Forget baby lambs, sweet fluffy little chicks, the best kind of farm has to be a flower farm! I was lucky enough to discover that one of Britain's leading flower farmers lives just down the road from me! Georgie Newbury is a floral force of nature. She has lovingly tended to her 7 acre flower farm in Somerset for over 10 years and the results are simply spectacular. Her knowledge and experience, her passion and her determination just shines through every bed.
Common Farm Flowers is a haven for flower lovers, a thriving floristry business and on Tuesday the barn was buzzing with ooh's and aah's and squeals from 6 excited ladies attending the posie and silver jewellery making workshop.
Common Farm is situated down a country lane in a little village outside Wincanton. The house that Georgie shares with her husband and 2 children is the perfect welcome to the farmyard car park, and the country grey painted barn doors give a hint of Georgie's effortless styling. Georgie uses the barn to arrange, pack orders and host workshops for enthusiasts, hobby and aspiring flower farmers. The back wall of the barn is filled from floor to ceiling with antique vases and vessels, collections of jam jars and contemporary vases, interspersed with urns and ceramics.
The workshop started with general loveliness, homemade sugar sprinkled biscuits, coffee in sweet china cups and an introduction from Georgie to the types of flowers we would have the chance to pick and a run through of the day. My knowledge of flowers (quite embarrassingly) stops at their colours and the varieties in my garden, but it was wonderful to be surrounded by passionate garden growers and aspiring flower farmers, and a couple of self confessed flower nerds!
We set off for the fields, following Georgie and one of her trusty wagons, with our flower buckets slopping water everywhere, as the wagon made it's way through the arches of hedgerow.
We foraged, we fought over the first of the sweet peas, (Only kidding we shared the sweet pea stems of course!) and we formed new friendships. It's always a complete joy to be amongst people who share your loves. Who don't bat an eyelid when you gather together some "Just for today" tulips so you can photograph them by your feet. Everyone was happy, pleased to be there and it was so interesting to see how we all chose slightly different flowers for our posies.
We went about collecting 35 or so stems, including some foliage (eek I forgot that part, I was too busy lusting after some poppies in full bloom). And the wagon got a little fuller each time we turned a corner around the fields.
As we walked Georgie talked about how she's cultivated this incredible corner of England over 10 years, the different species that will appear, the brides she walks through the tulips and the bouquets that get sent out, straight from the field. I loved every minute of our ramble. Snapping away, up to my knees in floppy tulips, switching from phone to camera amongst the apple tree blossom and no one batted an eyelid when I snipped the heads off some open tulips, and lay them on a wooden crate, to snap a few photos for Instagram at my feet!
Georgie gathered us all together with a cheer and we headed back to the barn, cocooned in it's bare brick walls and raised rustic beams, with excited fingers ready to create our bouquets.
You could spot my bucket a mile off. Loud, bursting with the last hurrah. A posie for today. Everyone else had chosen stems that would last, mature in a jam jar, but I was completely drawn the the blowsiest, brightest heads in full bloom.
Georgie explained with effortless ease and charm the technique for tying a posie, and within a few minutes we all were creating (albeit on my part unknowingly) that illusive spiral in our stems. Georgie has a natural talent for finding your confidence and encouraging it. She guides you, doesn't snigger at your sweaty palms, crushing the tender wild flower stems (again just me), she bonded the group together and I couldn't believe what a treat a morning at her flower farm could be.
I adored my posie. I wanted to take a hundred photos in 5 minutes. I think I managed 99. I learnt about how to create beautiful displays at home, I've come home and been staggered at all the wild flowers I have mistaken for weeds and which will now adorn the window ledges and fireplace.
I was so proud of my creation. It had none of the understated charm of the others, it was far too tight, my stems barely fit in the jar but I loved it. It danced above the water. Go big or go home is what I said to Georgie!
It was such treat to be with other people who felt the same feeling of pride for what they had made. We all chose from the same patches, from the same fields, but we all had different visions. We all had 2 pairs of hands but created totally different displays.
If you are looking to learn, looking to spend time with new friends, that will feel like old friends, I recommend one of Georgie's workshops. I was so sorry to miss the second half of the day with Emma from Silver Pebble, making floral inspired silver jewellery, but I was very happy to have spent some time getting to know her better, rather than over Twitter!
I went home feeling elated. A wonderful few hours, chatting blogging, flowers and photography. Heaven. And full. Just look at the beautiful lunch. All local, handmade and even a drop of wine from my favourite local wine merchant Divine Wines.
A big thank you to Georgie and Emma for hosting a fantastic workshop. People travel for hundreds of miles to Common Farm and I can see why. I feel so lucky to love just 10 minutes away from Georgie's wonderful flower farm and I am sure I will be back very soon!