Victoria: Flowers from the Farm weekend; A trip to Organic Blooms

O R G A N I C B L O O M S

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I think I was very lucky one evening scrolling on Instagram, I managed to get myself two tickets to organic blooms for their opening for ‘flowers from the farm’ . This sold out within a matter of minutes as it was exclusively offered to just 40 people over the weekend. So, with some quick clicking action I booked for two, got very excited and then forgot all about it, as this was back in February. So when the day came around to go, I was totally unprepared for the generosity of Organic Blooms and the fabulously inspiring day they were to put on. What a treat!
’Flowers from the Farm’ are a network of farmers and smallholders who have come together to promote locally grown cut flowers and the glories of British cut flowers countrywide. Organic Blooms is one such farm who opened their doors to showcase their work, to inspire and spread the word for British grown flowers.

Organic Blooms is a Cut- flower farm just outside Bristol, they farm using sustainable methods and are organic certified by the Soil Association. They don’t supply trade but instead provide flowers for weddings and events, bouquets can be ordered online and they also supply Able and Cole - an online organic supermarket. They offer lots of teaching and workshops on the site if you want to get hands on with flower arranging and cut your own flowers as part of the experience or are looking to get started with a horticultural project of your own.
Organic blooms are a social enterprise with their main customer being the mental health sector - “At Organic Blooms we believe that we provide the environment, the expertise, and the inspiration to enable people to achieve their potential and to overcome barriers that they face when considering training and work.” It is so true! They have a lovely set up, which I imagine helps all sorts of people…who will benefit from getting outside, being around the beauty of nature and working with their hands. There is no doubt that this is what we all need. Nature can teach us so many lessons for life…about growth, beauty, individuality, seasons, slow living and more…

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Tour: The day began with a tour of the site, including the new field with new Poly- tunnels. I loved discovering ‘bells of Ireland’ - what an amazing plant; I loved the structure of it and as they dried they were these wonderful white stems with bells! It will be an aim of mine now to grow some of these at home! My second favourite discovery was the Amaranthus- which Organic Blooms were growing in a few varieties and I love, love, love the colours which are just so amazing! Both Helen and I used them in our bouquets later. I was impressed by the Phlox - I had the Creme Brulee variety in my wedding flowers, I tried to grow some this year but they did not survive the attack of slugs I suffered. The Echinacea also was very eye catching! In fact I really loved it all so definitely one up to British flowers …they are beautiful, wild and whimsical.

The tour was very inspiring, firstly just to be around beautiful flowers and in the countryside, but also because there was an atmosphere of being un-precious and the whole thing felt accessible. Wendy, Gill and Louise all shared their knowledge and although I am NOT a gardener I was very comfortable- in fact I have only this spring really had a go at planting in our garden after Rich and me cleared it last year to start again. The garden never really felt like ours and we didn’t really look after it. I have plans for it to be a wild and natural mix of country flowers and grasses- I’ve got my Pinterest board started. I have planted a border and one long planter box so far, with mixed results! But I am very inspired now to include some flowering perennials that I can cut from, some herbs that I can use for cooking and for their foliage if I want to make up a posy for home, plus using herbs gives the added benefit of wonderful smells!

Potting and Cuttings:
Our morning was spend, after the tour learning about taking cuttings and re-potting. We were let lose in one of the poly-tunnels with all the herbs. I did cuttings of rosemary and re-potted chamomile, dill and oregano- all of which we were able to take home…so my herb collection has started! How amazing to be shown and given the opportunity to get some hands-on learning, especially for someone like me who has never done it before…well of-course I have re-potted but not for the same growing purposes. Organic Bloom grow all their flowers from seed in plug-trays and then re-pot before they are planted in the ground. This slow process of loving and caring for your plants from seed seems to me to be a very rewarding process. I got straight online when I was home and started looking for seeds of the plants I liked- next spring I am going to give the process a go! What a great way to practice slow living.

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Flower bouquets: The afternoon was a chance to learn some floristry skills from resident florist and co-owner Wendy, pick our own flowers and make up a bouquet. Well I was just overwhelmed, and the freedom to choose your own flowers was such a treat! of-course at most workshops there has to be some amount of limiting to the array of flowers supplied.
My bouquet was slightly wild and dried, I love the straw flowers of the Helichrysum and using them fresh means their stems are strong enough to have in a bouquet. I added Enchinacea but pulled off the petals taking advice from Gill so that I could use the striking orange middle- which can also be dried. The Amaranthus went in along with some grasses, Yarrow and other foliage. I can’t say I did a perfect spiral bouquet but creativity took over ....I know I got over-excited to see it all come together so technique fell to the side slightly. I love working with flowers and find myself wanting to be unconventional, but more importantly something that incorporated all that I had seen in the field and loved! Helen’s bouquet was utterly stunning and again used the Amaranthus to its best, picking out the old-rose-coloured and finding other antique coloured flowers. Every single bouquet created was different and that is the joy with flowers…nothing in nature is the same.

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So I would recommend a visit to anyone who loves flowers! There will be an open day in September you can look out for or check out their workshops

The most important aspects for me was that these creative days out are just so rewarding and really allow you ‘time out. I would stress that you don’t have to be looking to be the next big talent or set up a business or to be searching for a career- just try to be open to new experiences and put yourself at the core of the experience- make your choices about you, let creativity flow in whatever way it comes to you ( like me with my slightly odd bouquet) and don’t worry about judgement, perfection or any of those things.
In my own events I really want to make the strong connection that I feel there is between being creative and practising mindfulness and ultimately having a positive effect on our well-being. I aim to teach and run workshops in a way that gives structure but allows you to connect to your flow.