Today, I’m delighted to feature an interview with the lovely ladies who run The Garden Gate Flower Company…farm owner Penny, her daughter Rebecca and family friend, Marion.
When did you start The Garden Gate Flower Company and where are you based?
We planted our first seeds in June last year and had our first order in September.
We’re based on Penny’s and Chris’s certified organic farm which is up the hill from Fowey in Cornwall…with stunning views of the sea in one direction and the moors in the other.
What types of flowers do you grow?
As we’re an organic farm, we started with plants which were already certified.
Tamar Organics do a good range of seeds which includes native meadow flowers such as cornflowers, larkspur, poppies, yarrow and corncockle, and edibles such as chamomile, fennel, hyssop, nigella and sunflowers. And then cottage garden favourites like sweet peas, wallflowers and cosmos.
We’re also lucky to have the gardens of the farmhouse to pick from. There are lots of rambling, climbing and English roses, honeysuckle, clematis, shrubs and trees, plus a beautiful jasmine which grows up the house.
So we have beautiful plants ranging from echinops and heliopsis, to herbs such as salvias, lavender and rosemary establishing in the garden.
The great thing about growing our own is that we can use and supply a huge variety of flowers.
Where do you sell your flowers?
We sell mail order bouquets for next day delivery anywhere in the UK.
We’ve done mail order weddings and will provide a bespoke consultation service for brides over the phone.
We advertise with The Natural Wedding Company on-line and Charlie, the founder, has been really supportive of us in our first year.
What type of floristry services to you offer?
We provide flowers for weddings, reception flowers for local businesses, hand-tied mail order bouquets, frequently bespoke as customers often want a specific flower or colour, and funeral flowers.
We offer a specific growing service for brides. And for weddings in Cornwall and West Devon, we hold a personal consultation in the cutting garden and flower studio. The brides can then see the flowers for themselves and we can get a really good idea about what they would like.
We’re experimenting (on each other!) with hair crowns and flowers for hair for bridesmaids, brides and even special events.
We also offer a personal floral finishing and styling service for brides to ensure the perfect flowers for the bride and groom and their attendants, and for the ceremony venue and reception in Cornwall and some of Devon.
We specialise in a natural laid-back look which suits an increasingly popular style of event, which has a low carbon footprint and supports our native wildlife.
Could you tell us what workshops you run?
In the run up to Christmas, we ran wreath making workshops. One was in aid of Breast Cancer Care, with home-made cakes and coffee. And we plan to run more this Christmas too.
Coming up for Mother’s Day, on Saturday 9th March, we have a ‘Constance Spry Inspired Workshop’, with all materials provided, and cakes of course, for participants to spend some quality time with their mothers.
On Saturday 30th March, we have ‘Beatrix Potter inspired workshop for Easter’. Children can spend a morning or an afternoon with their Mum, Dad or chosen grow-up, selecting and picking the flowers from our garden themselves, enjoying home-made lemonade and cakes, and take home a pretty posy in a tea cup, and a packet of seeds to make their own little garden at home.
On Wednesday 22nd May, we have another ‘Inspired by Constance Spry’ workshop. We demonstrate how to pick, condition and arrange flowers for your home followed by a practical workshop.
Our workshops are aimed at all abilities and are a wonderful opportunity to spend time getting creative with flowers from our cutting garden.
We’re also able to offer private one-to-one tutorials tailored to customers’ requirements.
What are your plans for 2013?
We’re a new business, so we’re looking forward to the summer and seeing all our hard work in the garden coming into bloom.
We’re expanding an area to devote to annuals and a larger area to perennials, especially for autumn colour and shrubs to up the interest on our winter wreaths and bouquets.
And we’ll be looking at developing new ideas for workshops, such as DIY wedding flowers, Grow your Own wedding flowers and inspired workshops on arranging.
What is your favourite flower?
We have reached an unusual consensus and our favourite flower has to be the rose!
We know it’s a bit of a cliché but we really adore their scent. And, if you pick the right ones, they’re not fussy or high maintenance.
They propagate easily, flower for ages and look fabulous in the garden and in a bouquet, or even on their own, in bud, in flower or for hips.
We love the rambler Paul’s Himalayan Musk, which has fabulous small buds and sprays of flowers when it’s in full bloom.
Old-fashioned ramblers and ‘English roses’ all have a beautiful scent, distinct and delicate shapes.
They’re so reminiscent of our own gardening heritage and floral traditions…we can’t get enough!
Many thanks to Penny, Rebecca and Marion for all their help in compiling today’s blog post.
(Images : The Garden Gate Flower Company)