July got off to an amazing start. We won a Silver Gilt award at the Kent County Show for our flower display!
In early spring 2018 we decided to enter the Kent County Show to bring Orchard Oast Flowers and all that we offer to a wider audience. First time we had done anything so big with our flowers. We were – and still are! – overwhelmed and thrilled at being awarded Silver Gilt for our display.
The category we entered was to create a flower display in an area 6m wide x 3m deep x 3m high. So it was not just a vase on a table. We had a whole big space to fill with our vibrant, colourful flowers.
We grow with the seasons, sowing seeds around the spring equinox and tending our seedlings in our small glass greenhouse, with no extra heating. We work completely in tune with Mother Nature and her weather, day by day, even hour by hour in extremes of hot, wet and cold weather.
Our idea for our display was to take along a seasonal snapshot of our flowers growing at the time of the show. To highlight the farming heritage of Orchard Oast - once used for drying hops grown on the local farms – we used vintage bushel crates to create the effect of mini raised beds. As growers who only use our own flowers for our posies, bouquets and floral designs, we felt it was important to have our flowers ‘growing live’ at the show, as well as having large cut flower arrangements in old pottery ‘Winnie the Pooh’ honey jars on display in some of the bushel crates too.
As spring moved through late April, into May and early June, the weather proved to be very topsy turvy. One day unseasonably cold and wet, the next sunshine, only to be followed by day after day of low heavy cloud. Seedlings were slow growing in our mini raised beds, as were all our flowers around our garden farm this year.
This sounds all well and good – one’s mind can still leap in and chat away with fears and doubts… ‘Are you really sure you’ll have something to show?’…Thank goodness for the flower essences we produce from our flowers! Flower essences bridge mind and soul, calming the anxious, unrelenting chatter of the mind to hear the still voice of calm which speaks quiet, encouraging words of wisdom 24/7. Our English Garden Flower Essences which gave their support especially on the journey to the show were:
This is where our years of studying and working with the wisdom and spirit of nature came to our support. Looking at the seedlings and their slow growth could easily have caused a great deal of stress! As show time loomed ever closer, nothing seemed to be growing and there were times when we could have easily assumed we would be taking along green shoots in crates and some lovely greenery arranged in our jars, and no flowers at all!!! Taking time to tune in to nature, the message we heard over and over was that come the day, we would have enough flowers to create 5 huge displays, let alone one! And as for the seedlings growing in the bushel crates – well, we knew we wanted to take a snapshot of our garden flower farm as it was at the time of the show, so if the flowers were still in bud, then that’s how they were meant to be. Growing seasonally and creating with our flowers through the seasons is very important to us. Not forcing flowers to be available ‘just because’ is part of our philosophy. We grow as nature does. And because we sow and grow successionally, it means we have a flow of different flowers through the spring, summer and autumn, making each order truly unique.
Oxeye Daisy Takes you to the heart of stillness.
Dandelion Seed Head For organisation and structure within disorder and chaos. To get things done in an orderly way.
Apple Crown To wear your own crown of authority. For self-confidence.
Cosmos For inspiration To see, hear and feel ideas above the clouds of the mind.
Light Pink Rose For anxiety.
Chaos to Calm To settle energies down. To calm choppy thoughts. To become clear.
2 weeks before the show date, the sun came out for good, temperatures soared into the late 20’s (and are still there end of July!) and the flowers bloomed in all their glory! Even our bushel crates had flowers, obviously the perfect number for a Silver Gilt!
Just before the Kent Country Show, Shelley spent a day at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show as a member of Flowers From The Farm - the nationwide network of British flower farmers, growers and florists - promoting the work of FFTF and the beauty of British grown flowers long with fellow growers Heidi Neilson of Beehaven Flowers, Bella Butler from West End Flower Farm and Sue Gillman of Garden of England Flowers.
A Meditation of Flowers: Summer Colour Morning Workshop on the flower farm
Three lovely nature goddesses came along to enjoy a morning with the wisdom of our colourful flowers, for meditation, peace and a creative space to pick and arrange the flowers calling to each of them. In glorious sunshine, a sacred and peaceful space was shared.
It was so interesting to see the different flowers each lady chose. Shelley talked them through the flower essence story they had blended in their arrangements from the flowers they had picked. All completely unique. Being able to offer the garden as a beautiful space in which to really connect with the flowers, to take time out from the world to have quiet time for themselves was really appreciated and something I will be offering more of in the Autumn and also in 2019. And they could each choose a flower essence from one of the flowers growing in season which they also enjoyed doing.