Making the Most of your Cutting Patch with Georgie Newbery - Transcript

Hi flowery fam! In an effort to make our show more accessible - we are endeavouring to produce a transcript for as many episodes as we can!

Our show is completely un-scripted (we don't even send guests questions before hand, we like them to think on their feet!) so we can't share that with you - but I warn you that reading a transcript doesn't always translate as well as the written word does at it's a literal transcription of what was said. Here we go - we hope you enjoy! Nicole

Hello flower friends and welcome to this week's episode of Let's grow girls where we chat all things flowery [Intro music - acoustic cover of Shania Twain's Man I Feel Like A Woman].


Sarah

We're back for another one, Nicole.


Nicole

We are indeed.


Sarah

What have you been up to this week, Nicole before we get into it?


Nicole

Basically hiding inside, although I did have a really productive day on the weekend getting out the last few bulbs in the garden. Washed the greenhouse, couldn't walk for two days afterwards. But you know, those muscles haven't been worked for a good few weeks over over December. But getting back into the swing of things now.


Sarah

I impulse bought some pastel Gladiolus in Home Bargains.


Nicole

Well, that's not a bad thing.


Sarah

No, and I decided they're not going in the cut flower patch. I'm going to put them in my front garden for me to enjoy!


Nicole

and I don't know about you, but the weather here is turned so miserable


Sarah

So British Nicole! Nothing to talk about so just turn to the weather. Honestly, our American listeners are going to be appalled with us - is all we do is Brits talk about the weather.


Nicole

I know but it is really miserable at the moment is grey is raining and I definitely do not garden in the rain


Sarah

The ground is frozen here as well. So I cant do anything if I wanted to. What a shame!


Nicole

Awful. Just stay inside and plan.


Sarah

Yeah, no thanks!


Nicole

But that does kind of lead us into our next guest...


Sarah

Talking of planning. This week, we are joined by the amazing, the one, the only Georgie from Common Farm Flowers.


Nicole

Georgie has got absolutely masses of experience in starting a cut flower patch from scratch, and developing it into a massively successful flower business.


Sarah

I mean, she was doing it before it was cool, you know.


Georgie

She's got so much amazing experience that she's very kindly shared some of it with us today. We have learned a lot from this episode. And we really hope that you guys do too. So over to Georgie.


Sarah

Well, technically Nicole, because you're gonna introduce her but whatever.


Nicole

Roll tape!


So welcome to the podcast. Georgie. How are you today?


Georgie

Cold. Thank you very much. Just like the rest of us, I think. Yeah, exactly. Although we're forecasted the Beast in the East, I think next week, so it'l be colder next week


Nicole

yeah, the weather forecast is not looking great for flower growers over the next couple of weeks, is it?


Georgie

No, but it's not a busy time. I mean, you can be as busy as you want. But it's it's not a big time for sowing seeds or anything for me. Not yet. I wait until 15th of February


Nicole

Oh, you've got a very specific timetable?


Georgie

Oh, yes, my timetable is written in stone!


Nicole

Whereabouts in the country are you?


Georgie

We're in Somerset, between Bruton and Wincanton and South Somerset, middle of nowhere.


Nicole

So we did a little bit of an intro to you at the start of the podcast. But would you like to introduce yourself to the listeners first and just give us a bit of a background about you?


Georgie

So my name is Georgina Newbury and I have been running common farm flowers here in Somerset since 2010. So a nearly 11 years old. And we grow about a quarter of a million stems a year for cutting


Nicole

Very shocked faces from both me and Sarah!


Georgie

Well, you'll learn if you grow flowers for cutting in any kind of serious way. Sooner or later you need to start counting your stems because then you know what you want to grow. So I know that I cut about I grow about quarter million stems a year. And I we send bouquets by courier. Almost 52 weeks here, not quite. I've had the last three weeks officers Christmas day and a half. We send about 2000 bouquets by post a year, by courier, and we do certain amount of local work. And we do normally we do loads of weddings and events. Obviously, all that's up in the air still! And I teach workshops I teach masses of workshops, which I love is the bit I like to do most. And normally we would do about 30 days a year here at the farm. But good old COVID has forced me online. And actually, it's fantastic. Because I've managed to keep on with my teaching, it's been a great income, which you know, has made a huge difference because we've lost the weddings, and I wouldn't have had my normal workshop income. And it's been really, really fun. And I think, you know, looking for the positive in all of this, which is so negative, I think for small businesses like mine, COVID has made us think, really hard and be quite light on our feet. And the people who've been able to move with it, have learned a lot of new skills in lockdown, lots of new things. So I'm, in a way I'm not grateful to, because what a grim business has been. But it has certainly forced me out of my comfort zone. But definitely got a look at the postives.


Nicole

And I guess for other people, it's been a positive in that you've been able to reach a bit further afield for your courses, you know, people who wouldn't ordinarily be able to travel down to the to farm, which is amazing.


Georgie

Well, it's fantastic. And actually, what's been really nice is because the, if you're doing an online workshop, you can't do whole days, it's, it's boring, you can't just sit and listen to one person endlessly droning on for a day. So what I've done is I've taken the workshops that I normally do, and I've split them into modules, so that people can do quite a lot of different things as the mood takes them. I get people coming back time and again. And you know, and if they want to know more about growing flowers, for example, they come and do the designer cut flower patch workshop, or the flower farmers year I'm doing tomorrow, and that's sold out. And I know it'll sell out again, I've got another date later on in the spring. And you know, we were talking about dates and how I'm very specific on what I get done when, and a lot of people grow flowers now for a living, or at least to contribute a good deal to their living. And so that very specific flower farmers year is really, really useful workshop for people. And we do social media workshops, workshops for small businesses.


Nicole

So how big is your, I'm reluctant to use the word patch because it does sound somewhat field?


Georgie

It's probably bigger than your average patch. It's a seven acre plot, but half of it is cultivated and the other half is wild. And we have a very strong ethos here. The idea is that we grow flowers to pay for our lives. But also to support an incredible environment for wildlife. My husband, Fabrizio, he came up with this sentence, which supposed to be what drives us. "We look after the invertebrates and the rest of the food chain can look after itself." And so in order to do that, we need some wild areas. And so about half of the seven acres is wild, or woodland or orchard old meadow, he's made the most incredible meadow. And then the other three and a half acres of cut flowers. And we aim to have the garden in full flower from the first of April to mid November, which is a 30 week season. And then in the winter between those times our Cornish colleagues who don't freeze keep us in flowers. So we don't stop, we send flowers out all around. And they're always only British grown. We've never ever used imports, not because there aren't beautiful flowers imported, but just for for, for green reasons. We've chosen green, and we're gonna stick with that.


Yeah, we've spoken a lot about that on the podcast over the over the last few episodes. But we really agree with that ethos.


Sarah

I have actually sent my mum a bunch of your flowers several times. with you before I knew about growing flowers. I hadn't connected the two things together. Because you have one celebrity client, I was telling Nicole about this, who loves to talk about your flowers, and that is Dawn French who I follow avidly. And she kept tweeting about your flowers. And so I got on board and I started sending your flowers. And it's mad now that I grow them I hadn't connected the dots


Nicole

That was actually the first thing ever said to me when I suggested you for the podcast. She's like, Oh my god, she just don't French's flowers.


Georgie

She's been a really, really and she's a huge supporter of what we do, which is really very nice for And so yeah, we're very lucky. We've got we've got some fun. We have got some fun clients who've been very loyal over the years, you know, 10 years down the line. I think we've been sending flowers to dawn for maybe six years I've been going on and on.


Nicole

I think you've actually said to me, You didn't say Dawn Frenchor she said the Vicar of Dibley, didn't you call her?


Sarah

I'm bad with the names!


Nicole

So when you startedout. Did you start out with such a big plot? Or did you grow into it?


Georgie

No. Well, we we moved here in 2004. And I had been in London, and before that in Paris, and so I was a city girl. And then I met my husband. And we had this sort of fantasy of having a sort of, we thought we'd have a Market Garden. I didn't, we didn't think about it at all we really came up with no, it was at we had no business plan, no cash flow forecast, nothing, that we just had this fantasy of having a Market Garden. And so we spent a year looking for a falling down house because we couldn't afford anything grand or smarter, and they were in it in any good Nick. So it took us a year to find this place, which is really it is a falling down farmhouse. And every now and again, we do something to it. But I still haven't sorted out the windows 17 years down the line. But it did come with a good patch of land, it came with seven acres. And you wouldn't necessarily choose these seven acres if you had all the money in the world because they are thick Somerset clay. And this was the common, the village common land. It's the worst land in the village. Because obviously landowners don't leave the best Land of the village for the common people to use. They take the best in the village


Nicole

Hence your name!


Georgie

Yeah. So that's why we're Common Farm flowers. And so we so we found this patch of land and it was very wet and it was what we could afford. So yeah, 17 years later, here we are. And we I'm very glad we we managed to find a place so that I'm working on the land. And I live here, rather than having to go somewhere to work my plot. That was by chance. That's just how it worked out. And so we thought we would be smallholders. So we kept pigs and sheep and chickens, you know, all thought you would do grew vegetables. And pigs are really hard work. And also they're really nice. And so it's really hard to send them to slaughter,


Nicole

I was gonna say to have they turned you vegetarian?!


Georgie

They didn't turn us vegetarian. But you know, they were really lovely. And so it was very hard to send them off to slaughter. So after keeping up to two sets of pigs, we decided we wouldn't have any more pigs. And then we have sheep who we loved. And there was no way we could send these to slaughter. So they never had old ladies and eventually went the way of all living things. And then we grew masses of vegetables. But I was so bored with vegetables. I mean, you've got to love what you grow


And, Meanwhile, we had two tiny children. And so going to market was really difficult because the children were really tiny. And so that was really difficult. And anyway, and meanwhile, I was beginning to grow flowers, just for me. And then one day, somebody sent me a bunch of flowers in the post and I had an absolute lightbulb moment. This is what I'm going to do. And so the the vegetables would just get ignored, and the chickens every time we had chickens, the fox ate them. So no more chickens, no more sheep, no more pigs. I love growing flowers, I can't resist growing flowers. So I might as well sell them because you can't, you know, it doesn't take much more effort to grow quite a lot more flowers. And they're worth more


Sarah

And you can't eat them.


Georgie

But also, a sweetpea is worth more than a lettuce leaf. And it takes about the same amount of work. So Hmm.


Sarah

And one smells much nicer.


Georgie

And anyway, Charles Dowding is my next door neighbour


He's about five miles up the road. So I was like, Well, you know, Charles does the veg, I'll do the flowers. So the light bulb moment and from then on, it just took off. But I think it does help that you really you've got to really love what you do. And because it is very hard work. But there's nothing like having two small children in the house to make you want to escape them. I love them. But a very hard work. They also very hard work. So I escaped them into the garden and the garden gets done. And then when I've had enough to garden, I get back in the house and I look out to the children and so on. Well, that sounds like a perfect combination. But but anyway.


Nicole

So how did you decide what to grow? How did you know what flowers would work for you? What would sell well, you know, how did you get down to that list of flower


Georgie

It was a slow process and I made I really wasn't very systematic about it at the beginning. But I quite quickly started teaching workshops. And so therefore I had to I had to stop and think about what I was doing. So I could teach workshops. Workshops have been brilliant because they've made me analyse what and how I do what I do, so that I can teach other people to do it. For me, it's not really the varieties I grew, it's the shapes I grew. So I want to particular kinds of shapes through the season. So I'll always have a daisy shape, I'll always have a spike. I'll always have a scent. So sweet peas all the way through. I'll always have accent flowers, and you know, the big showstoppers and always have lace, you know, and if you think I'm always gonna have legs, then you can grow Ammi Majus, me Ammi Visnaga, dill, fennel, wild carrot, they're all lace. So you can arrange to have lace all summer.


Nicole

I havent thought of thinking of the particular varieties, we had somebody asked us in our Facebook group about what she should grow, zinnia or cosmos? And I? My answer to her was what do you want your bouquets to look like? And I already put two and two together like what you've just said? Well,


Georgie

no, yeah, and zinnias and Kosmos are both Daisy shapes. And I would say that a zinniamplant in this climate does better for longer.... no I mean, a Cosmos plant. And this climate does better for longer than a Zinnia. It's very strong. It's quite a strong flower. And so long as you grow the bigger ones, it can be in your mix, it can be the accent flower, whereas the cosmos is never going to be an accent flower


What happens with me is I grow cosmos, and it begins to flower, because the light changes so dramatically through the season. And when they start flowering in July, that sun is still quite high, and it makes the colour of the cosmos quite flat. And they flower anything. Why don't I like them, they're horrible. They're very boring and the colours, the colours a bit flat, the pink is a bit flat. The red is too strong. Anyway, then the season goes on. And the sun comes down a bit and goes underneath the cosmos. And suddenly you're like, Oh, that's why I grow the cosmos. Why did I ever doubt myself? Yeah, why do I ever doubt myself. So the skill is to sell your Cosmos really late because you don't want it in June and early July because the sun's wrong.


Sarah

And one thing I learned about Cosmos was I found it grew quicker than I could cut it. And so one thing I started doing, I saw someone in arrangement used the buds and the greenery. Yeah. And so I started with chopping everything, I would just take the tops off basically all the plants and the flowers or reduce the buds, but that way it kept in check. And actually a nice foliage!


Georgie

I thought it was lovely foliage, I like to cut when the bugs have just a little bit of colour, so they're just beginning to come. And then I'll send the bouquet and by the time it gets the reciever, the bouquet arrives with somebody. And then the flowers last longer, they're three or four days later, then the cosmos is coming into flower. So long as the person is looking after the bouquet and giving them clean water and things and so makes a bouquet full of surprises, which is a bonus. But zinnias on the other hand, well they don't do brilliantly here because it's so wet. And I think that


Nicole

I'm not crazy about them. I have to admit I've grown in the last three or four years and I'm yet to find a variety that I've fallen in love with


Georgie

It's useful to have green flowers yet. So that's a reason to grow them. Unless you've got a really hot dry late summer, which in England, we don't always you know, I quite often have a wet damp quite cold let's


Nicole

or you get those two or three weeks of hot misery dont we


Georgie

Yeah. Which doesn't do them any favours. So I, I sometimes I mean, I do sow them, but I do them in very small quantities and I tend to use them as filler. Or you know, I've got a gap I'll Chuck in a bit of Zinnia seed and in a sort of opportunistic way, but I won't rely on them to do a big job for me ever. And they're not tall enough to do a big deal. You know, whereas of Cosmos you can cut your Cosmos cut two feet! If you are doing a big wedding, you can get the whole blooming plant and I mean, it's just lovely. And they and they don't wilt you know, so long as you look after them. They're and they're lovely. So yeah, I see I see why you would choose a Cosmos over Zinnia they were


Sarah

one of the things that we were we get asked all the time was is around like how do you start even planning a cutting patch? A lot of our listeners are growing on a smaller scale you know in a smaller alltoment or in a garden. How would you recommend starting?


Georgie

I think it's really simple as with all jobs, from doing Christmas planning to planning a holiday - to cut everything down into its constituent parts. And a good cut flower patch has three useful ingredients. It has accent flowers, your showstoppers, filler, and greenery and foliage, which is three. You can also then say that your seasons is spring, summer and autumn three. And then you can then say I would, I do say have three therefore three sets of everything. So I'll have three small beds and you can do this in pots. You can have three pots for the spring, three pots for the summer and three pots for the autumn. Or you can have three and a half acres and half an acre spring and a summer. But I cut everything into threes. So that I've always got at any one time of the year. A third foliage a third filler, and a third accent flowers. And it's really really simple so you then go Okay, so what is going to be my supplies for the spring and then I say to people well what I would do by you is have a Pinterest page...


Nicole

Oh that's a rabbit hole.


Georgie

No, no but you don't have to! It's only a rabbit hole of you haven't got any self control!


Sarah

I'm not sure I have any!


Georgie

make yourself three Pinterest pages and you don't have to share them anyone they can be private. It's like making a scrapbook and pin your accent flowers for each, spring summer autumn. And then pin what you're going to grow to be your filler for Spring Summer autumn pin what you've got from foliage or what you're going to grow to be foliage spring farmer autumn and I guarantee you will spend about a third of what you used to spend on seed.


And you will grow actual bucket that way you'll grow bouquets you'll grow a good mix instead of what happens is people look at their garden and they look at the seed catalogues and they love everything when it looks all sort of frothy and nice. So they just buy masses of umbellifers. And at the end of the summer they go "I had a lovely summer I just have masses and masses and masses of lace" and I say yes and I told you I told you to have some accent flowers! Your accent flowers might be tulips followed by followed by roses followed by dahlias, being simple. And that way you can have a tulip or spring ball bed, a rose bed daily bed and then you can have a bed for your for your filler for the spring for the summer. And a bed for and and it's really really simple and you don't need any room you can have it on. You know if you if you have a half size allotment, that's perfect that'll fill a whole size allotment really nicely. And then you canedge your beds with mint or you could have rosemary and lavender and all sorts of nice things. I have a real passion for scented pelargoniums at the moment I'm going through a thing, and they make lovely greenery because they cut the foliage is lovely in the case so you might grow some of those or whatever it is but if you have cut your job down into three, then you won't grow too much or you won't find that you've got masters and masters in the autumn but nothing in the spring. It's very simple.


Sarah

Do you have any other foliage recommendations because that is the main the main question we get is filler and foliage people that seems to be the only thing people get stuck on.


Georgie

I grow winter flowering honeysuckle. For my spring foliage, that's my first green foliage in spring in April, brilliant foliage. And then I have a lot of physocarpus that goes all the way through the summer and is incredibly giving so long as you keep it wet and feed it a bit it will really work for you. I then have a variegated cornuswhich I love, which gives me sort of August and early September. It's really fantastic. And then I have my cotinus. And that's really my basic foliage. And I'll grow bits of brackiglossus because I love the I love a bit of silver. And I grow a bit of cineraria, because I love a bit of silver. But you don't have to have masses, I mean, if you're laying out a cut flower patch, what you can do is you can hedge it with your foliage. And so long as you've got, I mean, you really want to come on the patch, because, of course, because I can draw it for you. But if depending on the shape of your patch, you can plant three crab apples, which are incredibly flowery. And if you cut them a lot, don't grow enormously big. But the first thing they do is cut the wind out. So if you plant three crab apples at the end of your sets of three beds, you then so you've given yourself a wind break, and then you can hedge it. And if you can, if you've got enough room to put your crab apples a little way away from your patch, as they grow up, they break the wind up sort of twice or three times the height, the length of the height of the tree. So this is the tree, you really have come on this thing. But you can imagine how that those trees will break the wind up and then a low hedge will break the wind up more, which will then give you lots of protection because if you're growing flowers, in my case, I'm going flowers for sale and a flower may look lovely in a garden from a distance of 20 foot, but flowers that you sell have to be absolutely perfect. So I need wind protection, it's really important. But if I can also cut my wind protection and use it as material then happy days. So and then I can give my beds a little bit of herby edge. And that gives me so suddenly I've got quite a lot of foliage, and not a very big space. So it makes sense.


Sarah

And I love a bit of herb, edging and keeping and putting into bouquets as well.


Georgie

Yeah, I mean, obviously with mint, be careful that it doesn't spread. Yeah, but it's not rocket science prevent that, you just need to put something into the ground, which because the roots grow very, very close to the surface. So you just need to be able to prevent them going any further. And don't use wood because they'll get through the wood. I'd use stone or I'll use slate. I've got old bits of slate that I'll just make a circle and put my mint inside the slate and it stops the roots getting out. Or it's great in a pot. I mean, I think you can grow a really good cup for a patch in a pot. I quite often have people saying, you know, I'm planning on moving or I'm living in a rented house. And I don't want to invest too much in the garden. But I want to grow stuff. And if I move I'm going to take it with me. So can I grow things in pots? And the answer is absolutely yes. You do. The only caveat is obviously you have to water more because pots are inevitably transpire. And I would say you also have to feed more, because every time you water or the water goes through the Portland out drizzles across the paving, you lose some of the nutrients. So, you know, just be handy with your seaweed solution in the summer, be prepared to really mulch so that there's not too much transpiring off the top. But otherwise, I don't see why you couldn't do a really good cut flower patch in a pot.


Sarah

All of my peonies are in pots. So because I'm in army housing, so we'll be here another year, and I just could not bear the thought of planting them in the ground. So I've got seven peonies in fabric pots are gonna move with me, which is more furniture than I have. F was like, are we really going to pay to move these?!


Georgie

Yeah. But equally, of course, you're gonna pay to move them because when you finally end up in your forever home, which one day maybe, you know, 20 years down the line, but eventually you will, you can take them out of the pots and each one will make you 10 peonies!, and I did steal some of them too.


Sarah

All right, so we do have questions to put to you. From the people... You've actually answered lots of them. Oh, do you have any predictions of the top plants slash flowers to sell in? 2021?


Georgie

No. I can't do that. I don't think the weddings are going to happen. I don't think they're gonna get us vaccinated quickly enough. And so one of the things that really drives trends in flowers, if you like, is weddings. What I think will be fashionable in 2021, will be people becoming garden florists themselves. And I think there will be a good market, if anybody's growing flowers and want to sell some, I think there will be a very, very good market for mixed buckets of a nice mix of flowers for people to play with themselves. And I think there will have been an enormous amount of online information and workshops and stuff where people have learned how to do something, or they've, they've been inspired to be a bit creative. I think people are very conscious that being creative is good for their mental health. Not everybody has a big garden, or they might be experimenting, growing flowers, but not necessarily getting terribly far with it in the first year or two. So I need a bit of extra. And I think if there are people growing flowers, if you remember, you've got to do those three acts of house, Villa and foliage. And those three, if you can give people a nice mix, then they will bite your arm off for them. I think also I have a I may be wrong. Make prediction here. I think that people are going to love hot colours. Because normally what happens is people grow wedding colours, because everybody can buy wedding colours. You can sell wedding colours to everybody. But I don't think there are going to be enormous amount of weddings. And so I think people are going to be excited about hotter colours, I think reds, pinks, reds, and pinks, I think if it's a colour you're thinking about, I have planted a lot of red and pink, and I'm wearing red glasses there, you're wearing a pink jumper, it's, there's a thing that happens and we don't know it. But we are all very driven by fashion. So if you look around and see what people are wearing, if everyone if there's a sort of theme of colour going around, that's the colour that you should grow for this summer, if you've got time to put things in. But I think there will be a big market for nice mix buckets for people to to play with.


Sarah

Well, and I could see it being the next thing. So, we had banana bread first in the UK, everyone was making banana bread. And then my friend pointed out that the banana bread of winter was wreath making. Yeah, all of my non flowery people on Facebook and Instagram, were making wreaths they would get from the garden centre or lots of florists were sending out kits. And everyone I knew seem to be making wreaths. Whereas last year, I think I made one and one of my friends was like, I didn't even know you could do that. So maybe buying your flowers and arranging them will be the next banana bread.


Georgie

I think there will definitely be that there is definitely it's already happening that people have kind of got much more got back in touch with their creative selves a little bit. And I think by the summer we will be back to some kind of normal but, but but it's, you know, there still will be a lot of people working from home and I don't think we'll be throwing enormous parties and so, but people will enjoy doing things for themselves I think


Sarah

Okay, I've got some very literal questions. One person wanted your advice on dalia spacing?


Georgie

If you're growing a patch of dalias I grow them at about 18 inches apart, but I grow them in a zigzag on the bed. So the bed is a metre wide, okay. And so they go along a bed at a sort of 18 inch distance. So they're quite crowded. And the reason I do that is I want them to push each other up, and I want them to hold each other up. I don't state my dailies, and I don't net them


Nicole

Oh you're brave! that filled me with horror, I could feel it in my chest.


Georgie

The direction of the beds, I may have to do it next as I'm moving them. But um, but yeah, but 18 inches, I would plot them. And normally, if you don't have masses of wind protection, I would I would definitely stake.


Sarah

And then we have another quite literal question, which is, is there wiggle room in this spacing, encouragement for cutting patches, can you put things closer together than they say you can?


Georgie

But remember that the closer you put things together, the more they'll fight with their neighbour for water, and food. And you will find that the closer things are together, the smaller the plant, because they're fighting with each other for water and for food. So I say about, this is a ballpark nine inches, which is slightly wider than the size of my hand is that's that's my basic rule of thumb is I'll plot things nine inches apart, but sometimes I want things to be a bit smaller. So I'll put my amaranth is a bit closer together, because I didn't want a normal size. I want little ones I can use again and again and again, in my case. So my my amaranth goes on a smaller. And if I have patches self seeded, I very rarely thin them out. So but they tend to be things which kind of are pretty prolific anyway, like Nigella or me. But yeah, if you're growing seeds, as seedlings as modules, in a module in a greenhouse or wherever to plant out, I would give them the nine inches. They get they get bigger. Yeah, more productive.So you don't need that many plants. I'd say you need fewer plants, or better spacing.


Nicole

Yeah, I was gonna say it can be a bit of a false economy, can't it because you're shoving more in but you're getting less, either less usable stems because it's short, or just less stems in general.


Georgie

Yeah, exactly. Because they're fighting for food and water. So I would say probably, you'll do better. Stem count wise, from fewer plants.


Sarah

And the next one is you might have sort of slightly answered it with your three beds for the three seasons. But if you were looking to grow your wedding flowers, which is obviously a bit of a pro in with your wonderful book, How To Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers!


So how much space Do you think someone needs to grow their own wedding flowers?


Georgie

Wrong question. The question is, so there's no such thing as a stupid question. rephrase the question for your, for your questioner. The question is, how many stems Do you need for your wedding? And you can work that out. You can say, okay, for my bouquet, I'm going to have maybe 30 stems for my bouquet, is that if you're going to grow it yourself, you don't want it to almost, there's a limit to how much you you don't want to be over exhausted by the whole process. But 30 I think is reasonable. Yeah, for you, okay. And so that's 10 accent flowers, 10 foliage and 10 filler. So that's very easy. And then it's okay, and I'm gonna have three bridesmaids and there they can have 20 stems each. And so they will surely make it rounded up. So there's six of each. So 18 stems each. So you see where I go my rule of three all the time, that six stems of foliage sinks, six times of fillers, six stems of excellent flowers. So so far, that's 18 accent for us because the three bridesmaids. So that might be and that's just the bride and the bridesmaids. and then I'm going to have 10 buttonholes. So I need one dahlia for each though, so I'm going to count up what I'm gonna need. And then we're going to have say, you're going to say you're getting married in a church, and you're going to have pew poseys which can then be taken back to the reception and table centres, how many and maybe I'm gonna have 10 of those because I've got 100 people coming to the wedding and I'm going to have 10 tables, and then I'll have to mix buckets of flowers which are really lovely on the pedestals. And they come back and they go as the entrance to the marquee, and you can literally count the stems that you need. And then you can work out how many plants you need, because you can work out ballpark, how many steps you can take off each plant.


Sarah

I am so loving this rule of three feet. It's so simple. I feel like it's just blowing my mind


Georgie

It's completely it just is like, Oh, yeah, that's easy. That's the end of that, then I never, it means it changes. It changes what you grow, it changes what you buy, it changes your timescales. It simplifies everything, you spend a great deal less money on plants that you never that actually the wrong, you don't need them. Because you've already got something you see it, it rationalises the process really simply and makes life much easier.


Sarah

Well, it's right up my street because I so I started growing this year. And Nicole and I met before I started growing. So I was raised by a mathematician. So this whole season, I spent like quantifying, so I can know how many stems I got off each plant. Because the one thing that stressed me out when I started the season was I could not find any solid list anywhere. That could tell me how many stems I'd get from a Snapdragon how many stems I get from this. And that really brought me a lot of stress, because I couldn't do that planning. Like I was trying to plan it. But I didn't know. That's what I did. I've got a book. And I literally counted how many stems I got off everything.


Georgie

And it won't be the same. I mean, if you're an army quarters, and you're going to move really annoying. Yeah, cuz the ground will be different. And the growth and the rainfall will be different and cooler or warmer or whatever. So won't be quite the same. But what you've given yourself is a really good basic idea, ballpark idea.


I think the more you rationalise, rationalise what you want to do, I think people think that flower growing and arranging flowers is just lovely. And it is lovely. And it's lovely. And you throw the seed in the bit, and it's lovely, and you have a lovely time and all the time, you're just surrounded by loveliness. But actually, if you want to make it work effectively, the more you count, and give yourself kind of effective boundaries around it, then you can do the lovely creative stuff within the boundaries, because you know that you've achieved your you've given yourself an objective, and you've worked out how to achieve it, and it'll happen and then you just don't, otherwise you wouldn't sleep at night.


Nicole

The question we normally used to wrap up our interviews, and I feel like, we've got so much advice and information from you already. So it feels like quite a pressured question. But if you could give one piece of advice to our listeners on their cut flower growing journey, what would it be?


Georgie

Grow less!


Grow less, plan carefully, grow bouquets and grow, don't just grow what you like, don't grow everything that catches your eye, which is what everybody does. They sit on the now everybody this evening is sitting on their websites on the seed catalogues, drinking wine and spending too much money, grow less, and you will do better how to stems you then you then have a really good idea to grow less and count what you grew. You grew. And then next year grow more based on what you did this year. Sarah did it right.


Nicole

When I was mocking you for counting your stems that


Georgie

Sarah was absolutely right.


Nicole

And just before we let you go for real this time, and you've mentioned your courses a couple of times would you like to tell our listeners where they can find them and mention?


Georgie

I would love to tell you? Yes, we have a full list of courses and workshops, both at the farm and online. And they're on our website, www.common farm flowers.com have a look at the calendar and see if there's something that tickles your fancy. We do add new workshops quite often, particularly if something sold out. I will quite often, you know, find a date and put put it in again. So if there's something you'd like the look of that you can't get a place on because we keep our workshops quite small. We don't have 1000s of people because I like to be able to talk to people and people to be able to help


Nicole

they're not pre recorded workshops are they?


Georgie

They are always live because I think I mean, I know there are lots of lovely pre records but I'm not a floaty person. I'm not inan orchard with floatyhat, from me it' the hard truth. It's a little bit straightforward and but also I don't really know what I'm doing so I'm very good at demonstrating! So have a look at the website. But also if you could bear it sign up for the newsletter because then we do add new workshops they get mentioned in the newsletter and get you get a heads up that there's a newsletter


Nicole

I had a bit of a Snoop obviously before we did this interview, but they range from like some of the more floristry type things, howto make a bouquet to the more practical ones. You do have a specific how to start a cut flower farm?


Georgie

Yes, we do everything from it's not even all really flowery. I mean, there's quite a lot. We do Friday demos, which are less expensive, and they're quite jolly. And particularly during lockdown, it's quite fun to sit down at home on a Friday and learn something new that you can then go and practice over the over the weekend. And then on Wednesdays, we do more business-y workshop. So if you're thinking of setting up a cut flower patch, or even a couple of patches that you're going to sell flowers from. There are quite a lot of things like that. But they're also cash flow forecasting and how to run a lifestyle business, which is very important. Because the difference between a lifestyle business and a big old startup that's going to sell for millions is enormous. And mine is a lifestyle business. I'll tell you all about that. Cash Flow forecasting very important people don't know how to do it


Nicole

The sound of that filled me with fear!


Georgie

you see Come on a cash flow forecasting. And I tell you, I will change your I will actually change your life. I won't I won't make life frightening. It will be absolutely fantastic. And your life will be completely changed.


Nicole

Thanks, Georgie.


Georgie

Thank you very much for having me. Have a good evening.


Sarah

Can you believe the wisdom that Georgie just dropped?


Nicole

Just absolutely blew my mind.


Sarah

How does she make it sound so simple? Because


Nicole

it is simple, obviously.


Sarah

But it's not! The toil I've been in like the spreadsheets and the notebooks and me feeling like I'm never gonna figure it out. And you get Georgie on the sho


Nicole

Yeah, just put all of those, you know, issues and burning questions. And well, she solved them for me. And I must say these are like quite popular questions from the listeners that we had from Instagram. And also they cropping up in the Facebook group quite a lot. So I think this episode well, I really hope it was super useful for everyone listening because it was really useful for me. And I've been growing flowers for years as well.


Sarah

But I think the main thing I took from her was she reminded me of Charles Dowding in lots of ways. She had that similar like, chill out, like stop stressing, just plant three of each, like, you'll be fine. And I think we all need a bit of that. Because, well, I mean, it's lockdown, we're bored, we're buying hundreds of seed packets is bad. It is.


Sarah

I mean, it's lockdown, we're bored, we're buying hundreds of seed packets is bad. It is. And that's what I took from that was you don't need to go wild. I mean, I don't think I'm ever going to be able to stop going wild on the daily or from but at least when it comes to all the other stuff, you know, you don't have to panic about how much you're cramming in. And it seems just logical, wasn't it? It was incredibly not too cool. And if you love that interview with Georgie, then I really encourage you to head over Look at her Instagram, have a look at her website. She's got some fantastic courses on there, some of which sounds scarier than the others. Cash Flow, right?


Sarah

terrifying.


Georgie

But there's so much in there that if you are looking to start on a cut flower growing journey or even turning into business, there's so much there that will will help you.


Sarah

So we won't natter on too long because I know we wanted to keep all of Georgies golden nuggets in the Edit. So we will just quickly say farewell. Oh, but PS before we say farewell, if you wouldn't mind leaving us a review we'd really love it!! Thank you! Bye!


nicole

And we will see you next week for more flowery fun! Bye!! [outro music]


(Blooper) Sorry, talking too much. My voice is drying up. It's not COVID

225 views0 comments