A Day in the Life of The Real Cut Flower Garden: behind the scenes of Floristry on the Wild side workshop
Samantha / 3 July 2017
I think it’s always wonderful to go ‘behind the scenes’ and find out more about the brilliant independent wedding businesses from our directory. Today we get the opportunity to get to know the ever so talented Charlie Ryrie of The Real Cut Flower Garden.
Charlie, in our eyes, is one of the original champions of British grown flowers for weddings, and we have always admired the magic she creates with her seasonal country garden grown flowers. As well as creating wedding flowers, Charlie runs creative floral workshops to share her expertise. Hosted in a wonderful old barn at New House Farm and artisan studios in Broadoak near Bridport in West Dorset. Today’s ‘Day in the Life’ feature showcases her`Floristry on the Wild side’ workshop.
The workshop was beautifully captured by Liz Baker photography, who specialises in luxury wedding photography, brand editorials, and feminine portraiture. To provide the accompanying words with the lovely images we will hand you over to Charlie herself to tell you a bit more about the workshops and the story behind her business…
Floristry on the Wild side
This spring I teamed up with wonderful young photographer Liz Baker who has documented aspects of my business, and these photos are from a spring day on Floristry on the Wild side. It is always a popular course where where participants learn how to arrange homegrown and foraged flowers on the large scale, without using floral foam or any other mechanics. Then we go smaller to make arrangements in a variety of bowls and vases. We use only home grown flowers, and course participants come down to my cutting garden for home-made lunch.
Wedding flower courses are also always popular and I now run bespoke wedding flower days for brides to be and their friends and families, as well as for less experienced artisan flower growers. One to one days are particularly enjoyable where we work on whatever the participant wants, be it huge garlands and arches, or delicious bouquets and table decorations. I don’t use floral foam, and use all our own flowers along with hedgerow and wild finds.
How The Real Cut Flower Garden started
The Real Cut Flower Garden began back in 2003 when I bought a field, and got growing. I was a journalist for 25 years but I have always had a love of flowers, especially those on the wilder side, and in 2003 nobody was growing mixed flowers for cutting, so I thought it might be a good wheeze.
I started by growing specifically for mail order, sending entirely home grown bouquets round the country. Soon my gardens developed from a bare field into 4 acres of mixed perennials, shrubs, bulbs and annuals, I took on plenty of help and by 2008 we were doing several weddings every weekend from April to October, as well as mail order and markets and I started running courses in wilder flower arranging as well as growing.
I came to love working on weddings, and running courses in particular, and in winter 2012 I took a probably crazy decision and moved in winter 2012 from my original base in Herefordshire to new gardens in Dorset. I brought a pantechnicon of plants with me, but many didn’t make it in my new heavy heavy clay soil, so the palette changed and now I grow several hundred old fashioned roses as well as plenty of mixed perennials, climbers, bulbs and of course annuals. I gave up daily mail order and now specialise in weddings and events, and running courses which is something I find particularly satisfying.
Inspired by the natural world
I take huge pleasure from flowers and from my gardens and the local countryside, and my aim is to inspire everyone to take a similar pleasure from the natural world around them. I want people to realise they don’t have to grow a huge array to create glorious arrangements, that greenery and wild flowers can be a wonderful basis. There are no rules, you just need the confidence to follow your eye and you can create something fantastic. Or you can go wild with a lovely palette of beautiful natural home grown flowers, whatever the time of year.
Sharing her knowledge and passion
A garden feeds the soul, flowers make everyone feel better. It is a great privilege to have earnt my living from working with flowers for 14 years. I am still thrilled and inspired by wandering round the gardens picking treasures for other people to enjoy, then sharing the bounty and the knowledge. People often begin a day course feeling a bit diffident about their abilities, but leave with a big smile on their face and an armful of flowers after a day joyously spent.
Thank you so much to Liz and Charlie for sharing the photos of their day with us. If you fancy participating in one of The Real Cut Flower Gardens workshops then keep an eye on their website for dates and details.
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