Brides Up North

Grow Your Own. Supplier Showcase: Firenza Floral Design

March 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Ann-Katrin Koch

Image by Ann-Kathrin Koch

A few weeks ago we welcomed Brides Up North Featured Supplier and award winning Yorkshire wedding florist Fiona Pickles, director of Firenza Floral Design, to the wedding blog to tell us all about her home grown wedding flowers. 

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Image by Laura Calderwood 

This afternoon I’m doing something rare and reposting that content for you here, following controversy last month about a supposedly British grown Valentine’s bouquet supported by the Royal Horticultural Society … that turned out to contain no British grown flowers at all, as they were out of season!  The story was covered in The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and other titles and after much pressure from the British flower growers (under #britishflowers on twitter) the RHS removed the incorrect labelling and personally responded to every single tweet of complaint (and there were lot!).  The RHS are also working with British growers now for something for Mother’s Day.  

Guaranteed:  all the flowers you see in the piece that we share here this afternoon have been home grown by Fiona’s fair hands.  That’s something pretty special.  Imagine choosing your wedding flowers and seeing them grown from seed!  Fiona is passionate about her love of British flowers and is here to tell us how she continues to develop her own crop to incorporate more locally grown blooms into her beautiful wedding bouquets.  Let’s hear from her…

James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

Images by James Melia

James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

Fiona says: I’ve always had a passion for flowers and really love being at work in my garden. Even though the weather isn’t great at the moment we’ve been outside in the wind and rain preparing the cutting beds, and in a few months, with a bit of luck, we’ll have flowers in bloom and I can’t wait!

Having locally grown flowers and herbs adds an extra special and personal touch to a wedding knowing the flowers have been grown right here, in the Yorkshire countryside.

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Images by Laura Calderwood 

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

As a wedding florist we are incredibly busy – especially during the spring and summer – and growing our own flowers does mean extra work, but it’s something I love and am passionate about, plus it’s very rewarding, so the extra work is worth it, which is why we started to grow more of our own wedding flowers last year, with wonderful results.  We’re based in West Yorkshire and whilst we seem to have a very pleasant micro-climate, we are still in the Pennines, 1,220ft above sea level and on a substantial slope, so conditions can be a little testing. Before growing in earnest, I wanted to get some good advice from other growers so I attended a “Flower Farming for Beginners” course at Common Farm Flowers run by the fabulous Georgie Newberry, she has a real passion for British grown cut flowers and her business was a real inspiration to me.

jamesmelia-101

Images by James Melia

James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

jamesmelia-100

Last year, we had a lot of snow in March so it wasn’t the best start to the growing year, but the beautiful summer meant that our herbs and flowers were very, very happy on our fully south facing plot. We even had a photo shoot here in late June, with a small team of trusted suppliers, all the flowers used in the shoot were grown by us, including the buttercups, which I just adore!

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Images by Laura Calderwood 

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

We use a lot of mint, rosemary, thyme, lavender, lemon balm, oregano and sage as well as many beautiful cottage garden-style flowers. We’re extending our herb terraces even further this year, so lots more scented beauties to come hopefully. I love using herbs in our wedding flowers, it really adds a beautiful dimension and helps to create those lasting memories.

We will never be able to grow enough flowers for all of our weddings, but as well as growing more of our own, I am working closely with Gill Hodgson from Flowers from the Farm, a network of flower growers, large and small, across the country, to supplement our flower needs, so we can use as many British Flowers as possible.

Mark Dolby

Image by Mark Dolby

Looking ahead for this year, the beds are being filled with compost, the cold frames are ready, the seed catalogues are being perused and my tools are being sharpened ready for another busy year of weddings and growing. The workshop is being fitted out with shelves and storage to create more space, we are even planning a lean-to greenhouse on our beautiful but rather shabby shed to give us more space for all our beautiful British flowers and I can’t wait!

If you’d like to make an appointment with Fiona to create your wedding flowers please contact visit www.firenzafloraldesign.co.uk or ring 01422 835540.

James Melia

Images by James Melia 

James Melia

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Brides Up North UK Wedding  Blog – Images © 2014 as tagged, James Melia. Ann-Katrin Koch, Mark Dolby, Laura Calderwood

Firenza Floral Design is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

learn more about Julia Braime