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Home Blog The Farmer & the {Florist} Interview: Green and Gorgeous
May 14th 2015

The Farmer & the {Florist} Interview: Green and Gorgeous

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greenandgorgeousFor the latest installment of The {Farmer} and the Florist I’m delighted to profile Green and Gorgeous, one of the leaders in the seasonal flower movement in the U.K.  Rachel Siegfried and her partner Ashley Pearson are the talented duo behind Green and Gorgeous.  They grow and design with quintessential English cutting garden flowers and also host on-farm flower farming, floral design and photography workshops as part of their farmer-florist operation in Oxfordshire. I asked them to share a little bit more about their business and the vibrant seasonal flower scene in Great Britain.

Erin:  Thanks so much for taking time to share a little bit about your operation.  I absolutely love the photos on your website as well as the blog by photographer Clare West. She has captured some amazing shots of your farm fields on her blog (yes, I confess I stalk her site on occasion).  Your gardens look like heaven on earth! For those not familiar with your business, can you share a little about how Green and Gorgeous got started and how you operate today?

Rachel: Thanks Erin, it is a real pleasure to be interviewed on your blog which I have followed avidly for some years now. Clare’s photographs have been a revelation and working with her throughout the season has helped improve not only my own photography but also my floristry. However, looking at your design work through a photographer’s eye can certainly be a rollercoaster ride sometimes…


G&G - June - 101

Green & Gorgeous - June 219I started growing cut flowers as a gardener in a Victorian walled garden on a country estate in the Cotswolds. My job was to provide organic produce for the lord and lady of the manor…think Downton Abbey. I was given an endless budget and an open brief so it was a fantastic learning experience. After six years of being paid to grow flowers I was completely smitten and ready to take the next step. I was convinced that the slow food movement at the Farmer’s Markets we attended would eventually influence flower sales and people would want local, seasonal flowers too. So in 2007, with my partner Ashley I left the estate, found a site with good soil in an affluent area (no easy task!) and began to grow. As our business and reputation grew so did the acreage – we are now cultivating around 4 acres on a variety of different scales, from garden beds to market garden and field plots. We started with Farmer’s Markets which was a great way to advertise locally but wedding work and courses form the core of our business now.

Erin:  I’ve noticed that a lot of UK-based flower growers seem to offer what are called “Farm Gate” sales.  Can you tell me more about it and what kind of offerings you sell as part of that?

Rachel: Farm Gate Sales are a bit like a ‘pop up’ shop, held on the farm every Saturday next to our flower fields. Our packing shed is filled with picked and conditioned buckets of flowers, ready to be made into bouquets and for those after a more ‘hands on’ experience we have designated beds for ‘pick your own’. Customers love wandering through tunnels of sweet peas and row upon row of dahlias, experiencing their provenance first hand.

G&G - May - 118


CW__2733Erin:  You offer a number of different workshops, including separate sessions for growing, designing and photographing flowers.  I applaud your initiative and innovation in training the next generation of farmer-florists in the U.K. and being such a leader in the industry and for so freely and generously sharing your knowledge on your blog.  I absolutely adore your “Grow Along” series! I’d love to give readers a taste of what I’m talking about.  Care to share links to a few of your top blog posts?  What has been the response?

Rachel: Sometimes, we are not the most prolific of bloggers, as the flowers and brides frequently take over completely. Surprisingly, our most popular recent blog was when we went on holiday and blogged about a lovely farmstay… But we had a great response to our summary of last years bridal flowers in Tablecloth Bride and our Sweet Pea Grow Along.

Green & Gorgeous - 028We have always taught courses on site, so we are now very experienced at providing considerable amounts of relevant content, practical experience alongside great food, cake and chat. We started a Flower Farming course last year and couldn’t believe the interest from people who wanted to make a living from growing flowers and potentially change the direction of their lives. During the winter I can catch up on some knitting and noticed on craft blogs there was always a ‘Knit Along’ so I thought why not do something similar with growing cut flowers and encourage people to have a go in their own gardens? The ‘Grow Along’ blog posts complement my master classes, which focus on the cultivation of one type of flower in depth – sweet peas, roses, dahlias. I found it increased my course bookings and Saturday visits to our farm gate sales.

gandGErin:  Can you describe what the seasonal flower movement is like in the UK?  I see that there are some sites dedicated to promoting local flowers including Flowers from the Farm and The British Flower Collective.  Are you seeing increased demand for seasonal product?

Rachel: Definitely, there has been a huge change in people’s awareness of local flowers and also the number of growers starting off around the country. When we started we didn’t have any guidance or examples to follow, except for Sarah Raven who was encouraging people to grow cut flowers on a domestic scale and Lynn Byczynski’s Flower Farming book. We are coming from quite a low starting point in the UK, with only a few family growers left growing commercially and most flowers being imported. But the social media opportunities that exist now mean that all the small ‘artisan’ growers can club together to inspire each other and promote themselves. We have even done some co-operative buying in order to obtain US seeds, corms, claws and Dutch buckets.

We are looking forward to designing and building a stand at Hampton Court Flower Show this summer which has a field to vase theme to champion the network of local flower growers embodied by Flowers from the Farm.Green & Gorgeous - April - 026


Green & Gorgeous - June - 073-2Erin:  What flowers are you most excited about growing this season?  Any new varieties you’re adding in the mix?

Rachel: I love these kinds of questions! I am a bit of a variety trial girl myself and so each year I focus on exploring as many varieties of one species as possible. This year I have gone big on Zinnias, Cosmos, Antirrhinums, Scabious, Larkspur and Nigella squeezing in as many varieties as the seed companies had to offer. I am really looking forward to Nigella ‘Delft Blue’ which I think will be a pale blue version of ‘African Bride’, Cosmos ‘Pied Piper Blush’ a Sea Shell type perfect for bridal flowers and Larkspur ‘Misty Lavender’ which is described as ‘a pale lavender meets slate grey’. I always indulge in a spot of dahlia buying despite having far too many already! My excuse is that colour trends change very quickly in wedding flowers and they are a quick fix way of keeping up. This year I have decided to try more anemone-flowered and single types.



IMG_0422-2I have been hankering after the subtlety of woodland flowers for some time now but struggled in our open field to grow them. After clearing under a line of mature Beech trees I am looking forward to Aquilegias, Tellima, Bluebells, Japanese Anemones, Campanulas and Heuchera this year.

Perennials play a big part in our fields, I like the fact that they are low maintenance, fairly weather resistant, easy to propagate and offer such variety of texture and form. I work closely with a nursery that specializes in the naturalistic style of perennial planting characterized by designers like Piet Oudolf. After visiting his latest garden in the autumn I was inspired to plant Sanguisorba, Baptisia, Thalictrums, Ageratina and a range of perennial grasses.

A holiday in South Africa this January sparked a yearning for more fruiting branches after staying in the most heavenly farm house where the owner arranged branches of immature quince and grapevine with flowers from his cutting patch. We have an orchard so I will be using apple and pear in a similar way this autumn. I was also reminded of how much I like Crocosmia which just grows wild there, so ‘Emily Mckenzie’ has been added to the collection.

I am trying lilies for the first time with a variety called ‘Tiger Babies’, I have never worked with them before so it should be interesting.

I could go on all day but I had better stop, I am a self confessed plant addict and flower farming is an excellent excuse to keep buying…

Erin:  I know the feeling oh too well, Rachel!  We definitely have a LOT in common.  I am realizing more and more that I really must just bite the bullet and hop a plane to visit you and a few other farmer-florists in the U.K.  I would love to see your operation and gate sales firsthand.  Thank you so much for taking the time to share a little more about your operation.  It sounds heavenly!

Connect with Green and Gorgeous:


Instagram @gandgorgeousflowers




  1. Natalia Zemskaya on

    Thank you very much for the inspiration! The farm is so beautiful. And I really hope to visit it someday!

  2. Katy Phillips on

    I had the pleasure of visiting Green and Gorgeous while visiting England at the beginning of May. They were kind enough to let my boyfriend and I pop over after flying into London on our way to Oxford. Jet lagged, but full of sheer joy we walked around their enchanting flower farm. Ashley and Rachel were delightful and their flowers truly gorgeous. We also loved their cat!!

  3. jwblooms on

    Come and see us! We do a mean cream tea (obligatory English treat)…
    Lovely interview with the great g&g Jan x

  4. Mary on

    So inspirational. Superb arrangements. How does everybody find time to do everything? And so well.

  5. Nicole on

    Green & Gorgeous really is that amazing, and definitely worth a visit! I’ve been to several courses and just love everything about the operation and the great people behind it. Could a co-taught course be in the stars?

  6. Erika Stephens on

    I love this interview!!! Thank you Erin for another well written post. I just started following @gandgorgeousflowers on Instagram. What a treasure.

  7. Trina Coombes on

    Thank you for interviewing Rachel co owner with Ashley of Green and Gorgeous. Lovely article.
    Rachel is our leading farmer, florist and true inspiration to so many of us in England.

  8. Wendy on

    Thanks Erin for shining a light on UK flower growers! Please do visit soon there’s plenty of us who’d love to meet you.

  9. Bee Eastman on

    I’m a lover of many things but at the top of my list are flowers, stationery, calligraphy and Hermes scarves. I’d like nothing more that to be surrounded by flowers all the time.


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