Secrets of a perfect pickery.


Armfuls of flowers, at your whim, to do with as you please….to scent your home (including your bedroom, and your loo) and enough left over with which to play lady bountiful…that’s one of the reasons I got into gardening.

I’ve been growing flowers for cutting since I began this whole gardening malarkey…making my way through trial and error. It’s not a difficult thing to do, but there are ways and means in which you can maximise your yield (and therefore your joy), and so when Georgie Newbery (above, in linen apron) of Common Farm Flowers told me she was holding a course on cut flowers for town gardens, just down the road from me, I jumped at the chance to get the lowdown from an expert.

Many of you will know that Georgie creates wonderful, uniquely special posies, bouquets and occasion flowers from her cutting garden in Somerset. Her arrangements are not only beautiful, but seasonal and chic.


Here’s a very bad picture of what she brought to the workshop, (held back in March when it felt like there was nothing lovely to be picked, let alone tied up and plonked in a vase. You can see more examples here.

And (get ready for hearts to THUMP) Georgie is going to make up a posy for one very lucky reader – see below for details!

But back to the workshop: I got so much more than I ever dreamed.


Georgie is one of these people who (correctly) believe that the more you give, the more you get in this world. There’s no scientific way of explaining it, because we’re talking about feel-good factor here…simple, honest generation of good-will. You’d think a fully comprehensive day learning about how to grow your own flowers for cutting at home might be the one course a flower farmer would think twice about giving…Not so – in fact the opposite is true…and Georgie knows this.

Within moments of sitting down, not only did I have a mouth crammed with delicious home-made cookie love, (see above) but a ream of paper, listing all of Georgie’s best tips…all the little things she’s learned in her experience of working with cut flowers at Common Farm. New information, stuff I’d never heard before started pouring out of her. She gave us a recipe for the perfect posy, very cleverly, in terms of shape and texture, and therefore what to plant in our patch in order to create that, ultimate mix. She told us her secret potting mix (and I mean she showed us exactly what was in it). She imparted two or three great recipes for home-made fertilisers, courtesy of the very brilliant Sara Venn, who teaches courses at Common Farm on composting, amongst other things).


She also told us her particular method for sowing seeds….“SOW THINLY, DARLINGS”…this was a revelation to me, (a person who assumes that half of what I do will come to naught, and therefore always sows far more than I need.) After Georgie’s course, I have come away with an entire cutting patch in one seed tray. She only let me sow five (yes, FIVE) cosmos, five sweet peas, four cerinthe, five molucella and the merest suggestion of a pinch of nicotiana (I’m sure she would have preferred me to tweeze each one of those out of the packet individually, had we had the time, or the eyesight for it). Apart from being obviously money-savey and un-wasteful, this method struck me as being just so fantastically, epically OPTIMISTIC….just to assume that every seed is going to come up. I love it, and will never go back to sowing extra ‘just in case’… unless of course I WANT a jungle.

I scribbled away frantically, asked far too many questions, stuffed myself with a delectable, home-made lunch (even the butter was churned at the farm next door to Georgie’s house) and came away with a head full of dreams and a joyful heart.


Georgie’s courses are here. Be really, really quick booking them, because they fill up FAST.

These few precious seedlings will be planted in my patch, along with the ammi majus and a few other annuals I sowed in the autumn. ‘Excited’ does not *quite* cover it. I’ll keep you up-dated.

To get that gorgeous posy,

….which will not only gladden your heart, but open your mind, simply leave a comment below, and subscribe, if you haven’t already, to my mailing list in the bright pink box below, and then go over here to subscribe to Georgie’s too. This is our way of keeping you up to date on flowery things…Don’t worry we won’t bombard you with stuff and we will NEVER share your details with anyone… not ever.

The winner will be announced in a couple of weeks…good luck!

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