I have returned, reluctantly as always, from another lovely few days on the Cornish coast with friend and talent Katy Lawrence, shooting florals against a backdrop of sparkling blue sea and windswept countryside. Cornwall was awash with narcissi, the fields golden as far as the eye could see, waiting patiently to be collected by the crowds of daffodil pickers we saw gathering along the roadsides. I bought a locally grown posey of anemone in cerise and blackcurrant hues from the tiny little fishing town of Newlyn, and Katy and I screeched to a halt on the way through St Just to admire and photograph the camellia tumbling over stone walls. The Cornish have always been one step ahead with their more temperate climate, and it was such a lift to see the first signs of spring appearing as we made our merry way to our favourite spots.
There is a beautiful home owned by my great aunt, Porth Enys House, perched on top of the cliffs over Mousehole, where seasonal flowers such as narcissi used to be grown in abundance on the land sloping down to the sea. Freshly picked, they would be boxed up, popped on a boat and sailed round to Penzance harbour where they would be put on the train to London. The ultimate dream. I plan to write about this soon once I have researched this in depth; a trip to Truro library next time I’m down might be in order. Whenever I visit I feel a strange sense of belonging to that stretch of coastline, so you can imagine my joy upon finding out about the flower fields in that very spot looking over Mousehole all those years ago.
I returned home to a slightly greyer Buckinghamshire; a small sprinkling of crocus on the lawn and a bough of early flowering blossom peeping over the neighbours hedge. I feel I’ve been spoilt somewhat by Cornish offerings of spring, but it jump-started me into allotment planning and seed buying for the year ahead. I spent a happy afternoon digging through the film archives before making my seed order, working out what I have previously grown (more specifically what worked and what didn’t) and I realised I had a whole stack of behind-the-scenes studio captures I had never thought to share.
When I first started Verity & Thyme, I thought it was probably best to just share photos of wedding – bouquets, buttonholes and bridesmaids, in order to be a ‘proper’ wedding florist. What I have subsequently learnt over the years is that, whilst it is wonderful to have a platform in which to share specific wedding work (which I now happily mix in with lots of bespoke occasions and celebrations), it wasn’t very telling of who I am. I love stumbling across a creative who lets you see little glimpses into their life – their morning cup of tea, a pretty swathe of wildflowers on the way to a meeting or a peek into the mechanics of their craft. It is an olive branch into a very private and personal world, but one that provides a connection to what they do, who they are and why they work a certain way.
Many of my brides over the years have been incredibly complimentary on the personal way in which I work too – I design, create and personally deliver every single wedding/event I am invited to be a part of, with the help of a few freelancer florists when I need an extra pair of hands. You very much get me (I’m afraid) and I love working in this way. I am honoured when approached by a new enquiry simply asking for ‘the Verity & Thyme touch’ and I cannot tell you the joy in brings when I hear those words. To be trusted to simply do my floral thing makes my heart soar. Everything you see across the various V&T channels has come entirely from my head and has been worked through my hands, and I’d like to share more of that as V&T evolves in the year ahead. With this stack of studio snapshots sitting redundant on my desk, I thought it might be a nice moment to share.
The photos in this post are simply when I have had my film camera to hand in the studio, and have stepped back for a second mid job (most probably for a chocolate fix and to change the radio) and thought ‘oh that looks quite pretty’. I’m also hoping the allotment will be a little more photo worthy this summer too, showing where some of my flowers come from and the care and attention that goes into growing each stem (and the wonderful people that help).
With each passing year, the Verity & Thyme aesthetic is tweaked as I continue to develop my own skills, take on larger projects and occasions, and attempt to learn as much as I can about growing my own flowers in this little pocket of Buckinghamshire. I have also been hounded enough times about teaching floral workshops, so cogs are in motion (with a truly beautiful local venue) hopefully for Mother's Day and Easter this year. I have the most heavenly group of bride and grooms for 2019, with some of the biggest and most beautiful weddings and celebrations to floral up to date, and I promise to share more of the journey along the way.
This Sunday you shall also find me and my florals at the beautiful Danesfield House, just above the river Thames in between Marlow and Henley, for their wedding fair between 11-3pm. Do drop in and say hello, have a look around the heavenly Versailles suite and we can have a good old natter about flowers if you fancy. Hopefully see you there...