flower farm

Not so far from our little cottage is a flower farm. We drove across Kentish countryside full of bluebells and blossoming orchards, to visit the land where Blooming Green grow row upon row of gorgeous flowers. We’ve something very special happening this week, and we wanted to pick flowers ourselves, ones that are in season, local, and grown with as much care as the organic food we eat.

flower-farm

flower-gatherers

flower-harvester

flowers-picked

One day I shall grow my own cutting garden, inspired by this gorgeous bit of England. If you have something special you’d like to pick your own flowers for, do visit Blooming Green Flowers, they are so wonderful. Thank you ever so much, Jen & Bek!

flower-buckets

willow stars

At every winter fair in the village I admire the handmade willow stars adorning the trees. They’re enchanting ornaments, I’m ever so fond of them. I was absolutely delighted to learn how to make them on a December afternoon floristry class in the village, with Blooming Green.

willow stars © elisa rathje 2011

They’re made from soaked, stripped willow, the first year’s supple growth. Coppiced. Such simplicity and charm.

willow stars © elisa rathje 2011

Take a wand of white, stripped willow, or even just a bit of weeping willow fresh off the tree, and soak in water for a couple of hours. Gently bend four kinks into it, evenly spaced. Easiest to measure the lenth of your hand between corners. Bend the willow til the first three lengths make a number four, crossing over the front. Pull the tip of the willow through the triangular opening you’ve made, until the fourth corner is making ‘cat’s ears’ beside the first corner. Shuffle it all a little. Push the last length of the willow behind the shape and then back through it again to meet the very start of the wand. Secure it either by twisting the last couple of inches in your fingers til it relaxes into string to tie with, or use a bit of rafia. Give it all a bit of soft tugging til it is properly starry. Suspend from a bit of pretty string!

Many thanks to Plumpton College, Centre for Sustainable Food, Farming and Forestry, and the Weald Forest Ridge Partnership for providing the funding for the floristry course.

UPDATE: – Yes! These are the willow stars we made at appleturnover’s first open studio! enjoy!