Welcome to Bramble&Fig! Here's the story of how we (well, I) got started:
Those who know me well will know that I have been a keen gardener for a number of years now.
First forays into the world of the green fingered included an attempt to germinate tomato seeds on the windowsills of a student flat much to the dismay of fellow tenants who didn't much enjoy precariously perched trays of soil all over the kitchen.
Then I graduated onto terracotta pots clustered around the front door of my first house packed to the brim with narcissus, tulips, muscari and hyacinth which
burst into technicolour come spring.(Admittedly went a little overboard, creating a botanical assault course for the post-person to navigate each morning!)
Matt (then boyfriend, now husband) and I bought our first home and raided half the skips of Plymouth to find discarded pallets with which to build raised beds, one which we packed with herbs, salad leaves, tomatoes and beans, the other become a miniature cutting garden densely housing sweet peas, scabious, cornflowers and cosmos. The flower beds became home to dahlias of every conceivable colour and spidery shape with roses and sunflowers as their neighbours.
There is something very humbling and healing about nature.
I will never fail to be excited by seeing a tiny green shoot tentatively emerge from its muddy bed
...nor become bored of the apprehensive wait for the first rose or peony to flower without slug armegeddon.
Supporting these fragile shoots as they slowly grow into strong and sturdy plants can be challenging requiring patience, commitment and a lot of time.
But ultimately, the hard work pays off and your reward is to see and share its beautiful blooms or produce.
It was only upon getting engaged and starting to plan my own wedding flowers that i realised that putting together the home grown flowers in the garden could make something 'actually quite pretty'.
The more I practised with small home arrangements using bits and pieces foraged on dog walks, the more i realised that this was something i really loved doing, and could suprisingly do quite well (or so i have been told!)
I ended up selling some of my flowers, and set up a small business creating winter wreaths, both traditional and bespoke ... my hydrangea wreaths proved most popular! -->
In June 2015, after many months poring over floral design books, websites and attending workshops I managed to do my own wedding flowers. I wasn't alone though - countless talented friends pitched in with the arranaging, and generously supplied the most gorgeous flowers lovingly grown in their own gardens.
I learnt more in 24 hours about conditioning and arranging than i could have imagined, especially from two exceptionally kind and talented friends; Rozzie (aka wonder woman) and her mother (aka wonder woman snr) who also did her own stunning wedding flowers (some of the photos on here are her creations) and Fenella (our best man's step-mother) who has learnt from the best (the garden gate ladies/blue carrot !) and creates the most stunning pieces (http://www.wildeyeddeer.com/home/about-us/)
What we acheived was incredible and I can never truly thank any of them enough!
After the wedding, I continued to practice and was asked to help with a number of friends weddings, including a family wedding in New York. This time, I was flying solo and was solely in charge of florals with a crack team of blooming minions with 24 hours to fill a warehouse with flowers. Not only was it a priviledge to be asked to help, but a useful learning experience proving to myself that with planning and preparation i could do a large scale event (+200 people) with 48 hour turn around with a small scale team.
(my favourtie pic ((i've no idea who the beautiful lady is, it's not me!)) thanks to Aurora Halal for the photography)
I have thought a lot about whether I should pursue Bramble&Fig as a full time career, and in time, this may well be the case but at the moment, I (mostly) love my work in a busy NHS hospital and can't see myself leaving completely in the forseeable future. That twinned with the inevitbility that our jobs will move us around the country, means setting up the business proper at the moment is not the right decision.
However, I plan to continue building my portfolio over the coming years with the intention of creating a flourishing business in future....
Perhaps, on reflection, there are many similarities between the hard graft, patience and commitment needed to run a garden with the world of medicine. I have a grand plan to combine both, but that folks, is for another day!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!