We chat to one of our lovely suppliers about her passion for sustainable floristry, her journey to becoming a small business owner and the inspiration behind her work.
Hello, I’m Becca owner and founder of The Garden Gate Flower Company. I have been growing flowers for weddings and events since 2010. I have always had a passion for gardens and in my college and university days I would love taking my camera along to gardens when back home in Cornwall, capturing the magnificent magnolias was always a highlight of the year for me. Using flowers in my home that I picked from my garden, seemed to me, to be more special. The flowers were more significant, and I always loved the charm of bends in the stem which you couldn’t get from a wrap of shop bought flowers. Some of my earliest memories of flowers were my grandfather’s rose garden, hidden at the back of the garden and laid out for picking, I always remember the scent as we wandered down to the back fence on the hunt for tennis balls that had made their way over into his garden from the local tennis court!
A business idea blooms… Growing up in Cornwall I found that inspiration for colour and texture was all around me. I first created Garden Gate with a friend, Maz, growing flowers at my mum’s farm in Fowey. Having previously worked as a PA I was pleased to get back to my creative roots and found the transferable skills I had learnt in my previous role were brilliant for running my own business. About 5 years ago now my mum retired and we moved from the farm, it was a heartbreaking time leaving the flower field. We dug as much stock as we could, and I now have a small section at the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery in Lostwithiel. It was at this time that Maz went on to new adventures and I took on the business by myself.
Staying true to our roots The Garden Gate Flower Company was set up as alternative to shop brought, imported, chemically treated flowers. I just could not understand why flowers grown in the garden in Fowey, picked on a Wednesday/Thursday wouldn’t work as wedding flowers on a Saturday at Boconnoc! When I started out there wasn’t really anyone doing it, so it did seem a rather large leap of faith. We were so pleased to find the garden was on certified organic land; ideal for growing flowers that had character and a beautiful scent. Fast forward 10 years and there is huge network of British flower growers providing their carefully curated blooms for weddings and events. It is wonderful to see and from years of having to plug and champion this movement as the better way environmentally, I am delighted that couples now actively seek this out rather than having to be educated on it. That was a big milestone for me.
Inspiration & collaboration More often than not, my inspiration will come from one single flower I see in the garden – this will then snowball into the entire wedding collection! This is why I find it so important to have an open mind from my clients when it comes to flowers, colours and textures. Working with nature means being inspired at the point of picking – overplanning and tight guidelines on flowers can be a missed opportunity to create something really special. I have loved collaborative working and have championed it for many years now. It is so important to have a good support network around you when you are self-employed. I’m lucky to work with some other incredible local flower growers and florists and these relationships aid my own planning, pricing, and growing schedules each year. I also work closely with other local artisans whose work features in my weddings from the pottery I use down to the ribbon on the bouquet. I love to think that there is small but mighty force of Cornish creators behind each of my weddings.
"I want to be creative with my own flowers – when you have nurtured something from seed to bloom it can be so exciting to see it feature in a bridal bouquet." It is very easy to keep on doing the same thing and for it to become almost bored or stale. I am lucky that I mix my creativity with the flowers as an end arrangement, with planning what will be grown the following year; researching and trialling new varieties definitely keeps the floral creativity flowing. It is also important to me to work with the clients that fit with my passion and desire for sustainable flowers. Clients giving me the space and trust to be creative with colour and design always get the best results.
Finally, what is your favourite thing to do on a day off? Like so many now do in Cornwall, I love to swim. I try to get into the sea twice a week but wish I could go more! I also love to take Mabel, my black lab cross collie out for long walks – she has incredible stamina!
Follow Becca on Instagram @thegardengateflowerco
Photography: Debs Alexander/John Hersey