As 2023 draws to a close and we float about eating Christmas cake and wondering what day it is – we’ve been thinking back over the past year. We have worked our socks off, waving a total of 20 couples through our creaky barn doors and off into the sunset together. We grew more flowers than ever before, lost count of how many vegetables we’ve chopped and plates we have washed, plied guests with plentiful puddings, touted our new tapas menu, finished the handy new Shack out on the lawn with our lovely wood burner and bar area. Took not one, but two team trips, our Kathleen got engaged, Charlie was married and Hannah’s eldest flew the nest for Uni, along with lots of our brilliant teenage gang (Good luck Joe, Edie, Tom & Noah!). Phew, what a year! Come reminisce with us..
Sneaky jolly in Rome.
P&F girls ate their way around Rome for 3 days, Trapezzino, Suppli and Gelato were consumed in great quantities. We loved the pretty alleys and streets of Trastavere, people watching outside the Colosseum (plus an excellent tour guide inside) and all the fountains, churches and bits of history round every corner. Perfect antidote to the January blues, and the weather was lovely! “Where’s the blog?” I hear you cry? Don’t worry dear reader – keep your eyes peeled.
Liz & Jamie – Jo Thorne Photography
Liz & Jamie tied the knot.
Our lovely Liz (Ruby Roux) was married in the wintery depths of February. We filled the ‘The Swan’ in Arundel with flowers for her – think Catkins, Ranunculus and Hellebores. We hung them above doorways and mirrors and covered the mantel pieces. It looked totally gorgeous. The pub was stuffed with friends and family – lots of laughing and dancing.
Sowing seeds & planting out.
Up at the field we were sewing lots of seeds and planting out our overwintered seedlings (lots of larkspur!). Generally dodging showers, hopping in and out of the polytunnel and getting a bit blown about but happily feeling the sun starting to shine on our faces. Our flower field was great this year and we used more of our own grown blooms than ever before!
Ellie & Charlie – Olive Joy Photography
Wedding season begins.
We kicked off our busy wedding season with lovely Ellie & Charlie. It was so nice to all be back together again, and what a nice couple to begin with. Pink, romantic, springy blooms. Lots of smiley faces.
Photo: Olive Joy Photography
Maddy & Hugo – Fern Rose Photography
Is it a bird, is it a plane..?
What’s that soaring through the sky? Only a surprise arial show – actual planes that let off fireworks and wrote things in the sky with lights. It was so great that we all stood and watched, and apparently so did all the festival go-ers down the road, who thought it was part of the show. Lucky Maddy & Hugo!
Midsummer & plenty.
The Flower Field was blooming away so happily, the field was bursting. We greedily cut roses to fill soft romantic bouquets and long climbing tendrils of sweetpeas to dangle above the bar. There were Foxgloves, loads of Poppies, Ammi, Sweet Rocket, and Cornflowers…..
Two Celebrants Ceremonies and a Wedding video.
We love it when a videographer appears at the barn. There’s something really magical about looking back at a film of our couples and their wedding day. It really captures something special, a feeling or something of the mood.
Jess & Pat / Elizabeth Ruby Photography
Joyful, sexy & fun – we love it when the Dahlia’s get going. We had so many that we were selling bunches to you lot via instagram and to some lovely local shops. It’s a colourful month – and it was also when we all popped to Spain for a quick bit of sun & sea (see the blog post here).
Open Day – Photo Elizabeth Ruby Photography
Last Wedding & Open Day.
We wrapped up our busy season with a final glorious Autumnal wedding and our annual Open Day where we get to showcase some big installations and cook a taster menu for our next year’s couples. We had a great time adding pretty squash and pumpkins to table flowers and setting up the barn to show it off at it’s best.
Charlie & the dead whale.
It was a damp, blustery afternoon on the coastal path in North Devon, 80 wedding guests were slipping and sliding about in the mud as they struggled two and a half miles up a wooded hill, and down in to the valley to tiny old church. Actual steam rose from the congregation as they gathered for the Wedding of Charlie & Jamie. No food, no flowers (well a few flowers), no fuss. Walking boots and waterproofs. There was a dead whale on the beach, and a pub in by the weir, Charlie decided she actually quite liked being the centre of attention after all. We couldn’t think of a more fitting un-wedding wedding for our brilliant friend, honestly.
The Wreath Lectures.
We saw around 50 happy wreathers across our many workshops this year. All sent home with their own completely handmade natural Wreath, featuring lots of beautiful winter greenery, foraged goodies and dried fruit and flowers. It’s lovely to see how different they all come out, an insight into the maker? There are neat ones, wild ones, and loads in between.
This year we were hosted by The Maker’s Barn in Petworth by Rosie and her beautiful stone barn for the first time, and we were also cosied up in The Shack at The Secret Barn with the log burner roaring. It’s a great start to the festive period each year and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without it!
So, there we go, a quick romp through our 2023. Here’s to 2024!