A Horticultural blog

Culti-Vate Homemade #028 Flower Patch


These few images are a glimpse at what my flower patch looked like this year, before the cosmos became hedge and the scabious reached over 5ft. This year I planted in areas of my parents new garden, they had a large bed to the rear of the garden that was going to be left bare over the summer so I moved myself and my seeds in. Which actually was perfect because filling the large muddy space with rows and rows of colour really helped bring the garden together.

I grew Amaranths, Scabious, Snapdragons, Larkspur, Didiscus blue lace, Bells of Ireland, Sweet peas, Ammi (various varieties), Cornflowers, Cosmos, Dahlias, Godetia, Cleome, Painted sage and various other things that were dotted into gaps and between rows. The majority of these were directly sown into the tilled ground, once in there they had very little attention. They were fed a couple of times and I weeded up and down the rows when the plants were small to make sure nothing was fighting for space, but other than that it just did it’s own thing.

My flower patch has now began to become more garden, being planted with perennials and bulbs ready for next year, but there will still be the odd annual flowering away in there, not because of rogue seeds that escaped before the plants were cut back, but because my mum just couldn’t resist the Didiscus, the Ammi or the pale pink Gypsophila that just kept on flowering!

I can’t wait to see what this new large bed will grow into, I have no hard feelings about my eviction from there as I have claimed a polytunnel, three small outdoor beds and a large area of terratex over on the nursery that will now be transformed to grow my cut flowers. Beds are being built and filled within the polytunnel, along with a new bed outside on the terratex. Bulbs have been delivered and seeds sown, so next year will be bigger and better!

I am growing more varieties next year, trying new ones and expanding on tried and tested ones. I have a pin board with a rough list of what I am growing HERE if you wish to have a look.

So expect to see regular updates of how my flower patch is growing and developing, I will be producing all the flowers to sell, whether being used in a wedding or event VERVAIN is styling and creating or as bucket full to anyone who would like one!

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All images by India Hobson 

Culti-Vate Presents – Vervain

Vervain Website title


“Vervain is a flower studio that specialises in creating unique wedding and event floristry tailored to you, your style and your individual day. 

Vervain was founded by India Hurst, a florist, floral designer and grower. India has a background in art and design as well as horticulture, having been brought up on a nursery surrounded by plants and flowers it was inevitable that she would be inspired by her generations of family growers and fall in love with flowers. ”  – Vervain, About.



Click either image to visit Vervain’s website.

Culti-Vate Explores #012 Various London Locations

IMG_5732 copy IMG_5784 copy IMG_5849 copyKew Gardens

IMG_5870 copy IMG_5873 copyPetersham Nurseries

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Hello! It has been a VERY VERY long time since I posted anything on here, I can only apologise and blame my NEW business! This is what took my attention away from Culti-Vate for so long, I will be blogging all about it very soon. Meanwhile here are a collection of images from a couple of places I visited during the summer months.

One of which was the new contemporary gardening show GROW London. I had very high hopes for this new modern take on a gardening show. Having spent a lot of my life at various flower shows, plant fairs & gardening shows I was hoping this would be a breath of fresh air and on some level it was, for start it was in a wonderful location, the show had a brilliant café and great toilets! The stalls themselves were overall a little disappointing, apart from a handful of beautifully decorated stands (Wildegoose, Claire Austin’s and Special Plants were all very attractive and eye catching!) and a few new exciting gardening products, it was basically the same as a normal show just smaller & very white. I was really hoping for more show gardens, or displays, there was a stunning floral display at the entrance by Shane Connolly (with plants from Crug Farm and Derry Watkins’ Special Plants), along with a few other little mini ‘show gardens’ dotted around the tent which were all beautifully planted and designed. As it was only its first year I am hoping that it will grow in size and in show gardens and become even more contemporary and innovative next year.

Floral Inspiration #040 It’s All About Flowers


It is ALL about flowers! This Inspiration post is full of images of inspiring arrangements by talented folk. These are a select few of my favourites, the ladies that created these are incredibly inspiring when it comes to flowers.

All the images are of work by Amy Merrick, Saipua, Little Flowers School (Sarah Ryhanen of Sapuia & Nicolette Owen of Nicolette Camille), The Blue Carrot, Sarah Winward, Brrch & Jo Flowers.

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All were collected via pinterest


Culti-Vate Explores #011 Claire Austin Hardy Plants Nursery

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Back at the beginning of June I visited Claire Austin’s amazing Iris and Peony fields nestled between Welsh hills, as you can imagine (& see!) it was stunning. It was a glorious day, which just made the fields look even more beautiful. The Iris patch was packed full of delicate elegant Irises in every colour imaginable. I took hundreds of photos, below are just a select few of my favourites. My love of Peonies only really blossomed (sorry!) this year after using and learning about them at flower school in May, so a trip to a field full of them only increased my love of them! Especially when I wondered around the small field of newer varieties behind Claire’s garden. The Coral Charms were the size of Dinner plates, they were incredible! If only I’d had my snippers…

It seems only right that as our British Peony season is coming to a close I post this!

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Tallulah Rose Flower School, Final Week

IMG_5928 smallMy final week at Tallulah Rose flower school was full of flowers and the freedom to practise, play and create whatever I wanted. I opted for a couple of vase arrangements on the Tuesday and  also created a length of swag to practise for my final piece.

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During the week I had a Saffy day (Bath Flowers). This consisted of huge amounts of colour, many of which I would never normally choose or put together myself but it worked beautifully. I created various jug arrangements and a meadow style box, all bursting with colour, I was then given the task of decorating the window with my creations. I filled the window with the brightest fabric I could find and scattered my arrangements throughout the window and then hung all the left over flowers from the ceiling. The result was an explosion of colour to brighten up the grey cloudy day! IMG_6027 smallIMG_6085 small

Below are a few shots of my final piece, I opted for a large vase arrangement, a bridal hand tied bouquet and a long table swag. I originally planned to have peach, apricot and pink colours, but this wasn’t meant to be on the day we collected my flowers from the markets, so I did a quick colour scheme swap and went for dark reds & purples. This actually worked out much better, and I think out of all of the things I created over the course my final large vase arrangement was my favourite.

Now it’s all over (which is very sad, as I could easily have stayed at Tallulah Rose with lovely Rachel and Lemmy for another 4 weeks!), but now it is time for some serious business planning! I plan to share all of the stages of my new venture on here, showing its progress and growth.

I can’t recommend Tallulah Rose enough, it was a wonderful experience and I learnt so much. If you are considering a career in floristry or even just have a love of flowers and want to explore that, then do consider some of the great courses Rachel runs!

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I will miss Lemmy a lot! Here he is with his little Astrantia collar on.








Floral Inspiration #039

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 Glasshouses // Greenhouses & Greenery

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Tallulah Rose Flower School, Week Two

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Week two was just as enjoyable and exciting as week one, if not better.

During week two we focused on Bridal arrangements from hand-tied bridal bouquets, buttonholes and pedestal arrangements, along with learning about bridal consultations, costing, quoting and all the technical aspects of creating and delivering wedding flowers. We started the week with Bridal bouquets, looking at a different shape and form of a hand tied bouquet. We learnt how to ribbon and pin, creating delicate streamers that complemented the bouquet.

Day two was focused on wiring, learning the different techniques of wiring and which flowers each technique suits. After grasping the basics of wiring flowers and foliage we created button holes to match our bridal bouquets from the previous day. We ended the day by making flamboyant flower crowns, mine was very large and full of beautiful peonies, ice cream tulips and cappuccino roses (I wore it for the rest of the day, even whilst cooking dinner…).

On day three we created the elegant candelabra arrangement and learnt how to construct a table swag. Day four was a team day, Jackie (fellow learner) and I worked together to create the garlands around a large picture frame.  This was a great exercise, it meant we really worked together to create a shape that complimented the frame and its opposite corners.

The last day of the week was a large arrangement day! We created massive pedestal pieces in vibrant purple and blue hues with stunning giant Delphiniums, pale blue Hydrangeas and beautiful reddish purple Stocks.

Week three was business week so I’m afraid there is no flower pictures at all! But my final week is about to hit the halfway mark and I already have loads of images to share!




Tallulah Rose Flower School, Week One

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Week one at Tallulah rose was so enjoyable and I feel I have learnt so much in such a short time, already I feel my skills are growing along with my confidence at a rapid pace! Myself and one other lady are attending this month long course, which is great because we really get one to one time with both our brilliant teachers Rachel and Saffy.

This first week was a full on flower week, everyday we had new exciting colourful blooms to work with, and a different task to test our abilities and skills.

Day One – We created Terrariums and planted painted boxes, this was a great way to ease into the course. Giving us a chance to chat and get to know each other, along with why we had enrolled and what we wanted to get from the course.

Day Two – Hand tied bouquets – a little harder than day one! Firstly a neater and smaller spiralled stem bouquet, followed by a wild and freer bouquet that was much bigger! (check out my instagram so a picture of just how large!)

Day Three – Sympathy flowers – we created beautiful mossed letters with delicate floral details, as well as an elegant pale lilac casket topper. It was great to learn about how sympathy flowers can be done in a more naturalistic way that can complement the deceased more elegantly than the traditional arrangements associated with funeral work.

Day Four – Vase arrangements – this was a great day! I created my favourite piece of the week (top picture) a flowing asymmetrical vase arrangement filled with peachy apricot tones, deep coloured dahlias and a large fading peony. We also created a tall pastel coloured jug arrangement filled with Nigella (love-in-a-mist), Stocks and some highly scented sweet peas.

Day Five – Oasis arrangements – on our last day of week one we created an oasis wreath with sumptuous deep red Roses and Tulips, also a large table top arrangement – the kind you might see on the top table at a wedding or a large event, big and eye catching, full of delicate pink Astilbe and bendy Astrantia.

During the week we also learnt about costing each of our creations, theory behind balancing an arrangement, along with many other things, my note book is already a scribbled mess of ideas and information!

Week one was brilliant, Rachel and Saffy have both made me even more excited about the prospect of becoming a florist!

Week two is Bridal week…. !!




Tallulah Rose Flower School

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DAY TWO at Tallulah Rose Flower School

My second hand tied of the day, a wilder more chaotic bunch than the first. Made up of Peony ‘Coral Charm’, Amaranthus, Bells of Ireland, Foxgloves ‘Salmon’, Snapdragon, Thlaspi ‘Green Bells’, Gelder Rose.

It became so big I could barely hold it in my hand! I am absolutely loving the course so far, I feel like I have learnt so much already just after two days and there is still SO much to come.



Tallulah Rose Flower School, Bath


In one week I will be starting a month long”career course” in floristry at Tallulah Rose flower school, which is owned and run by Rachel Wardley, learning the skills and techniques to help me get a little bit closer to my dream of becoming a florist. During the course I will about seasonal flowers, conditioning, how to create a hand tied bouquet, along with learning how to cost, quote for and create wedding work. The course not only focuses on the creative side but it also covers the business side, teaching you  how to order wholesale flowers, business planning, using social media to its full advantage and many other aspects of branding and marketing.

The four weeks really are going to be action packed with so many areas to cover. I can’t wait to get started – expect weekly updates on what I am creating and achieving to appear on here, mainly how my hand tied progresses! Lets hope I crack it by week four.

c269400ba6f4744ebf178fc3a2509340Arrangements by Flower School Students


And this little guy is an added bonus!

Culti-Vate Explores #011 Barbican Conservatory, London

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A few weeks ago on a spontaneous trip to London I visited the hidden jungle at the Barbican’s conservatory. With over 2,000 species of tropical plants the conservatory is a great opportunity to learn more about the world of tropical flora. Once you have entered the conservatory you are hit by the heat inside and are greeted by a series of brutalist concrete terraces that lead you around the corner to the rear, where an array of plants and trees dangle above you and cling to the building. You are invited to climb a set of stairs where you can explore the fantastic cacti room, which includes an abundance of cacti and succulents that have been growing there for over 20 years. Once up on the terraces you can look down and get a sense of the conservatory’s scale. I felt as though I was amongst the canopy of a rainforest-and all of this in a metropolis! I recommend a visit to this enchanting place, which is not only free but a great way to spend a lazy Sunday morning in relative peace and quiet.



Floral Inspiration #038







 I’m feeling impatience for vibrant summer colour

All images are sourced from Pinterest

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Floral Inspiration #037

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People & Flora

The first image is my absolute favourite!

All Images are from pinterest

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Culti-Vate Homemade #027 Dahlias

This year I am almost doubling the varieties of plants and flowers I am growing specifically for cutting, this includes dahlias. I adore these frill extravagant blooms, often slightly brash and gaudy in colour but when paired with more delicate stems they can looks mesmerising. I am not the only one in my family with a love of Dahlias, my mum delights in them as much as I do, which came in handy when ordering tubers this year. With so many varieties out there it’s hard not to get carried away, so we did. A few weeks ago our 230 ugly dangling tubers arrived (it’s hard to believe something so ugly can grow into something so pretty!), 10 of each variety we chose (just one variety is missing form the pictures below). There is a really mixture of petal shapes and shades, some more traditional, like the first two below Café au Lait & White Perfection, and then others like Phantom, that have that more vibrant playful appearance. If Phantom blooms just like the photo suggests then expect to be bombarded with photos!

Dahlia Tubers

From this to that… (actual Café au Lait tuber)


Café au Lait

Dahlia- White Perfection

White Perfection


Optic Illusion & Wine Eyed Jill




Blue Boy & Eveline




Aitara Diadem & Rebecca’s World




Soulman & Karma Choc


Chianti & Arabian Night

David Howard

David Howard


Rembrant Mix


Nuit D’Ete & Mingus Gregory

So later in the year I should be absolutely surrounded by bloom after bloom of these multi coloured beauties, far more than I know what to do with so look out for opportunities to buy plants/flowers when the time comes! Watch this space!

All tuber bought wholesale from J Parker Bulbs

All images sourced from google.

Culti-Vate Explores #010 Jardin Majorelle, Marrakech

IMG_0650 copyIMG_0588 copyAt the end of February I spent a few days in the bustling colourful city of Marrakech, while there I visited a garden that has been at the top of my ‘must visit‘ list for ages, Jardin Majorelle. It was originally designed my the French artist Jacques Majorelle and later owned by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé who bought the garden, saving it from being turned into a hotel. After Yves Saint Laurent’s death the stunning exotic garden was donated to the foundation in Paris which bears both their names in order for it to be preserved for everyone to enjoy.

It is a cacti lovers paradise, so my ideal place to spend a sunny Moroccan morning! With towering cacti, some over 10ft tall and giant succulents bursting through the borders, every corner you turn there is another incredible specimen, not to mention the agave with their beautiful pale grey leaves. This truly is worth a trip to Marrakech, I have’t ever seen cacti like it (and I doubt I will again!).

IMG_4556 copyIMG_4431 copyIMG_4496 copyThe iconic vivid and intense blue of the buildings, walls and pots set within the garden just adds to the exotic feel, bringing out the colours of the flowers and leaves. The garden itself isn’t large, just under two acres, but the variety of plants from around the globe is astonishing, with not only cacti and succulents but palms, bamboos and bougainvilleas too.

IMG_4545 copyIMG_0638 copyIMG_0564 copy 01IMG_4553 copy 02 IMG_0643 copyIMG_4456 copyI can’t get enough of this blue! Good job I bought a mini paint tin home with me, watch this space for blue pots popping up everywhere.

“…the vast splendours whose harmony I have orchestrated… This garden is a momentous task, to which I give myself entirely. It will take my last years from me and I will fall, exhausted, under its branches after having given it all my love.” – Jacques Majorelle

Floral Inspiration #036

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There hasn’t been a Floral Inspiration post in quite some time, so this one is extra large! Mainly because I am longing for greenery and spring to burst into action outside. This bleak and dismal weather we have been having (not that any of you need reminding about it!)  has made me long for leafy trees, warm light and vibrant greens.

‘Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.’  – Kin Hubbard

All Images are from pinterest

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Culti-Vate Explores #009 Bristol Botanic Gardens

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Bristol botanic gardens has a series of wonderful glasshouses jam packed with exotic delights. Each with varying temperatures, meaning there is a wide variety of flora from all around the world on show, it is hard to believe they can fit so much in! From giant spiny cacti to hanging cocoa pods, dangling air plants and large fern leaves. I find nothing more exciting than exploring a tropical greenhouse learning about curious plant species.

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Culti-Vate Homemade #026 Flowers

Culti-Vate has a new page dedicated completely to flowers and arranging.

Check it out and share your thoughts!


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Culti-Vate Explores #008 A Winter Nursery

IMG_3935 copyIMG_3963 copyWinter on a nursery is pretty bleak, piles of dead plants & empty broken pots fill the spaces where vigorous growing flora once was just a few moths ago. All the wear & tear of the previous seasons mayhem & madness starts to show now the plants have died back. Broken panes of glass, ripped poly tunnels and plants suffering from the cold, but there is something beautiful about the sleeping nursery waiting for that burst of spring to bring it all back to life. IMG_3946 copyIMG_3932 copy IMG_3961 copy IMG_3970 copyIMG_3967 copyIMG_3969 copyIMG_3989 copyIMG_3987 copyIMG_3982 copy

Photographs taken during January 2014.