Gilding the Lily – Amy Stewart (Part Three)

Gilding the Lily by Amy Stewart is about the cut flower industry. It is a brilliant book, making you question the role cut flowers (essentially a luxury item, already dying before they even get packed to be transported to the shop) have in our lives.

(Here you can buy Gilding the Lily. While here is Part One from our blog. And here is Part Two.)

This blog shares Amy Stewart’s conversation with florist shop owner Teresa Sabankaya from Santa Cruz, California…

“My whole thing with flowers started in the garden. I love to see plants going from seed to seed, you know? We had 11 acres in Bonny Doon up the coast, and I just started putting in one garden after another… the idea behind the shop was to be able to utilise some of the flowers coming off my property…

… we expanded to weddings, corporate accounts, and restaraunts. And we do deliveries. We’re a full service florist, even though we don’t look like it.”

Amy Stewart explains…

“She (Teresa) has a kiosk, a cooler and extra work space… but only 30% (of sales) come from street sales and impulse buys… her shop has more in common with a 19th century florist… she grows some of her own, just like florists did a century ago.”

It is a highly seasonal florist shop, and the way it is described in the book is thrilling – this is someone who is running a business, but also creating art. Teresa seems to have asked ‘what can a flower shop do for you? For your city?’ and found the answer to be – it can educate people about flowers and where they come from. It can excite people too.

“The whole reason I bought this place was to bring new things from the natural world and just put them right here in front of people… can you make someone stop for a minute…?

We have a frequent flower program… we stay open until 8 o’clock on the weekends…”

This is what a florist should be – growing flowers in their own garden, or sourcing flowers from a farmer just down the road, then putting together a bouquet with class and seasonality… while also providing a shopping experience that people want, at the time they want. It seems fun, seems to create a sense of community, gives a strong meaning to the flowers people buy and give as gifts. Brilliant – a dream of ours, to grow and sell cut flowers. Maybe one day?

You can read here Part One and Part Two of our Amy Stewart blogs.

Here is the a book on growing cut flowers by the lovely Louise Curley, should you want to give grow your own a go… The Cut Flower Patch.

And here are some of Amy Stewart’s other books… Amy Stewart Books – well worth a read!


Save Ryton Organic Gardens!

There seems to be some underhand shenanigans going on here. Bob Flowerdew is threatening to resign. We face losing the UK’s cornerstone organic garden. So please take a look at what is going on via the Facebook group…. go on! Go Now! Save Ryton Organic Gardens!


Garden Design Trends 2018

shed garden trend

Today we will be looking at Garden Design Trends in 2018. Just so you are in the know about what is cool and what is not cool in the 12 months ahead…. For the past like, million years I have shared my thoughts on what the gardening industry tell us the latest trends are going to be. If you are interested, you can see here the garden design trends for 2017. Or take a peek at my favourite of all the posts I have written – Alternative Garden Design Trends. This is my individual take on what the latest garden design …



Northern Forest – UK Plans For 50 Million New Trees

Well now, this is interesting…. UK Plans 50 Million New Trees in Northern Forest Likely? See the pitfalls? We love the idea and wholeheartedly support as much tree planting as possible. But are seriously doubtful that this is more than a sticking plaster solution to England being so vastly ‘under-treed’…. or should that be ‘overfelled?’ Yet whether this idea happens or not, all we ask is that you please make sure you plant as many trees as you can in your garden!