A few weeks ago I was invited to spend a morning at the home of Polly Nicholson of Bayntun Flowers. I had met Polly a few months earlier at Silvana’s lovely shop, The Foodie Bugle in Bath, after she gave a hand tied bouquet demonstration. Polly shared with us her love of homegrown British flowers, and showed us how to tie a bouquet using a variety of ‘ingredients’ – hedgerow leaves, grasses and herbs to give the flowers structure and texture. I was hooked!
Polly first showed us her workshop, a Georgian stable block to the side of her home. What a space! Cobbled floors and wooden beams, with swifts darting in and out nesting. Inside were buckets of prepped flowers waiting to be made into arrangements and to the other side a room dedicated to props. Terracotta pots, wire hanging baskets and dried allium heads. And swans! I want one of those swans so badly!
But outside was calling. Through the back door I could see glimpses of the prettiest walled garden. Polly explained that when they bought the house this area was a disused tennis court, and they have painstakingly put back the original garden, complete with topiary box. In. Love.
We were shown the different species and plants that Polly and her gardener grows, not the usual cottage garden plants, but something a little bit special. Polly has hunted down old varieties and interesting plants that give the wow to a bouquet and also structure and texture. Colours and form in the garden inter-mingle, with flowers and vegetables all woven together.
I, of course, just wanted to pick and pick and pick. I couldn’t help but smell and touch each and every bloom.
Polly went on to explain that she grows such a variety of flowers, plants and edibles so that she can cater for all requests. In the green house were several wine boxes filled salad leaves, which were used at a restaurant launch recently. And outside burgundy coloured cornflowers were being grown to be dried later and used as confetti for weddings.
After feasting on flat peaches from the green house, Polly took us through to her field where she grows her larger quantities of crops. Tulips in spring have now given way to frothy white clouds of Ammi majus and soon in late Summer, dahlias.
What a morning! Leaving with armfuls of freshly picked rhubarb and new love of home grown blooms. Thank you Polly for sharing your space with us. If you are a local you can buy Polly’s beautiful hand tied bunches from The Foodie Bugle in Bath or from her direct.