A year of cut flowers
Country Life UK|January 15, 2020
A year of cut flowers
To find out how to fill your vases with homegrown flowers from now until December, Juliet Roberts talks to Becky Crowley at Chatsworth in Derbyshire
Juliet Roberts
IT’S no mean feat to grow a year-round supply of gorgeous flowers and foliage, but to do so at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire requires more than meticulous planning. Becky Crowley, who took over the cutting garden in 2014, is an art-school graduate-turned-grower and the driving force behind what has become one of the finest cutting gardens in the country.

Not only must she provide enough year-round blooms for the three in-house florists to decorate the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, for use at events held at the property and to sell in the farm shop, but Becky also has to ensure the garden looks beautiful during the 10 months it is open. Her enthusiasm, knowledge, and hard work are evident to visitors, as well as to her more than 46,000 Instagram followers. Becky’s regular postings of beautiful floral compositions (which she sells on Etsy to raise funds for a local charity), her stacks of notebooks, obsessive search for new plants, not to mention the barrowloads of flowers picked by the florists, all point to the fact that, despite her relaxed nature, she runs the garden like a military operation. With only part-time help from one to two volunteers during the busiest months and a student one day a week, there’s a lot of work to fit in. Good planning is key.

The one-acre cutting garden, set within the three-acre kitchen garden, sits high up on a west-facing slope behind the old stable block. It has extraordinary views of the Peak District, but is vulnerable to winds whipping through, despite backing on to woodland and being protected by a shelterbelt of trees and shrubs.

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January 15, 2020