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This week, I’ve shared many of my personal adventures, including my own wedding. Before I share part two of my wedding tomorrow, I’m circling back to my trip in England on the Flutter Magazine Retreat in the Cotswolds. If you haven’t read part one, definitely head there first!
David Austin Roses
If you love flowers, specifically roses, get ready for one of the most stunning rose farms you’ll ever see. For the Flutter trip, co-host Kim arranged for us to visit David Austin’s rose farm and private rose garden. How much do you now wish you’d gone on this retreat!? Roses grew on nearly every surface of the property in every color imaginable. Even purple, which I usually don’t swoon over in flowers, had me crushing.
David Austin, who sadly passed away in June, kept a tidy garden filled with peacocks – his wife’s addition to the home. His quaint home was nothing sort of charming in our eyes. I would absolutely love to live there amongst the roses, especially as they filled the air with the most beautiful smell.
After our tour of the gardens, we were shown the greenhouses where roses are bred and cross pollinated to create new types of roses. Each new rose takes around 8 years to produce and many of the cross pollinated roses never make the cut. We saw workers take swabs of pollen and apply them from a jar to a rose. Each rose has tags on it to indicate its identity and what it is cross pollinated with. I can’t imagine the enormity of the spreadsheets they must have to keep the rose breeding organized. It was astonishing to learn about and witness this process.
Once we finished touring the gardens and breeding center, Alicia of Bows and Arrows taught us how to make centerpieces. David Austin gave us buckets and buckets of roses for our class. I can’t say that mine was all that beautiful, but once it was placed on the table among the other student arrangements for lunch, it totally blended in just fine. I suppose a lot of practice is in order!
Lunch with David Austin’s son was beautifully designed by Joy Proctor and Kim of Flutter Magazine with menus by Rosie Harbottle. Colorful and feminine, the tablescape truly spoke to the beauty of roses. Lunch itself featured the most delicious desserts of which I enjoyed every bite.
Joy Proctor held a mini lesson in flatlay styling on this relaxed day of the retreat. She spoke to how powerful meaning and purpose are for each item in an image. I find that incredibly important in my wedding images. For example, I often see invitation flatlays styled with a wax seal stamp but no actual wax seals in sight. Every item in a flatlay should make sense in addition to being beautiful. I chose to create a flatlay that represented my travels in England. Each object represents a little slice of my journey and the candles are meant to symbolize the warmth I felt with such a kind group of women.
After the class, Kay from Social and Co Events styled a piano with roses, as well as a set of vintage books. We had such a great time creating beautiful things out of the surroundings at Norton Hall.
While I wasn’t able to get photos of the tabletop, I did have the pleasure of photographing this exquisite cake by MonAnnie. Inspired by one of the ceilings of our estate, Norton Hall, the cake stole everyone’s heart. The detail put into the design of this all-white cake truly resembled that of a sculpture in an established museum.
On the bus ride to Heathrow, we stopped at Petersham Nurseries – a cafe plus home goods shop. Thankfully the prices were so high I wasn’t able to come home with a truckload of gorgeous napkins, candles, dinnerware, and chairs. As the last journey of the Flutter Magazine Retreat, I soaked it all up before heading home. Thank you to Kim, Joy, Alicia, Norton Hall, Rosie, and our other excursion hosts for the trip of a lifetime!