Read time 3 minutes
Florist Rachel Petheram warmly invited me for a walk around her enchanting cutting garden at Doddington Hall, nestled on the edge of Lincolnshire. To introduce me to her flower beds, so that as the season's change I may gather inspiration for my work from her produce.
I first met Rachel at a talk she delivered an inspiring talk on growing herbs at The School of Artisan Food, but it was after I had made cast jewellery from two of her bride's bouquets (Rachel creates the most glorious wedding flowers which you can see on her website, using blooms from her garden) that we realised a creative connection.
Beautiful even in the depth of winter, because its minder chooses not to cut back her blooms but allow nature to run its course. The garden is a treasure trove of flora and fauna that Rachel uses in her wedding work and teaching.
Rachel believes that leaving uncut flower heads and foliage creates precious habitats as well as rich interest in the darker months. This is perfect for my creative process, as the dried-out seed heads and fading leaves are a rich foraging ground of inspiration.
We noted many small details such as the flower heads on this beautiful hydrangea seem to vary between three and four petals.
A variation neither of us had noticed before. Inspiring us both to keep taking note and continue to look even closer at the plants we see every day…
Rachel and I share the same beliefs: That nature is intrinsic to our makeup and that being outdoors is more than healthy - it’s a necessity for the soul.
We are both grateful for the role nature plays in the businesses we run and how it becomes part of our customer's own special stories.
As an admirer of Rachel’s work (I loved her Floral Immersion piece at RHS Chatsworth) I was in total awe of Rachel’s extensive knowledge of flora and fauna, and her ability to identify and (pronounce) all the Latin names of her plants.
Stroking your hand down the textured stem of a flower and explaining out loud how amazing it feels! Then realising your comments and actions are actually quite suggestive, is a totally different experience when shared. I must thank Rachel for laughing with me and not at me...
Rarely do I get opportunities to go foraging for finds with others, so it really was a delight to explore the garden with its passionate and talented creator. Some one thoughtfully pointing out tiny details with consideration of the textures that might translate well into my own creative process.
Rachel with an eye for detail and luster noted my Ivy Ivy twig stacking rings. The following week her husband ordered a stack of three for a gift for her, opting for two silver rings and one 9ct yellow gold.
She went for mixed metal – definitely a woman after my own heart.
Rachel was generous in her knowledge, sharing her top reads, and suggesting which of her florist friends I might most engage with. Such as Fiona Pickles, who’s work I have to say is absolutely inspirational.
As we discussed my plans to develop my scattered seed ring collection further Rachel also suggested I search out local seed swap events, I didn’t even know such a thing existed! She advised these events might be a way to get to see and handle a variety of seeds...
Please join the mailing list to follow my seed journey in 2020.
For now, I have my basket full of Doddington Hall cutting garden finds to explore, it really is quite amazing how this garden just keeps on giving even in the depths of winter.
Graciously Rachel has given me permission to visit the garden regularly and look for finds to make jewellery from. It will be a delight to explore this garden through the seasons and have the opportunity to see into its soul. I will, of course, share my visits with you on my social media.
Do let me know your comments and any places (where ever in the world) you would recommend I go to gather...
Written by Jessica Collin, ethical jewellery designer and owner of Cast & Found.