A cutting garden is neither domestic, such as most people cultivate, nor industrial on a scale supplying markets and stores. Frances Boscawen supplies seasonal bouquets for weddings, parties and home use, so while highly organised for purpose her garden remains close to what her customers themselves would cultivate.
We went by invitation to see the plants we could expect – indeed had just received – from her. The farm is outside the village of Dennington, just beyond Dennington Hall on the way to Brundish on B 1116. There is a long drive in; the house and moat are visible on approach, and it was good to see the domestic garden nearby.
In a barn tea and coffee were served with cake, and on display were examples of bouquets from flowers gathered that morning – an ideal way to see results. There are three sections to the cutting gardens: a raised bed area, a greenhouse and the field with plants grown as you would expect in Lincolnshire, say, but on a minute scale. Nothing is forced out of season, despite the greenhouse, and everything is grown in native soil.
One girl was looking for a wedding bouquet, but had to accept that flowers in bloom today would not be available in a month’s time. As in our own gardens, flowers for cutting involve compromise and acceptance of natural conditions.
There were of course the standby roses and dahlias; sweet pea however were for the moment and not much more. Foliage plants included eucalyptus as well as fern and what looked like cow parsley. We are always happy to accept what Frances has to offer but could understand why some people might find this restrictive.
If you want to support British growers but not necessarily the industrial farmers, people like Frances and the more celebrated Sarah Raven have to be allowed to do what they know is best, for both the market and the environment. The results speak for themselves. Even down to the self-sown bee orchid right beside where we’d parked. As we left they were making sure of protecting it from later arrivals.