Growing and arranging special, unique varieties of flowers is a vocation as much as an art form. For our bouquets we use only natural and seasonal flowers, adding wild, eye-catching details.
We use naturally grown, unforced flowers, with quirky imperfections, adding grasses, aromatic herbs and pods to enhance colour nuances and subtle, seasonal details.
While visiting England Ann and I picked up an amazing book called “Cut Flower Garden” by Erin Benzakein, it is about how to grow, harvest and arrange stunning seasonal blooms. We were blown away by the idea of doing exactly that in Quinta de Sant’Ana. Every year (except this covid year) we spend a fortune on imported flowers for the weddings. Flowers that have been grown and shipped from Holland, Israel, Africa, South America, the shipping miles are considerable, they are far from fresh when they arrive, they look good but not natural, a flower that does the job but without the scent one expects, far from organic, having been sprayed with all types of chemicals against disease and made to last the journey. The idea of harvesting our own gorgeous organic scented flowers within walking distance of the wedding hall was irresistible.
Gardening has always been one of my passions, and we all know how creative Ann is in all things including flowers, a combination that should work. But we were under no illusion that a lot of hard work is required to build the garden and grow the flowers.
Soil quality is the most important factor in growing healthy and abundant flowers. Even though we had good rich soil in the only flat field of the Quinta, described by father-in-law Gustav as “die Fruchtbare Ebene” meaning the “fertile ground”, it was still lacking organic matter. Compost, the gardener’s gold, is key in making flowers flourish; we had none. We bought in a couple of lorry loads, but I was disappointed with the results, the bought-in compost had been made from municipal garden trimmings and prunings, from gardens where herbicides had been used, this has a knock-on effect for the compost stunting growth of the plants -the opposite to what we wanted to achieve. So, we started to produce our own compost using our own green waste from the events, the garden, our house, grape skins from the adega, horse manure, straw, leaves etc. Most of this material we formerly burnt in huge bonfires at the end of the summer, doing no good to the environment, and wasting amazing material to make the wonderful compost.
There is something magical about witnessing a year through flowers.
It is hugely exciting when the first seedlings come up, the stems grow, leaves form, early blossoms show, the first petals reveal their colours…On the heels of the local food movement, it does not surprise us that the »field-to-vase« movement is becoming an ever more popular trend, especially for weddings. Our mostly eco-conscious couples are delighted to lighten their carbon footprint with locally grown blooms, choosing from a flamboyant display from early spring to well into our mild winter.
We commit to organic growing methods with small plots, no use of chemical fertilisers, no pesticides, no preservatives. We compost our green waste and provide food for bees. We source locally and organic to reduce carbon emissions. We learn, teach and employ. A win-win for everybody involved, specially for you: enjoy your scented, seasonal and sustainable flowers!