Gardens Illustrated Festival 2017: 5 minutes with Charlie Ryrie

Charlie Ryrie is a gardener and florist. She started The Cut Flower Company by growing the flowers she loved in a small field next to her house. Charlie will be speaking at the Gardens Illustrated Festival 2017, 25-26 March. 


Fed up with cut flowers shipped in from glasshouses overseas, gardener Charlie Ryrie set up The Real Cut Flower Garden to offer customers seasonal bouquets of home-grown blooms. She began by buying the field next to her her cottage in Hay-on-Wye and started to grow the flowers she liked. Now, she has has moved to Dorset and has been growing old-fashioned and unusual flowers for 12 years. She sells her flowers nationwide and runs The British Flower School.

Ahead of her talk, 'An accidental flower grower' at next year's Gardens Illustrated Festival, we caught up with Charlie to find out more about her passion for plants and flowers. 


Q What is it about gardens and plants that you love?
A: Gardens are generous, nurturing, inspiring. My garden is a place of imagination and wonder as well as toil and gives back a thousandfold whatever I suggest to it.

Q: Who or what inspires your approach to floristry?
A: The plants themselves. When you look at a beautiful flower it will tell you how to use it.

Q: Is there a style of planting you particularly love? Name a garden or place where this style can be seen
A: I love planting and landscaping that looks uncontrived and in some way echoes the colours and textures of season and weather on the landscape. I'm not crazy about shouty gardens that demand your attention but I prefer quieter surprises.

Q: What one flower could you not be without when making bouquets?
A: I don't mind what there is, I believe you can create something beautiful from almost any plant material, I try to be open to whatever is available. But I do love a tulip. And a highly scented rose. And a fritillary. And Clematis viticellas. And umbellifers. And lily of the valley. And deep bronze ranunculus. And apricot foxgloves…

Q: Why should more people be encouraged to take up gardening?
A: Gardening is one of the most hopeful and trusting of occupations, and in a garden small steps can create wonderful joyous results - and a few hours in a garden would improve our nation's general and psychological health no end!

Q: Name an essential task we should be doing in our gardens in March?
A: Get those seeds going indoors and get the ground absolutely ready for planting seedlings as soon as the soil is warm.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at the Gardens Illustrated Festival?
A: All of it, a chance to hear some great speakers and catch up with friends old and new plus lust over wonderful plants and treasures in the shopping area.

Q: Which talk would you most like to go to yourself?
A: Tim Richardson

Q: What can we expect from your own talk?
A: Encouragement from someone who has made many mistakes and learnt a lot from the best teachers - the plants themselves.


Charlie Ryrie is a gardener, florist and garden writer. She regularly creates beautiful displays for Gardens Illustrated events, including the annual Gardens Illustrated Talk and our stand at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Charlie made all the buttonholes for our #bringbackthebuttonhole campaign which you can re-visit via our Instagram account.

Charlie will be speaking at the Gardens Illustrated Festival 2017 which takes place 25-26 March at Westonbirt School in the Cotswolds. You can book tickets to Charlie's talk, 'The accidental flower grower' at



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