Former American florist/gardener marries British lad who owns a 300 acre farm in West Berkshire…and Marlston Farmgirl is born. As well as being a former florist and movie set decorator, I was previously the florist for the Obama White House in 2009. My love of flowers led to us developing some of our land into a sustainable, organically grown flower farm.
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It seems like everyone who grows and loves flowers has a vivid memory of planting or gardening with a grandmother from a very young age. I definitely fall into that category as well…my earliest garden memories all stem from my grandmother’s summer house on a lake in Illinois. I couldn’t wait for summer to come so we could sit and plant her window boxes with brightly colored petunias (that in retrospect now seem incredibly garish!) and start our tiny vegetable garden. I remember being scared of all the ants in the HUGE peony bed she had and her very patiently (she was a kindergarten teacher for over 40 years!) explaining to me that without the ants, the peonies wouldn’t open, perhaps that’s why peonies have always been my favorite flower.When I was a new mother, married and living in the suburbs of Chicago, I decided pretty much on a whim to open a flower shop. It was in the tiniest space, only 7 feet wide and about 20 feet long. I thought I would sit in the store, sell flowers, visit with my friends and do needlepoint in my down time. Well, the last thing I needlepointed was in about 1996! One thing led to another and within the first few years I was designing huge weddings, had expanded the first store to include antique garden follies and ornaments, had added a second store, Ocean’s Twelve had popped by and decided to use our store as a location and I was literally off to the movies. Life was grand, and then the crash of 2008 happened and affected the store so significantly, that I came to the devastating decision to close our doors. Shortly thereafter, I was asked by the Obama White House Social Secretary if I would be interested in becoming the new floral designer. For many reasons, I decided not to take the position permanently but spent 2009 at the White House designing flowers for the White House State Rooms, the Obama’s private residence, events for Heads of State and ultimately with Simon Doonan, the 2009 White House Holiday decorations. So… sometimes, when a door closes, a big “White” window opens. My flower shop opened up so many experiences and adventures I am forever grateful for, from decorating movie sets to designing flowers in the Obama White House. I know that growing anything, a garden, a business, a farm runs deep in my veins and I am never happier than in a field of flowers.
Marlston Farmgirl offers Seasonal, Monthly and Weekly subscription. We deliver the freshest, literally just picked flowers on a regular schedule to clients locally and a far. We ask our clients to commit to an entire subscription length of their choosing. For our weekly subscribers, if during one of your weeks you are traveling or away from home, Marlston Farmgirl would be honored to donate your bouquet to the NHS, a women’s shelter or a local charity. We are grateful for your desire to share the beauty of flowers with others when you are unable to enjoy your blooms.
We are committed to try and make the farm as sustainable as possible. Every day we are exploring new methods and techniques to drive this home. Next year we will install solar panels to generate any power needed in the field, we will be adding chickens, ducks and bee hives and while the farm itself is fenced to keep the greedy muntjac out, our hedgerow and the surrounding field is a haven for birds and critters. We will never use pesticides on our fields.
Each year Marlston Farmgirl will donate a portion of the years sales to a charity.
This year, we have committed to supporting The Lemon Tree Trust. The Lemon Tree Trust supports gardening initiatives in refugee and forced migrant communities to empower people from the ground up.
I encourage all of our followers to take a look at the fantastic work this organization does transforming refugee camps, one garden at a time.