We Grow Colour

We Grow Colour

We discovered WE GROW COLOUR last year through instagram after Sarah shared a great picture of herself in our Dragon Fly playsuit. I had a gander at her vibrant page and wanted to delve a bit deeper into their colourful world. A few months on and here we are with some beautiful pictures of Sarah and her partner Rory in our Summer and Winter pieces at work in their very beautiful garden. All pictures taken by photographer Ariana Ruth.
It looks like such a magical place where you have moved to.. Can you tell us a bit about the house, garden where you are growing and how you came to be there?
Sarah in her cutting garden in front of their country cottage, wearing Humphries and Begg Green Skydive dress
The cottage we are now living in is actually where Rory was born and where his parents
lived for 45 years. It’s an amazing and unusual space which needs a lot of work (it’s currently got no heating except a wood burner!) and we leapt at the chance to take it on and make it our own!
We feel so lucky to be here and to be stewarding 1/3 of an acre of garden and orchard. It’s pretty wild so we are working in harmony with what’s here, giving light and space to the trees and shrubs that need it, whilst establishing forest guilds, productive veg beds and of course cut flower beds too.
1/3 of an acre isn’t massive but feels huge to us and it’s surprising how much you can fit in, so we are working on maximising the space we have for every being here kids, pollinators, birds, flower growers etc.
Flower Growers Sarah and Rory stand on their land underneath an apple tree. Rory stands on a ladder, whilst Sarah stands next to him holding a basket of apples. Sarah wears our corduroy dungarees and Rory our Green Skydive shirt

I know you moved from Bristol last year to Dorset, what were your lives like in Bristol and what did you do before We Grow Colour?
Sarah in the door way of the poly tunnel wearing a Humphries and Begg Green Skydive dress.
We loved living in Bristol and were there for many years. It’s such a vibrant, inspiring city!
Rory: Before WE GROW COLOUR I was a professional percussionist working in Bristol’s thriving music scene. I then retrained as a traditional Oak timber framer and worked building some awesome structures all over the country.
Sarah: Before WE GROW COLOUR, I worked in a number of Maker Spaces in Bristol,
enabling people to use digital technology to explore their creative projects. Flower farming is
very different to this and I relish being outside and having my hands in the soil. It’s great to
be able to use many of the skills I developed from years of working in creative environments within my growing and floristry, as there are a surprising number of crossovers.
When I think of our life in Bristol, I think of cycling everywhere, spending hours at Windmill Hill City Farm or the harbour with friends and the fantastic music scene!
Where did you meet? 
We met in sunny Bristol, 7 years before we started WE GROW COLOUR and bonded over our love of Malian music!
We never planned on starting a business together but we love it and we get our 6 year old daughter involved too, so it’s a family affair! Kids LOVE digging about in soil!
Sarah and Rory in the garden picking cornflowers. Sarah wears Humphries and Begg pink embroidered jacket and Citrus segments dungarees
Where did you learn your skills?
We both gained skills from a variety of places but neither of us have formal qualifications.
I’m a self taught veg grower having had an allotment in St. Werburghs in Bristol for several years. I believe that growing locally and organically is the one of the best ways that we can save the planet, so with that in mind I decided to do the Shift Bristol Permaculture course in 2019. Once we became serious about growing flowers I did the amazing Advanced Flower Farming Course with Cel Robertson and some really good short courses at Organic Blooms.
I might also be a rather avid viewer of Charles Dowding’s Youtube videos on No Dig Growing! (He’s my hero!)
Alice - Oh yes, I have of few of his books, he's very local to wear I grew up in Somerset.
A close up picture of Rorys hand in Humphries and Begg Green Skydive shirt holding a basket of apples
I was surrounded by really inspirational and amazing gardeners on both sides of my family but I really came to growing through a passion for herbs and wellbeing. My background is in printed textiles and surface pattern, and in 2015 I began to realise that I could fulfil my creative spirit with colourful flowers whilst simultaneously supporting my wellbeing. I find growing and working with flowers to be incredibly therapeutic and grounding.
I visited Organic Blooms for an open day and couldn’t get over the range of incredible flowers that they were growing, and for the first time realised that herbs could be used as a cut flower. The quality was entirely different to any I’d seen in a standard florist - so much more vibrant, so highly scented and perfectly matched to the seasons! The fact they were grown organically without pesticides was fundamentally important to me and I was hooked - this was what I wanted to do!
I did a short cut flowers course with the wonderful Organic Blooms team, followed by another couple of courses with Lucy from @Johnnycrowsgarden, who uses colour in the most extraordinary way. The flowers she grows are just amazing.
I’ve also done some online courses with Aesme Studio, Bloom and Burn, Siren Floral Co, and I’m about the embark on a Natural Funeral Flowers course with Tuckshop Flowers.
Sarah and Rory together laughing in a field of sunflowers
What does the Autumn bring for you in the garden..
Autumn is an interesting contrast between the feeling of everything starting to wind down, juxtaposed with frantic activity, getting everything harvested, cleared and prepared for next season.
We are surrounded by absolute beauty, gorgeous autumnal colour and bounty from our
orchard, hedgerows and nut trees. It’s really exciting planning the flowers and colour we will be growing next year.
What were the highlights of the year so far and plans for 2023 ? 
A massive highlight for us was getting the poly tunnel up. We’ve never grown in one before and it’s an awesome space to grow crops in, though we have a huge amount to learn!
A joyful and heartwarming highlight has been running the first Bristol pilot for We Are Bread And Roses, teaching a group of refugee women floristry skills. It’s been amazing to connect in with this community and to bring our flowers up from Dorset. Our plans for next year are to build on all the brilliant connections we’ve made this year and to increase our stock of Perennials, Shrubs and Roses.
Sarah of We Grow Colour sits in the window of their cottage in Humphries and Begg Citrus segments dungarees
Do you feel that the Uk grown flower industry has really become a lot more established in the last few years, what are the benefits of this and what and who has lead this?
It definitely feels like there has been a shift in public awareness about British grown flowers.
There are so many more small scale growers, even in the 3 years since we started, which is only a good thing. By choosing to buy from local growers, you are avoiding the carbon footprint associated with imported flowers, be that air miles, chemical fertilisers, dubious growing methods, plastic wrapping, and the use of heated green houses to grow flowers out off season, whilst simultaneously supporting nature. As we all know it’s imperative we take as many steps as possible to support the environment alongside small, local businesses.
Flowers From The Farm are an organisation that have had a big part to play in championing British Cut Flowers and providing a supportive space for the flower growing community.
This has also been an incredible year for inspiring and informative books from leading British Growers including Cel Robertson, Wolves Lane Flower Company, Bex Partridge and Millie Proust. 
Sarah holds a bouquet of flowers wearing a Citrus Segment Quilted Jacket
I imagine being a flower grower means you must really have to organise your year and your growing calendar. I can't imagine how much planning you must have to do to enable a steady year of blooms.
We have found that the planning is the hardest part of all this, and we still haven’t nailed it yet! But we are taking loads of notes and learning from every sowing and every season.
We aim to have fresh flowers from April to October. A considerable part of our plot is given over to colourful flowers that can be dried and used throughout the winter months. We feel this is one of the best solutions to the problem of the vast majority of flowers not growing in
the winter in the northern hemisphere.
Who manages which roles? Or do you both cover all areas?
I’m in charge of managing the plot, including infrastructure, compost making, weeding and propagation.
I manage all our social media, website, customer relations, product development, workshops and floristry. Oh and choosing the varieties of colourful flowers that we grow.
I love people so this suits me very well!
Sarah picks flowers with the cutting garden in the distance. Sarah of We Grow Colour wears Humphries and Begg pink embroidered jacket
The arrangements you put together are really bright and lively, it seems like you really have a strong pull towards colour, is this echoed in what you wear and how you style your home?
Yes - Our favourite colours are reflected in the flowers we grow, the clothes we wear and our home furnishings. Basically we love pink, yellow, orange, lilac, turquoise so everything
revolves around those! We’ve moved into a very old cottage that needs a lot of work, so we
are looking forward to putting our creative stamp on it over the next few years.
What would your favourite item of clothing be if you could wear anything?
Rory: A good hat or a good pair of boots - it’s hard to choose!
Sarah: Dungarees

Can you give us your top 5 gardens, outdoor spaces to visit
The Oudolf Field at Hauser and Wirth Bruton, Mapperton, Sculpture By The Lakes,Windmill Hill City Farm, RHS Wisely

Favourite song your listening to at the moment?
Rory: Lowdown - Boz Scaggs 
 If you can have a little listen  to this now, love this tune! 

Sarah: Love you better - Monophonics, Kelly Finnigan

Thank you so much for being part of our Portraits, it’s very exciting to get it back up and running again.

Alice x
Rory Picks flowers in the garden in his green skydive shirt.
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