The Old Forge
Back in 2004, my partner Jonny and I and our young daughter Milly moved from our newly refurbished, warm and lovely house in Brighton to a tiny, dilapidated bungalow near Mayfield in the Sussex countryside. Despite the lack of creature comforts we were smitten as the bungalow came with several acres of land and was perched on top of a hill with heart-stopping views over oak trees and fields. We had decided that we were going to build a house and create the garden of our dreams.
I started growing some cut flowers alongside the beans and potatoes in my new little veg plot, beginning with a couple of wigwams of sweet peas and a raised bed of dahlias. I soon realised that flowers were far more exciting than onions so grew more and more blooms and devoured every book and website I could find that could advise me on my new flower-related quest. Soon I was selling my surplus flowers at local Farmers markets, and was amazed and delighted at how people loved my country-garden bouquets. I decided to do some proper floristry training, so attended a course at Jane Packer in London, and began to expand into creating arrangements for weddings.
Fast forward to now and after years of toil and a few hurdles along the way, my little flowery adventure has exceeded all my dreams and expectations. I had to give up the farmers markets as am now wholly devoted to creating beautiful, wild and romantic designs for weddings and events. The bungalow has long gone, and the cut flower patch in the corner of the veg plot is now a field of flowers which celebrates the beauty and magic of nature and the changing seasons.
Zelie Billins x