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Cottage Gardens: Favorite Flowers, with Grace Alexander’s Seeds

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Cottage Gardens: Favorite Flowers, with Grace Alexander’s Seeds

May 26, 2018

Behind a little row of thatched church cottages in the picture-postcard village of Corfe, Somerset lies Grace Alexander’s magical flower garden. The florist turned seed grower has transformed a third of an acre field behind her pretty cottage garden into a bucolic space where she can grow the flowers she loves and then collect their seeds. A clinical psychologist by day, Alexander’s sideline is beautifully packaged seeds. We stepped into her heavenly garden for a closer look.

Photography by Roger Bool.

A packet of Nigella Seeds is £\2.
Above: A packet of Nigella Seeds is £2.

Last year, after growing flowers for her romantic and naturalistic event flowers—and her own orchard wedding—Alexander had a eureka moment. As seeds were such a popular gift, why not present them in a way that made them a real indulgence with packaging that was just as beautiful as the bounty of flowers that would one day grow from the seeds?

 She sourced gorgeous khadi paper from India—this sustainable but beautiful material is made from recycled cotton T-shirt off-cuts—and then found a copper plate engraver who could embellish each of her seed packets with an appropriate quote from British florist Constance Spry.
Above: She sourced gorgeous khadi paper from India—this sustainable but beautiful material is made from recycled cotton T-shirt off-cuts—and then found a copper plate engraver who could embellish each of her seed packets with an appropriate quote from British florist Constance Spry.
Alexander grows flowers for bouquets.
Above: Alexander grows flowers for bouquets.
A curated Muddy Cut Flower Collection of seeds is £\15.
Above: A curated Muddy Cut Flower Collection of seeds is £15.

Alexander’s next great idea was to curate groups of seeds to create ready-to-sow cutting gardens. Muddy, as the name suggests, includes muted, dusty shades of Phlox ‘Crème Brûlée’, Nicotiana ‘Tinkerbell’, Scabiosa ‘Fata Morgana’, and Atriplex hortensis.

Summer flowers in Alexander&#8\2\17;s garden.
Above: Summer flowers in Alexander’s garden.

A Fresh collection includes white and green: light and airy Cosmos ‘Purity’, Ammi majus, Nigella ‘Miss Jekyll’, and Bells of Ireland. A Bold collection focuses on the intense shades from Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’, Daucus carota ‘Dara’, Atriplex hortensis, and opium poppies.

  There are special wildlife mixes too, and seeds for any plants that Alexander doesn’t grow herself are sourced by UK wholesalers.
Above:  There are special wildlife mixes too, and seeds for any plants that Alexander doesn’t grow herself are sourced by UK wholesalers.

For more of our favorite flowers to start from seed, see Everything You Need to Know About Cottage Gardens. For more planting and care tips, see our curated guides to Annuals 101, including Nasturtiums, Sweet Peas, and Hollyhocks. Read more:

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