Rosebie and Matthew live on a farm near Winchester in Hampshire. In 1992, having exchanged sheep for children, Rosebie was looking for a challenge which would accommodate a young family and perhaps take advantage of the infrastructure and resources available on a working farm. It didn’t take long for her thoughts to settle upon growing, gardens being a poignant memory of Rosebie’s childhood and an enduring influence. An army family, they moved constantly and wherever they went, however daunting the task, Rosebie’s mother, Elspeth, created a garden. Roses and English flowers and herbs flourished in improbable locations, miniature landscapes shaped and tended, filled with scented reminders of home. Inspired by Elspeth’s ability to create something from very little Rosebie began to grow roses herself researching forgotten English varieties overlooked in favour of the new generic rose with its impressive shelf life and crisp perfection. She felt that roses should be celebrated for their natural charm and for their scent and individuality, that like snow-flakes, every rose is different, each small blemish being part of its beauty. With that in mind, and from the first few rose bushes nurtured in the family’s walled garden, Rosebie and Matthew went on to set up the Real Flower Company along with Tim and Maggie Hobbs in 1998 – real flowers with scent and infinite subtle hues, something worth growing and worth giving. To compliment their flower business and provide the perfect synergy, in 2011 Matthew and Rosebie bought Greenlines Nursery, a specialist sweet pea farm in Chichester growing around a million stems of heavily scented sweet peas and supplying amongst other companies, Waitrose. www.sweetpeasdirect.co.uk
With no formal horticultural training Rosebie has been lucky enough to learn from some of the greats, in particular the late Robert Harkness who gave her time and advice in abundance. She gives countrywide talks on rose growing which include the RHS Hampton Court Rose Festival.
Here and Now
Rosebie now devotes much of her time to horticulture at their Hinton Ampner farm, constantly trialling new varieties to expand her collection of roses, flowers and other foliages. She gets great pleasure from her tours and workshops and loves sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm whilst walking visitors through the Paddock and teaching them the joys of growing.
When asked she says, “We aim to bring the aesthetic into people’s lives through the beauty of what we grow. The average readily available bouquet, scentless and bland, is a long way from what nature intended. Recall the magic of your grandmother’s garden with its myriad colours and scents and let us restore your faith in how flowers should be. Whether you are buying plants or joining a tour we want to make your day a happy one, to enchant you with our flowers and give you an uplifting and memorable experience.”Please contact us for more information