A Former Fashionista's Life as a Florist Blooms

February 13, 2015 4:23 PM

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A Former Fashionista's Life as a Florist Blooms

As Georgie Newbery welcomes guests in the fields of her small farm on a rainy winter day in Somerset, England — her Wellingtons muddied and water dripping off the rim of her soggy hat — it’s hard to imagine that she was once a regular guest at Paris fashion shows. During her glamorous previous life in the 1990s, Newbery was the assistant to Susan Train, the legendary Paris bureau chief of American Vogue, and later served as office manager for John Galliano, back when he was being courted by LVMH to take over Givenchy. Next, she moved to London where she penned three rollicking romans à clef about the fashion industry, before leaving that world for good. Today, with her press-shy English husband, Newbery runs Common Farm Flowers, a floral company that delivers cheerful bouquets and centerpieces by mail throughout Britain. They grow most of the flowers organically themselves at Common Farm, a seven-acre spread with a ramshackle house they are restoring. Newbery has also returned to her original love of writing and combined it with her third career as a florist, producing “The Flower Farmer’s Year: How to Grow Cut Flowers for Pleasure and Profit” ($30, Green Books), a richly illustrated how-to guide in which Newbery shares all that she has learned in her 10 years in the fields of southern England.

“I wanted to tell everybody how to do a business from home,” she says over a strong cup of black tea in the kitchen of Common Farm. “If you have a patch of land, you don’t need seven acres; 50 yards or less would work. You could make a little flower farm that could make you some money. If I can star...

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