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  • sarahnoonan12


Hello Friend

Apologies November was a hectic month, so this month you get two for the price of one with this journal entry, as I give you all the news from the world of Willow and Wild for November and December.

Wedding Season

November was an extremely exciting and an extremely busy month . If you had told me this time last year that I would be creating magical floral wedding installations I would never have believed you, but its time to start believing in magic, as November saw me create botanical delights for two weddings back to back .

Imelda came to me many months ago with a brief to create a woodland wedding . She and Momme were to get married in the beautiful setting of the stables of Belleek Castle. For those of you that don't know the Castle it is situated in majestic native woodlands dominated by towering beech trees. I wanted to adorn the Stables with flora that appeared to just have grown there, that was sympathetic to the Stables surroundings . I created a 7ft floating arch which served as a dramatic backdrop for the couples marriage ceremony. The arch was full of woodland delights, beech branches , old mans beard, lichens, teasels, grasses, seed heads, alliums and hydrangeas . The isle was lined with logs and mossy mounds supporting giant seed heads of poppies, hog weed , teasels and meadow sweet. A scattering of native woodland leaves added the final touch to this magical woodland setting.

I absolutely loved creating this big and bold wedding. It was all the things I love about flowers, natural, sustainable and most definitely wild. And in the words of the beautiful bride herself "you really managed to read my mind and create exactly what I wanted....the whole space was fantastic! "

Wedding number two was of Tommy and Anne. Their wedding took place at Cashel House set in backdrop of the dramatic Connemara landscape. The hotel transports you to another era, of days gone by. Days of silks, lace and tweeds. Days that I hoped to capture in their flowers. All of the flowers used in their wedding came from Annes mums garden. From the arch the couple got married under, the simple trailing ivy on the tables, the bouquet and button holes, they were all created from flowers and foliage gathered from her family home. Some were dried harvested in the summer as in November there are very little blooms , some were fresh evergreen foliage and autumnal branches. For me flowers are more than just a decoration. They are a symbol, a memory an expression . In their wedding flowers the memories of Annes childhood garden, and happy times with her parents lives on. We will dry her bouquet as a memory of their special day, as they create future memories together.

Workshops Galore

The winter season has been super busy with workshops. I hosted two evening workshops in the wonderful setting of The Habit Store in Castlebar. For those of you who don't visit this shop I highly recommend that you do, their sustainable ethos are inspiring! Its a beautiful shop where you can refill your jars to eliminate waste and plastic from your home. It has buckets of goodies and you will always be greeted with the warmest of smiles. I hosted a day workshop at Moneva Christmas market. A village full of community spirt it was lovely to be part of their festive celebrations. And finally it was a pleasure to return to Fiona Egans Cookery school in Longford, to host a day long wreath making workshop. Fionas cookery school is like a home from home in the best possible way. The kitchen always smells amazing and you are always welcomed with a cuppa and a freshly baked scone.

I truly love hosting workshops. It bring me great joy to share my love of flowers and pass on the skills I have learnt through my many mistakes!! Everyone always creates a beautiful wreath that reflects their personality. Its a mediative, creative and fun day out for all.

Notes From the Garden

Light bulb moment.

November was a month of bulb planting. In the cutting flower garden I planted buckets of bulbs .....a wide variety of alliums, daffodils and tulips. The daffodils will divide and spread each year however unfortunately the tulips never return with the same vigour and drama and are best replaced every year.

In the woodland I added to the existing anemones , grape hyacthanis, iris and crocus. These delicate delights are a welcome sight next spring after the dark days of winter.

The trick with bulbs is to plant them deep , AT LEAST the depth of the bulb itself. This promotes flowering.

In the vegetable garden November saw the great garlic planting . It is so lovely to plant food this time of year when the rest of the garden is hibernatin. Garlic is a rewarding crop. To plant you separate the cloves of the bulb and plant each clove to create a bulb. Hundreds of cloves of garlic have been pushed into compost rich soil. Each clove will grow over the winter , needing the slight chill of winter to spilt and create the big fat bulb of garlic that is the start of every recipe. There is still time to plant your garlic, but sooner rather than later (Don't use a bulb from the supermarket.)

Speaking if recipes this is one of my favourites for this time of year, when we need cosy carb rich meals . It's also a little festive with a rich sage butter.

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage butter


  • 400g leftover pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2.5cm cubes

  • 120g ricotta, drained

  • 50g finely grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 200g plain flour, plus extra to dust

  • 60g salted butter

  • 1 tsp oil

  • 20 sage leaves


  1. Steam the pumpkin in a colander set over a pan of simmering water or a steamer pan for 20 mins or so, until very soft and tender.

  2. mash the steamed pumpkin to a smooth purée. Line a surface with kitchen paper and spread the pumpkin purée over before patting dry to ensure you remove as much moisture as possible.

  3. In a bowl or food processor, mix the pumpkin purée, ricotta, grated Parmesan, the egg, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine, then add the flour and use a wooden spoon to mix to a soft dough, taking care not to ‘overmix’.

  4. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 4. Roll each piece into a 1.5cm wide log. Cut the log into 2cm pieces using a floured knife.

  5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Tip in half the gnocchi and cook for 1-2 mins, until they rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and cook the remaining gnocchi.

  6. Heat a good big knob of butter and the oil in a large frying pan. Add half the gnocchi and fry for 2 mins or until starting to brown. Add more butter and, once melted, add the sage leaves. Fry for 1-2 mins, until the gnocchi are golden all over and the sage is crispy. Repeat with the remaining butter, gnocchi and sage leaves.

  7. Divide between serving plates. Season with a good twist of black pepper and a generous shaving of Parmesan.

Festive Finale

Warmest of thanks to all who purchased from my Christmas shop. December has been spent in the workshop making , packing and posting each order with great love, care and attention.

A final note

A big thanks, and a big squeeze hug to each and every one of you that have supported my business this year. I still can't quite believe that I actually have my own little cottage industry that's growing each and everyday thanks to you and your support. I am very humbled.

I have big plans for next year. I hope to host work shops here on the farm, to help people learn how to grow their own food and their own flowers. So spread the word, sign up the the mailing list to be the first to know .

I suppose all that's left to say is ...


Le grá


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