The owners of two floristry businesses in Thaxted and Great Bardfield have won national awards.

Zoë Rutterford owns Chickney Hall Flowers, an artisanal cut flowers farm near Thaxted. Zoë is a farmer and an agronomist (an expert in soil management and crop production).

For her business, she was named 'Grower of the Year' at the British Florist Association's (BFA) Awards 2023.

Meanwhile The Rose Garden in Great Bardfield, an independent florists run by Stephanie Harris, was named 'retail florist of the year'.

The two businesses frequently work together, with Zoë regularly supplying flowers and foliage to Stephanie at her florists, which is just down the road.

They first met during Zoë's first season at Chickney Hall Flowers, when she approached local businesses looking to supply them with her produce.

Zoë said: "Steph was the first retail florist who invited me to supply a sample; and we have gone from there! 

"I really enjoy selecting specific flower colours and varieties to meet the diverse needs of customers like The Rose Garden Florists."

Both have been serving their communities in Great Dunmow for nearly 10 years, and were eager for each other to win in their respective categories.

Following a public vote, the winners were announced in a ceremony on Saturday, October 14.


Stephanie said: "We are both thrilled to bits and so pleased for each other.  

"These awards are judged by a panel of industry experts and it’s wonderful that we have both been recognised at this level. Not one, but two Dunmow businesses winning is fantastic.

"We would both also like to thank our teams for their hard work and our customers and suppliers for all their support."

Zoë added: "We are elated, and have an awesome local customer base to thank for their support!

"Recognition from the BFA means so much because we know the calibre of our fellow finalists.

"The award has spurred me on with energy and ideas for Chickney when I'd usually be running on empty at the end of our main growing season.

"I'm already excited about where we can go from here; and feel over the moon for The Rose Garden team."

The BFA Awards were created to highlight and celebrate the work of people in the floral industry.

The awards ceremony was hosted by Chris Price, who is from a long-established family-run floristry business in London dating back more than 100 years, and Nikki Meader - the current chair of the BFA.

Nikki said: "It’s important we all recognise each other and celebrate together in our success."