Yorkshire flower farmer who created the bouquet presented to the Duchess of Cambridge by four-year-old Wren Chapman designed it to reflect British agriculture

The Yorkshire flower farmer who created the bouquet presented to the Duchess of Cambridge on her recent visit to a Darlington farm said she designed it to reflect British agriculture.

Gill Hodgson from Fieldhouse Flowers, near Pocklington, said she was asked by the NFU to put together a “simply gorgeous bouquet” for the Duke and Duchess’s visit to the farm earlier this week.

Gill, who is also a founder member of Flowers from the Farm, said she chose tulips, anenomes and apple blossom all grown on the East Yorkshire farm and also included wheat “from some of the best arable fields in Britain”.

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The whole bouquet was then finished with strands of red, white and blue British wool.

The bouquet was designed to reflect British agriculture with ears of wheat and tied with British wool

“It was British agriculture summed up in a bouquet,” Gill said. “And I thoroughly enjoyed myself doing it.”

The flowers were presented to the Duchess by four-year-old Wren Chapman during the Royal couple’s visit to Manor Farm at Little Stainton near Darlington.

During their visit to the farm which has been run by the same family for 145 years, the Duke and Duchess found out more about the technology being used by Stewart Chapman and his wife Clare Wise to achieve sustainable farming.

Both took turns behind the wheel of a hi-tech tractor with Prince William likening the GPS-controlled tractor to the helicopters he flew as an air ambulance and RAF search and rescue pilot.

The Royal couple talked about sustainable farming and both drove a GPS controlled tractor.

Mr Chapman, who sat in the tractor on both journeys with the masked royals, said afterwards: “They both wanted a go and didn’t need any persuasion.

“Once they got used it, it was fine.”

The automated tractor had a route across the field pre-plotted using GPS and is designed to use less fuel by efficiently covering the ground, cutting emissions and helping the farm reach it’s goal of becoming carbon neutral.

The Cambridges also joined the farmers’ daughters Clover, nine, Penelope, seven, and Wren, four, and their lambs named Dumbledore and Heather.

Clover said afterwards: “It was very exciting, but it was also quite nerve-wracking.

“She (Kate) asked me about when my friends came over were they surprised at how well I train the lambs.”

Stewart and Clare also showed off their calving cameras, which send a text message when one of the cows is about to give birth.

Prince William joked: “Everyone has a social media problem and here you are, with cameras and text messages about the cows.”

The farm, which has been in the family for five generations, also keeps its grass long enough for nesting birds, and a nutritionist lays out how much food the livestock should be eating.

In a cow shed, the Duke and Duchess grabbed a handful of the silage and ran it through their fingers.

Speaking after the visit, Clare said: “They asked how do we know what good feed looks like and the Duke was very knowledgeable on feeding livestock and said how this year has been a nice sample and handles particularly well.”

Prince William has previously talked about his passion for farming, revealing that his children are already playing on tractors.

He will inherit the Duchy of Cornwall, which covers more than 130,000 acres across 23 counties, when his father becomes king.

The couple also chatted with seven North Yorkshire and County Durham farmers about the challenges caused by the pandemic and isolation.

William said: “Home schooling must be difficult. Home schooling and farming is another level.”

He added: “The pandemic takes away your coping mechanisms. We all have ways of getting through the days when you strip that away and at home all the time it starts to wear on people.”

Stewart and Clare said they had managed to keep the royal visit a secret from their children until breakfast time on the day itself and after the visit, Ms Wood said they had been “absolutely delighted” to host the Royal couple.

“They are very knowledgeable about farming and we had a beneficial discussion on both sides,” she said.

“We’re thrilled that they wanted to shine a light on the importance of a mixed farming system and a family farm, as we believe we’re the backbone of the industry.

“We showed them how we’re using affordable technology on farm to push our business forward, to hopefully be able to meet our net zero goals and have a really bright and optimistic future.

“We were left believing that our visitors really understand how family farms can help deliver a productive and environmentally kind future, acknowledging that the countryside looks and provides as it does because of farmers’ love for the land.

“It was wonderful to share that vision on a day we will never forget.”