Day two of *INDIE WEEK* run by @justacard. The idea is that if everyone supported their local indie shopkeepers by buying just one small thing, then that would help us independents in these trying times. We've enjoyed fantastic support from our local community in our first two seasons, it means the world to us. We have a most unusual shop, a grain silo. Alternately boiling hot and freezing cold, it's the most amazing small architectural space and we simply love it. Currently full of fantastic dried flowers and sumptuous succulents, it's got us a lot of attention! We grow our flowers on an amazing site here at Blackmarsh Farm, a working dairy farm, right on the A30, just east of Sherborne, Dorset. Importantly, we share our site with another incredible independent shop, @thetoybarnsherborne, who sell the most wonderful selection of creative toys and games, specialising in outside and adventure toys. This makes a trip to Blackmarsh Farm really rather special and everyone who visits loves the combination of our two passions. Our partner Peter Hunt, creates a huge Maize Maze every summer, so we enjoy thousands of visiting families all summer long. With a cafe and an orchard full of swings, slides, go karts and trampolines, it's a brilliant day out and yet another reason to visit Sherborne, with its fantastic indie shops, our ancient Abbey and just a couple of Castles for good measure. Sherborne is a thriving, friendly town and we are immensely excited about the imminent arrival of a world class art centre @thepaddockproject, which will really put us on the map. We'll be open all December, selling our dried flowers, succulents and plumptuous Dorset Christmas Trees, which you now pre order for a 10% discount.
It's *INDIE WEEK* and @justacard are running a brilliant campaign to highlight all the amazing independent shopkeepers, makers, designers and creators that surround us. And I'm one day late... Day 'one' YOU, or in this case, US, some history... . 1. I'm Paul and I'm married to my darling Helen. @helenstickland Together and with the wonderful support of our partners, Peter and Amanda Hunt, we run Black Shed, a cut flower farm in Sherborne, Dorset. 2. Between us we have 6 children. Our lovely daughter Tabitha is 9. I have five, talented, creative and amazing sons, Arthur, Gus, Kit, Felix and Rowan. 3. We are both musicians and met when we were in a posh party band in 2001, playing to all manner of unlikely coves in all manner of unlikely venues, from Castles to the Cafe Royal... . 4. We've been together since 2007, when we unexpectedly fell into each other's arms at particularly difficult times in both our lives. We married in 2012 and live in the centre of lovely Sherborne. 5. Helen has been a lifelong bookseller, a manager for both Ottakars and Waterstones. Currently working for the excellent independent bookshop Winstones in Sherborne and the most marvellous @elementumjournal ( I know, *three* jobs!) . 6. I've never had a 'proper' job. Apart from being a boat boy on the River Wey and a brief stint in a Wimpy Bar. Since the age of 18, I've made my independent way as an artist, illustrator and author, creating a great many children's books, one or two of which are rather well known. 7. Helen is a singer, songwriter and guitarist, currently recording a second album with the band, DESIGN. I play bass, currently with the alt. groove jazz combo, GEOFFREY. 8. I'm a paper engineer, I design and make pop up books. It is this skill that I share with thousands of children, travelling all over the world, encouraging and developing their creative lives in dynamic and colourful workshops. I love working with children, especially those with special needs, it's very important to me. 9. Helen is a runner, completing a 15k charity run last weekend. I'm not. 10. I'm a passionate plantsman, always have been. I blame my mother.
Oh my! The Helichrysum have been astonishing this year. Crop after crop of these easy beauties, despite no water at all. And still green and healthy. Same goes for the Statice, which is currently trying to flower again in this very welcome November sunshine.
Scabiosa Perfecta White After giving us thousands of blooms since early spring, here they go again! Easy from seed, cuttings and division, we'll have four 8m beds rather than one next year.
Looking colourful this evening! Getting the shop ready for the arrival of the Christmas trees at the end of next week. Gosh that came quickly, better get those tulips in in the next few days.