Beginnings. A big hello from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire! I’m Vicky from @clemsgarden and I’ll be sharing a taste of life behind the scenes at our #britishflowers #socialenterprise this week. It’s just over 2 years since we began to dare to think we could actually turn the seed of our idea for Clem’s Garden into a reality. What we had at that time was an impressively overgrown plot of land which had previously been used to host a day centre horticultural therapy project. Two good polytunnel frames were intact - although the plastic had been shredded by vandals and wild saplings which had grown so vigorously, they’d cleared the roof. We had outdoor lavs and a car park; and somewhere underneath the rampant sedge and brambles there were paths. Our idea? What if we could create a place where over-50s who don’t have the role of mum or dad or nana or granddad could find alternative opportunities to use their nurturing, skills and experience? What if people could grow friendships in the process? What if we could all work together to promote kindness and community-mindedness in our local area? What if we could do all of this by growing and selling beautiful flowers?...... And so Clem’s Garden began.
Some goodbye flowers from me @wysallflowerfarm to brighten up your Sunday. Seems ages away at the moment but I bet you, we will blink and suddenly we will be in August picking bucket loads of these beauties and hoping for just the right amount of rain and sun (as a side note, I now really understand why I was never allowed to talk during the weather forecast when my Dad was farming!) It's been lovely chatting with you this week. Thank you so much for all your comments and please come and join me on my insta page to see just how much tea I can drink in a season. Or if you are local, take a look at www.wysallflowerfarm.com to learn more about how to buy my fabulous British flowers for your florist studio, event or home. And so now I pass the baton on to Vicky @clemsgarden, a fabulous social enterprise in Huddersfield.
It's far too early to be sowing most seeds, but as the day slowly lengthens I can almost feel my fingers itch to get some seeds into some soil. Luckily our good friends snapdragons (and sweet peas if you are that way inclined) come to our rescue. They benefit from a head start and so getting mine sown is today's task. Continuing the theme of my geekiness, this picture of different seeds makes me very happy. I particularly like the scabiosa seeds and always make me think of hermit crabs! Please tell me some of you lovely lot also have a favourite seed..... #flowersfromthefarm #flowerfarm #britishflowers #britishgrownflowers #flowersforflorists #flowersforweddings #seed #seasonaljobs #jobsforjanuary #embracetheseasons #snapdragons9
As fellow flower lovers, I am sure you will all be very aware of the temptations of trying new varieties and species and I am just as partial. Last year I grew ranunculus for the first time and I was like a kid in a sweet shop when the flowered. They do take a little extra care to grow but I loved them, my florists loved them and my retail customers loved them; definitely worth the extra manure! This year I'm trying some delicious looking violas (because I do love a bandwagon to jump on) and some new grasses too. I'd be really interested to hear if there is anything you are particularly excited about growing or using this year. #ranunuclus #spring #britishgrownflowers #britishflowers #flowerfarm #flowersfromthefarm #embracetheseasons
I promise I've been asked to post the following 🙈 So the info on the finalists has been sent out to the judges for @flowersfromthefarm 'Best New Member Award'. It's going to be a tough decision. Good luck to @wolveslaneflowercompany, @justdahlias, @chambersfarmflowers and @wysallflowerfarm. See you at #Lincoln19 to find out who's won! #awardwinning #flowerfarmer #britishgrownflowers
I am a massive supporter of flowers from the farm (obv!). Apart from the excellent work they do to promote British Flowers, this picture shows why. I am growing ranunculus and anemones bought through a group buy (where we buy collectively to meet a minimum order amount) to obtain varieties I couldn't get elsewhere. And I'm growing them in crates under a caterpillar tunnel, both processes I learnt and improved through the wonderfully generous information sharing network we have. And if you want to get a little bit of this for yourself, we have our annual growers and florists conference coming up in Lincoln on the 4th February for which we have a few general tickets available at £80. We have guest speakers from Hardy-eucalyptus.com, @smithandmunson, Andrew Robinson Dahlias, @bemoresocial_ as well as a tablescaping floristry demonstration by @thomasbloomflowers and drop in talks on growing roses, growing under cover and irrigation. And if that wasn't enough we will have trade stands including Niwake, moles seeds, @lethamplants @country_cut_flowers wreaths @thebritishflowersbook @camomilecornflowers silk ribbons and the @ceramic_botanist. I may be taking home some new snips amongst other items! If you are tempted, the link for tickets is http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/flowers-from-the-farm-conference-2019-tickets-51960354820 or see under events on our website. It would be lovely to see some of you there. #flowersfromthefarm #flowerconference #lincoln2019 #britishgrownflowers #britishflowers #flowerfarm
Thank you all so much for your lovely comments yesterday, it was a lovely welcome. Anyway, today I am off to college as I'm studying for my RHS level 2 horticulture to back up all my self taught knowledge so no farm pics today. Instead here is probably the real reason that I went into flower farming - a guilt free reason to grow way too many beautiful tulips (yeah, I know I talk a good talk about starting the business to work around the kids/farm diversification!) And just in case you were wondering, trying to cram all my homework in last night after a month off was a really good way to show my children why procrastinating on your homework may not be the *best* idea 📷 @numbertwenty27_ of my belle epoque tulips #flowersfromthefarm #britishflowers #britishgrownflowers #seasonalflowers #tulips #flowerfarm #flowersforflorists #flowersforweddings
Good morning everyone. I'm Caroline (yep, another one) but this time from @wysallflowerfarm, deep in South Nottinghamshire. I came to flower farming after a career in NHS and clinical trials management when I was looking for a way to diversify our farm and give me a job which worked well with the kids. And just a heads up right now, picking a business which is very busy over the Easter, summer and May holidays has a major flaw when it comes to working around children..... Anyway, if you swipe 👉, you can see what I've done to the field over the last year (I've just come to the end of my first year growing to sell) and see what it looks like at the moment. I grew on about 1/4 acre last year and I'm expanding to about 1/3 this year, mostly selling to amazing florists but also to local customers for their homes. So I'm looking forward to sharing a little more about what I'm up to this week in chilly January (hint, there will be a lot of tea involved) and answering any questions you have about this wonderful British flowers industry #flowersfromthefarm #flowerfarm #britishflowers #britishgrownflowers #flowersforflorists #flowersforweddings #supportbritishfarming #embracetheseasons
My last job of the weekend was to plant out the last of my tulip bulbs. I got the bulk of them in the ground in November, but didn't manage to get my pots planted up. It is quite late, but hopefully they will manage to flower this spring. Thanks for joining and chatting with me this week! I will hand you over to the very lovely Caroline Onions from @wysallflowerfarm. Goodbye for now from @thehiddengateblooms! #britishgrown #grownnowflown #britishgrower #flowersfromthefarm #underthefloralspell
We are having such a mild winter so far - especially when you compare it to the big freeze that we had last year. The plants appear to be a bit confused and I have anemones trying to bloom already and I saw snowdrops out yesterday! I'm sure it will get colder next month, so for now I will try to enjoy this mild weather and prepare some more no-dig beds for spring planting. @thehiddengateblooms #britishflowers #britishgrown #underthefloralspell #flowersfromthefarm #britishgrower
I don't need any more dahlias. I really have enough - easily over 100. Then how did I manage to just buy another 20?! Dahlias are a flower that I just can't resist. There are so many beautiful varieties and an amazing range of colours and shapes. They are also so satisfying to take cuttings from, and that is exactly what I plan on doing with the tubers that I just ordered. I'll be running some grow your own cut flower workshops in March and May and will prepare these tubers for students to take lots of lovely cuttings from to bring home and grow on into bountiful plants for autumn. If you fancy joining my workshop the link is in my bio @thehiddengateblooms #flowersfromthefarm #flowersgivemepower #flowersofinstagram #dahliapassion #underthefloralspell
Hello from Caroline @thehiddengateblooms in Buckinghamshire. This time of the year I'm always itching to get sowing again, but for most plants this isn't the right time. If you were to get most annuals growing in January, they would end up weak and leggy by the time you could plant them out. One happy exception is sweet peas, so today I am going to get busy sowing my first round of sweet peas. Over the Christmas break I prepared my planting area by digging a deep trench and filling it with the well rotted contents of my hotbin. It wasn't the nicest job in the world, but these hungry sweet peas will love it! I never direct sow seeds, and for sweet peas I have special root training growing modules. These help them to get good long roots with minimum disturbance when I plant them out in a couple of months. I will pinch out the top of each plant when they have about 3 or 4 leaves and by June I should have lovely strong plants, smothered in gorgeous, long-stemmed flowers.
It’s the end of the week for @cloudberryflowers on Instagram takeover. I have loved chatting to you all through my posts and thank you for sharing all your great suggestions on things we have talked about like ‘no dig’ and foliage! I thought I would end my week with where my flower journey has taken me. When I started growing flowers in 2015 I had no floristry experience and no thought of ever doing wedding flowers. A flyer through a door advertising my jam jar posies resulted in a request to do flowers for a wedding. After taking that leap of faith and practice, practice, practice! weddings are now the main part of @cloudberryflowers I could never have achieved what I have without the encouragement and support from Flowers from the Farm and fellow growers. It has been amazing! Flower growing for me has been an incredible journey with so many highlights. There have been quite a few stressful rabbit eating and bad weather moments too! But I have loved learning everyday and best of all I get to work in a job which is outdoors, nurturing small seeds into amazing flowers which make people happy and I can do all that at the same time as being a mum at home to my 3 girls. I couldn’t ask for more! #flowersfromthefarm #britishflowers #scottishflowers #weddingflowers #grownnotflown #loveflowers #naturalflowers #flowerfarmer #flowergrower
Foliage to go with flowers....Since I started my flower farming journey 4 years ago @cloudberryflowers growing foliage to go with my arrangements has been a bit of a challenge! I planted some pittosporum and love it but find it is very slow growing. I also planted some physocarpus but even late in the season after searing have found it can wilt. Foliage that has worked a lot for me is spiraea bridal wreath, weigela, viburnum, philadelphus and eucalyptus. Last year I grew more eucalyptus from seed and planted them out at the end of the summer and this is what they look like in the garden today. I am keeping my fingers crossed they survive the winter and get a good start putting on growth in the spring. What foliage to go with your flowers has or hasn’t worked for you? #foliage #flowerarrangements #trees #shrubs #flowersfromthefarm #flowergrowing #flowerfarmer #flowergrower #britishflowers #scottishflowers #eucalpytus #grownnotflown
The ground is frozen solid @cloudberryflowers so no outdoor jobs today . A walk round the garden showed some buds on the hellebores just peaking through under the shelter of the trees and one brave hellebore was flowering! I am going to get a cup tea and go through my seeds instead and see what I need to order for the coming months. One of my favourites from last year was annual phlox so that will be top of my list. What’s top of your seed list this year? #frozenflowerfarm #hellebores #winterflowers #seedinventory #flowerfarming #flowergrower #britishflowers #scottishflowers #flowersfromthefarm #gardensinwinter
My very first beds @cloudberryflowers were made by digging up the turf in the garden. It took a very long time, was hard work and many a night I needed a soak in a hot bath to ease a sore back! When I expanded the beds down the front of the garden we thought there must be an easier way and my husband hired a turf cutter to get the top layer off and then we dug down by hand after that. This method was still hard work and the soil was not great to grow in. It was all worth it though as I was on an exciting journey growing flowers and I thought digging was just part of the job. In November 2017 I went to the #flowersfromthefarm conference in Edinburgh and Charles Dowding came to speak about his no dig method of growing. It was a revelation to me that beds could be created without digging at all and what’s more the soil structure would be better and my flower growing could be improved. This generous sharing of knowledge from Flowers from the Farm and Charles Dowding is another reason I love our flower growing community so much. Everyone helps each other and is willing to share what they have learned along the way. I was inspired and last January started out by trying to make my own no dig beds. I marked them out with wooden stakes, laid cardboard and then built up thick layers of mushroom compost and then multi purpose compost on top. In spring 2018 they were ready to plant in. I was a bit sceptical that this would work so soon after creating the beds. I thought they would need more time for the beds to settle and the cardboard to break down underneath. I was amazed, despite the hot dry summer the beds produced the most beautiful flowers which you can see in some of today’s photographs. For me now I will always use the no dig method of creating beds. In my last photo today here I am again marking out my next new beds I am going to make this January using our own topsoil and homemade compost from the @cloudberryflowers garden #nodig #charlesdowding #nodigbeds #flowergrowing #flowerfarm #flowerfarmer #britishflowers #scottishflowers #grownnotflown #gardening #flowersfromthefarm #sharingknowledge #naturalflowers #loveflowers
Happy New Year From @cloudberryflowers What will 2019 bring? I am hoping the weather will be kinder to our flowers and to all my fellow flower growers I wish you a happy growing season full of beautiful blooms. I always find New Year an exciting time full of hope and inspiration. It’s one of the things I love about my job that although it all comes to an end in October/November each year, you have a break to catch up with yourself at Christmas and then it all starts again in January. My head is usually bursting with ideas for the garden and I still get that thrill when you see those small seedlings poking through the soil and germinating. A promise of good things to come! New Year is also a time to make resolutions and I think mine this year have to be about becoming more efficient. I am forever losing snips or not taking enough buckets with me or cutting too few flowers at a time. So I run back and forth and keep myself fit! I think I will buy some spare snips and have a home for them in one place! Do you have a New Years resolution for the garden? Yesterday I showed you what my first flower patch looked like before I started digging 4 years ago. Here are a few photographs of what the flower patch has become over time. One of the things I learned after a couple of years of mowing and edging was that although grass paths between the beds look lovely if well kept, they just took up too much time on top of the growing to keep. Last January I covered the top flower patch paths in ground cover and although not pretty it was the best decision I have made. What efficiency measures have you taken on your flower patch to help you? Have a very Happy New Years Day with your family and friends and I will be back tomorrow to talk about ‘no dig’ beds #britishflowers #scottishflowers #flowerpatch #grownnotflown #flowersfromthefarm #flowerfarmer #flowergrower #efficiency #groundcover #flowerbeds #countrygardenflowers #natural #cloudberryflowers #happynewyear
Hello! My name is Catherine and I am excited to be hosting the #FFTF Instagram account this week! I am looking forward to telling you about my flower journey and @cloudberryflowers over the next few days. I started Cloudberry Flowers back in spring 2015 with nothing more than a love of country garden flowers and a lot of enthusiasm! We had moved into a house in Peebles in the Scottish Borders with an acre of land and a blank canvas for growing. My background was as a renal dietitian in hospital and then I took a career break to be a full time mum to my 3 wee girls. Those first couple of years were a very steep learning curve but I loved it and was so glad I found Flowers From the Farm and all the wonderful people I met along the way, who also loved growing flowers. Since those early days I have fenced out the rabbits! waged war on slugs and gradually expanded my growing area. In the pictures today you can see the area where my flower patch and @cloudberryflowers started out and tomorrow I will find some pictures to show you what it has turned into. I hope you enjoy following my story this week and have a very happy Hogmanay! #scottishflowers #britishflowers #flowerfarmer #flowergrower #lovemyjob #loveflowers #locallygrownflowers #fftf #grownnotflown #cloudberryflowers
To end my FFTF feed some prettier pictures! Swipe to see them all. As I am firstly a grower here is wall of sweet peas in July. Followed by three pictures of deliveries going out to florists. Always lots of different flowers and foliage, every week sees a change in availability through the season. I am happy to help brides realise their wedding dreams and am busy practicing my floristry skills. So also showing buttonholes, an early spring hellebore arrangement and finally larger installations! You may notice a different figure in the last photo. I couldn't have achieved all my growing without some help, mostly found building and shifting things. Fingers crossed it won't just be a 1 woman band all the time in 2019! It's New Year and time to grab at new chances and plan for new adventures round the corner. I'm busy with new ideas @mcconnell.blooms and I know lots of other FFTF members have new plans to. #britishflowers #scottishflowers #grownotflown #perthshireflowers #flowerfarmersyear
First phase of the festivities now over. It's very mild here so I gave up on cleaning up the house and whisked the ranunculus from the greenhouse and out under a caterpillar tunnel. Pre soaked the last of the ranunculus and potted them up onto the heat mat to repeat the cycle! It's now just on freezing outside so tucked fleece over plants in the outside beds. A very happy @mcconnell.blooms goofing at (mostly helpful) daughter! These should flower in May and June, they make the most lovely cut flowers with good vase life. All good for a flower farmer #grownnotflown #scottishflowerfarmer #perthshiregrown #britishflowers #localcutflowers #scottishcutflowers
Hello! This is me- Anne Smith @mcconnell.blooms, near Dunkeld in Perthshire.Head torch and hat vital equipment at this time of the year! Swipe to see the plot in sun yesterday, finishing planting bulbs a couple of weeks ago and last shot of lush summer growth at the date of our first frost the end of September. The top of my growing area is grass and we have stuck with raised beds as it's builders rubble underneath. Then an area of fruit trees dropping away to a burn and boggy area ( called the wild patch). I have a green house and this year temporary cover for the roses but next on my list of necessities is a good size poly tunnel. In 2 growing seasons I have learnt so much about growing for a market, how to judge correctly when to cut for good vase life, that what I like is not always what customers like. But I have a lot more to learn and guess its continual! FFTF is a great resource for questions and a learning tool. Which reminds me to organise trip to Lincoln immediately. #scottishflowerfarmer #grownnotflown #perthshiregrown #britishflowers #supportlocal #realifefarming
A Happy Christmas to all. Festive antlers from Scotland for a seasonal feel. Not doing flowers today just throwing fleece over things and returning to the fire! All best wishes @mcconnell.blooms #flowerfarmer #scottishflowerfarmer #perthshiregrown #festiveantlers
It's Christmas week and takeover here by @mcconnell.blooms based in Perthshire! I'm Anne Smith. The first shot shows the plot as it is now, end of year 2, looking a bit tired and dark last night. But fantastic crisp frosty morning making the plants glitter and berries glow in the other shots. ''Tis the festive season so most of you will have things other than flower farming to distract you. All is quiet in the plot but lots of planning and preparation going on - mostly in my head. I am primarily a grower but I'm realising that I enjoy the arranging and faffing with flowers so my focus may shift a bit this year. I have realised that this flower farming is all about adapting to the seasons as there are always changes round the corner. #scottishflowerfarmer #perthshireflowers #grownnotflown #flowersfromthefarm #seasonalflowers #scottishflowers
The perks of playing with left overs. As well as the growing side of flower farm I do really enjoy the floristry side and creating something fun from flowers and foliage. I really need to make more time for it next year. I hope everyone has a lovely relaxing festive period. @theyorkshireflowerpatch #christmas #grownnotflown #flowersfromthefarm #britishflowers #flowerfarmer #happychristmas
The last batch of dahlia tubers are ready to be tidied up and stored for the winter. I am missing the pretty dahlia flowers (swipe across) and we didn’t seem to have them for long this year. They didn’t seem to enjoy our hot hot to start to the summer and then we got an early frost up here. I will soon be trawling the catalogues for new varieties to add for next year. @theyorkshireflowerpatch #dahlia #flowersfromthefarm #britishflowers #britishflowergrowers #grownnotflown #winterjobs #flowerfarmer #yorkshire
I am back home after a quick 24 hour trip to London and there are plenty of jobs waiting to be done. I run the farm by myself around our 2 kids and sometimes jobs don’t get done as quickly as I would like...especially this month as Christmas orders seem to have taken over. This sea of lovely ranunculus still need to be planted out. Half are going in the polytunnel and half in the field. Swipe across to see the beautiful flowers we will be getting from them in late spring. I grew them last year for the first time after getting access to the beautiful Italian ranunculus through Flowers From The Farm and I loved them so much I have loads more varieties growing this year. @theyorkshireflowerpatch #flowersfromthefarm #italianranunculus #britishflowers #grownnotflown #britishflowergrowers #notenoughhoursintheday #workingmum #theyorkshireflowerpatch #yorkshire
Hi I am Rachel from @theyorkshireflowerpatch in West Yorkshire. I started setting up my flower farm in Spring 2017 after deciding a job behind a desk wasn’t for me. I’d always loved playing with flowers and growing and wanted to set up properly. We have 5 acres of field which the flowers share with two horses (very useful for manure!) and 3 acres of woodland which is great for foliage and foraging. I currently have about an acre fenced off for growing away from deer, rabbits and horses and a large polytunnel. I started off with just a couple of beds for Summer 2017 and then expanded a bit last winter and we have just put in lots more beds again for an even bigger and better 2019. The pictures take you through the plot from when we started to now. @theyorkshireflowerpatch #flowersfromthefarm #flowerfarmer #britishflowers #britishflowergrowers #grownnotflown
Hi all! @folkloreflowers_ here for my last day on the Instagram takeover, and I wanted to talk about the other side to my business, which is creating hand-dyed ribbons using the flowers and plants from my garden, with the occasional addition of foraged ingredients from the surrounding countryside. The process of creating plant dyes really is fascinating, and sometimes a little disappointing, but never dull. The purple dye pot in the last picture gave me a dark grey colour after the silk had been thoroughly rinsed as my water is high in alkaline so wants to turn most purples a silvery colour. Great news if you want a silver, but somewhat annoying if you want a purple. Different fabrics can also react in different ways too, so there's lots and lots of trial and error involved. The colours created by this natural process, however, have an iridescence that lends them an almost living quality - the way they catch and change with the light is unmatched by synthetic dyes. Of course, you can dye clothes with natural dyes too, or any material items that could do with a little spruce. It's always best to do a small test beforehand to check the colour a dye will give you before you throw something precious into a dye bath. Sometimes the process can take days, as I leave the fabric in the pot until I'm satisfied with the end result. It can also get extremely pongy, you've been warned! It's wonderful being able to use my flowers for multiple purposes and it all harks back to what got me interested in flowers in the first place. Before I had a garden of my own, I became interested in what was growing in the hedgerows and verges. I started to learn about the many forgotten uses of our native plants and so-called weeds, and a love of plants grew from there. Many of flowers and plants parts used in natural dyes have been utilised for centuries, and the methods employed are steeped in history. It's wonderful to keep these ancient traditions alive and it's from here that I came up with the name @folkloreflowers_ It's be great fun hosting this week, now over to Rachel from @theyorkshireflowerpatch!
I must confess, I haven't sown any biennials this year, or hardy annuals for that matter, but I can still do them in the spring. I was feeling so lethargic from pregnancy symptoms this autumn that I just didn't get round to it, as well as neglecting to do any of the jobs that needed to be done out there. Since my energy has come back somewhat, I've managed to tick some important jobs off the list - namely planting tulips and digging up dahlias. But as you can see, the strawflower patch has yet to be tended to, among many other things. On the plus side, looking around the garden I can see that lots of foxgloves have self-seeded, even finding themselves a home in a forgotten flower pot! One thing that's amazed me about working with plants is how much most things just want to survive. I dug up my ranunculus corms in late spring and popped them next to some potted plants, then promptly forgot about them. A few weeks ago I remembered them and thought it worth just checking to see what state they were in. Low and behold they'd taken root in the muddy surface of the concrete path and little shoots had sprouted! Another job saved! Of course I don't recommend this lazy approach to flower growing, but it's astonishing what you can get away with sometimes. I've got self-seeded nigella and calendula growing too, though we'll see how well they do over the winter since it's likely to be a pretty brutal one. I'm looking forward to seeing what else (if anything) has self-seeded come early springtime. I've got my fingers crossed for some honesty and poppies! @folkloreflowers_ #flowersfromthefarm #britishflowers #biennials #foxgloves #flowerstagram #flowerstalking #floralinspo #flowersofinstagram #floralinspiration #underthefloralspell #flowersfromthefarm #lazyflowerfarmer #flowerfarmer #aflowerenthusiast #sowingseeds #floralfix #inspiredbyblooms #inspirewithblooms
It's @folkloreflowers_ here again for my fourth day on the takeover! So, the tulips have finally been planted! Actually there's a handful left as I ordered some more in a 50% off sale (thanks @peter_nyssen!) despite telling myself that I wouldn't. It's so difficult to resist the temptation of sampling different varieties. I'm looking forward to seeing how Copper Image looks in real life, as well as Amazing Grace. The one I really wanted to try was Blue Diamond as I'd seen some gorgeous photos of it on Instagram, but I was too late! The bulb photos here we're taken last year, as this year I planted them out in the pouring rain. It continued to rain for over a week afterwards, and my potted ones had standing water on the top. I do hope they're OK in there! As you can see, last year they were planted out in standard rows up the garden, but this year I decided to plant half in a row by the garden section of the garden, and half in clumps in my flower beds and pots near the house. We're expecting our first child at the end of April (we might be finding out the gender tomorrow too!) and I wanted the garden to be filled with a rainbow of beautiful spring colour that we can actually enjoy when our baby arrives. I really regretted planting them so far from the house last year. The tulips in the main photo are Charming Lady (I think), and they were absolute stunners! Angelique, Antraciet, Belle Epoque and Brownie were also favourites. One I found surprisingly lovely was Finola, which I got in a late sale at Homebase just to fill the end space of a row. It was almost like Angelique but a bit more pink and oh so pretty. What are your favourites? #flowersfromthefarm #britishflowers #grownnotflown #tulips #tulipspam #inspirewithblooms #inspiredbyblooms #flowerfarmer #flowerstagram #flowersofinstagram #underthefloralspell #aflowerenthusiast
I pretty much tried drying everything I grew this summer and unsurprisingly, it was generally the most popular dried flower varieties that did best. Statice, strawflowers and roses, as well as ammobium and a few other everlastings were the easiest. It may have been due to the weather, but I struggled to get my hydrangeas to look as good as they did the previous year. Other things that I sampled were zinnias, cornflowers, calendula and dahlias. The cornflowers I found tended to be too delicate and fall apart eventually despite picking them at what I'd read was the right stage. Have any of you had better results? Needless to say, I have about 12 litres of dried cornflower petals in storage now! I had similar results with calendula, but dahlias seemed to do quite well so long as they were picked when their heads were quite sturdy on the stems. The smaller varieties did better too, but the larger ones also worked. Dahlias are one of those varieties that tend to reabsorb moisture, so don't last as well as the likes of good old statice. Have you successfully dried any other varieties? I'm going to be making dried flower spring wreaths out of what I've got, though storage is a bit of an issue. The loft was wonderful in the summer, but it's not properly insulated and some things have reabsorbed moisture somewhat as it's become cold up there. I have got a few airing cupboards crammed with stuff, but we're expecting our first child at the end of April and the whole storage situation is going to become even more interesting! This is another reason why I've wanted to simplify things next year by focusing on a handful of varieties so it doesn't all become too much. How have some of you found combining motherhood with flower growing? Do you have any advice you could offer a slightly nervous mum-to-be? @folkloreflowers_ #britishflowers #flowersfromthefarm #driedflowers #floralinspo #floralinspiration #underthefloralspell #inspirewithblooms #inspiredbyblooms #grownnotflown #wiltshireflowers #dryflowers #floralfix #statice #strawflowers #driedroses
I wanted to talk about growing on a small scale, and I don't mean one or two acres small, I mean urban/suburban garden small. I live in a terraced house and I'm lucky that whilst my garden is narrow, it is pretty long. I was really stressing out at the beginning of my first season, worrying how I was going to fit in all the flowers I wanted to grow and I went bonkers digging up nearly the entire length of the garden. I even moved the summerhouse from down the end to the gravelled area near the house, got rid of all the decking it sat on and began shovelling up the bricks and sand that I sadly found underneath in a bid to get more rows to grow on. Nonetheless, I did actually struggle to fit everything in and some poor plants languished in pots over the summer. But that wasn't due to lack of space, it was because I'd sown way too many seeds. Did I need three rows of amaranthus? Of course I didn't! But then again, I didn't have a clear plan of how I wanted to focus my business. I was kind of covering all bases, and of course it does all depend on what your goal for your business is. Next year, I actually intend to make the plot a little more garden-like and not fill every inch with flowers to the point that I can hardly get through it all. I also know now that dried flowers and dyes are my focus, so whilst I will still grow flowers just for cutting, I won't grow so many of them. Some flowers, like dahlias and achilleas serve many purposes for me and my business, as they're good for drying and dyeing as well as cutting. Others, like sweet peas and foxgloves, one simply can't be without. @folkloreflowers_ #britishflowers #flowersfromthefarm #wiltshireflowers #grownnotflown #floralinspiration #floralinspo #inspiredbyblooms #inspirewithblooms #underthefloralspell #cuttinggarden #flowerfarmer #flowerfarmgarden #flowersofinstagram
Hi everyone, it's Rebecca from @folkloreflowers_ doing the Instagram takeover this week! My flower farming story began in early 2017, when I started digging up the middle section of my long, narrow garden with the aim of turning it into a cut flower patch. Like many of you no doubt, I was a keen gardener who'd been inspired after reading everything there was to read by Erin Benzakein from @floret. Around that time I also discovered @flowersfromthefarm and feeling even more inspired, decided to try my hand at growing flowers. My garden is roughly 150ft long by 16ft wide, and I turned a 16ft by 16ft section into a cutting patch filled with calendula, cornflowers, zinnias, sweet peas, dahlias from seed and many other lovely things. You can see how it developed in the photos and one of the pretty arrangements I made. The small patch gave me so much over that first summer, and needless to say I decided to expand. In 2018 I dug up almost all the rest of the garden into rows and invested in lots of tulips, roses, dahlias and way too many seeds. I made my trial patch slightly bigger too and filled it solely with strawflowers and statice (shown in the first photo). I wanted to focus predominantly on growing flowers for drying, as well as trying my hand at dyeing silk ribbons using the flowers and plants from my plot. The season turned out to be a lot harder than I'd expected thanks to the seemingly never-ending heat, but I still enjoyed (some of) it and hopefully learned a fair bit too. That's enough waffle for today! I'm looking forward to sharing lots more with you over the next week. #flowersfromthefarm #britishflowers #grownnotflown #wiltshireflowers #driedflowers #handdyed #silkribbon #floralinspiration #floralfix #flowersofinstagram #gardensofinstagram #gardenflowerfarm #flowerfarmer #flowerfarm #underthefloralspell #inspirewithblooms #inspiredbyblooms #cutflowers #cutflowerpatch #strawflowers
Day 7. #hollybrookflowerfarm will be going into Year 3, next April 2019 and we are busy expanding and creating new beds, giving me an opportunity to do what I love best....planting. I just like getting my hands into the earth and planting out plants that I have grown from seed, have watched over carefully in the greenhouse and then putting them into their carefully prepared soil. All with the promise that they’ll return the favour by giving me beautiful flowers. All Flower Farmers will recognise this connection with nature which, for me, gives me such a feeling of well being that is so hard to explain to non gardeners. That’s why the FFTF network is so important in my life, reading members stories, sharing tips and problems, encouraging each other, always with great humour. Thank you all for your lovely comments this week and I wish anyone who is thinking of or just starting out as a Flower Farmer the very best of luck. Rebecca Bentley is taking over tomorrow and I look forward to reading her posts next week. Oh yes, and a Very Merry Christmas to you all x
Day 6. I’d like to talk today about the relationships that I have built with my florists. It still thrills me that some of them will travel a considerable distance to collect flowers from me. Sometimes they get held up and they know I’ll make myself available for them to pick up later in the day, or I’ll make sure I’m there early in the morning if necessary. They all, of course, have different kinds of shops, have different personalities but they they all have one thing in common and that is that they love working with British Flowers and they go to considerable trouble and distance to make sure they have them for their customers. Very often they will send a photo showing how my flowers have been created into a beautiful Bride’s bouquet. So, so rewarding. I recently collaborated with one of my florists and shared a market stall at the Bakewell Christmas Market, and she taught me how to make beautiful Christmas Wreaths, a new skill that I can take forward. I often wander round my plot and see a particular flower that one of them will love. Sometimes they can be in a hurry and need to pick up and dash off. Sometimes they will stop and chat for a few minutes. I have great respect for their skill and creativity, and so happy that they have embraced British Flowers.
Day 5. Going into the 2nd year of Flower Farming in April 2018 I felt so optimistic, Spring is a season of promise, the year ahead beckoned, all it needed to make the preparation of overwintered seeds, plants etc was to have some nice weather to bring them all on. What could go wrong? #beastfromtheeast followed by one of the hottest years on record!!! Challenging to say the least, the weather this year has not been kind to Flower Farmers, well not me anyway. I had huge watering shortages, seedlings were being burned to a crisp and the heat completely sapped my energy, forcing me to work the farm in the very early hours of the morning. That meant getting up at 5am. I’m not an early bird, I admit I found it hard but I’d invested so much time and money into the Flower Farm, I just gritted my teeth and kept going. I had Florists wanting my flowers and I needed to start making money. Eventually, the hot weather passed, I was receiving more requests from florists to come and visit the farm to see what I grow and I have 2 weddings booked for 2019. I’m pleased to say my 2nd year finished in profit.
Day 4. As my first flower season came to an end in October 2017, I reflected back on the previous first months of #hollybrookflowerfarm . As well as the huge amount of physical hard work involved, there was also the start up expenses required in order to purchase seeds, bulbs, plants along with a new greenhouse, rabbit proof fencing.....I could go on. My first year came in at a £740 loss. It didn’t deter me though, I had started to build up contacts and I was now being approached by florists who recognised that British flowers are on the rise and their customers are starting to ask for them. All encouraging signs that I could go forward into 2018 with a positive outlook. During the winter months I used the quiet time to create my website and had business cards printed. I was greatly looking forward to my second year of Flower Farming.
Day 3. When my very first flowers bloomed, I rang the local florist who was happy to support a new local grower by agreeing to buy 2 Buckets of fresh British flowers every Monday. My first customer. I’d ordered lots of Dahlia tubers in the Spring from Sarah Raven’s website so when those first flowers had gone, the tubers went in. I’d never grown them before and wasn’t sure what to expect, but when they started to grow and the flowers appeared, I was in love! Dahlias come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes and are fairly easy to grow. And my florist couldn’t get enough of them. By then I was supplying 2 more florists that I’d approached. I had knockbacks, florists who only want to buy Dutch, or “well British flowers don’t last do they? Happily the florists I was supplying understood the growing trend for the British Flower industry and were excited to work with my flowers. The following 3 months we extended the plot by another 6 raised beds. I had more flowers but not enough florists or customers. It was good that I could produce masses of beautiful flowers and foliage but if nobody knew about them, how could I sell them? So when I saw that our FFTF regional coordinator Linda Clark from #thespotteddogflowerco was holding a ‘How to be a Flower Farmer’ course, I knew that was the next logical step to take. Linda knows her stuff, the course covered so many aspects of Flower Farming that I needed to get to grips with if I was ever going to make #hollybrookflowerfarm a going concern. I would highly recommend anyone who wants to be a Flower Farmer to look at similar courses near you to gain valuable information to take forward. The business side to a Flower Farm is as important as being handy with a spade and trowel!
So, going on from yesterday, our 1st three beds were made, filled with our own compost and some horse manure from our stables and the very first plants we put in were Sweet Peas. Followed by Hesperis white, Cornflowers, and a few foxgloves. Starting a Flower Farm can be overwhelming when you are starting from scratch, and the trick for us was to start off in carefully managed chunks and build slowly from there. It’s amazing how much you can grow in a small space. I’d been much inspired by Georgie Newbery’s book ‘The Flower Farmers Year’ which I read avidly many many times and still refer to it often. It helped me develop a strategy by following her advice and avoiding the pitfalls and mistakes that she had made. So, we had made a start. We had a dream. It was an exciting time.
Hi Everyone, I’m Margaret and with my husband Geoff, run Hollybrook Flower Farm which is located in Stretton, Derbyshire, a lovely part of the world. We have approx 50 acres which includes 4 acres of woods where the bluebells look glorious around May time. The photo shows where we started to mark out our raised beds back in March 2017 and reminds me so much of what we have since achieved. As the week goes on, I’ll post a photo each day which will show how the start of those raised beds turned into an actual Flower Farm!
Hi all, my last post this week from @delamereflowerfarm, but hope to be back next year with a progress update. It’s been a busy end of the week with our first wreath workshop of the season, wedding consultations for 2019 and a Christmas fair! Last thing for me to do is wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and exciting 2019 for #britishflowers - I hope it’s even better than 2018, Alice & girl bump x
This week, like a lot of other flower farmers, is all about preparing for the Christmas season. Our first wreath making workshop @delamereflowerfarm is on Friday evening, so I’ve been out foraging some last minute larch cones and pretty twigs from Delamere Forest. Tonight I’ll finish tying ribbons. What’s adorning your wreaths this year?
So FFTF Instagram is with @delamereflowerfarm this week. Thought I’d show you where we began and where we are nearly at 2 years on. We started with a 1/2 acre field and a large mound! And slowly, around 2 small children (*it’s amazing anything happens some days!), it is turning into a flower farm with raised beds and 2 very small polytunnels. #livingthedream? Or just completely nuts? You tell me?!
@delamereflowerfarm on Instagram takeover this week! Hi! I’m Alice, and doing this has made me realise I need more photos of me actually of in the field not just of the flowers! As a picture of me now should have a large pregnant bump in front! (Due Early Feb with our 3rd child-girl). We are at the end of our 2nd growing season @delamereflowerfarm and are still very much developing our 1/2 acre plot, but we have lots of plans for next year and have had a successful 2018 too. Looking forward to sharing my week with you here in Cheshire, Alice x
Here’s four plants still giving their best in the field in the second half of November. Choisya ternate, the Mexican Orange Blossom, is a quality reliable foliage for me and throws out small white flowers earlier in the year Salvia amistad with its near-black flowers isn’t perfectly hardy but still looks good after frosts that finished off the Dahlias. Dianthus Bubblegum is such a happy flower. Eucalyptus gunnii was grown from seed and will soon be cut for Christmas wreaths. I’m glad I found some colour and some really good plants to finish my stint with. This is my final post of the week and Sara @atflowermeadow will be taking over from me tomorrow. Thanks for your company, your likes and your comments this week. You can continue to follow my flowery journey through life ( or should that be ‘my life’s journey through flowers?’ ) over at @fieldhouseflowers. Gill H x
Today I put the Dahlias into their winter quarters. There’s no right or wrong method and everyone has their favourite way to store the tubers - some wash them; some divide them now; some wrap them in cling film - but I opt for the easy option. Mine are lifted and left to dry then packed into vegetable crates just as they are - one variety per crate. I wrap sheets of cardboard round the crates to keep some of the cold out ... and the cardboard also helps keep the crates in place during their bumpy ride to the shed. There’s 20 crates here and - fingers crossed - the tubers will stay frost-free, rot-free and rat-free until spring. #Novemberjobs #LiftingDahlias #readyforwinter
In 2017 FFTF was shortlisted for the @ruralbusinessawards and today I was in London with the difficult job of judging this year’s national winners. In the lovely surroundings of @the_farmers_club we discussed and debated the merits of all the entrants and it was next to impossible to choose. It opened my eyes to the immense range of top quality rural businesses in this country and I take my hat off to the inspirational people behind them. FFTF members are just such a breed. Individuals who have seen an opening in the market, or a need for a particular service and have followed their dreams. Today was an honour and a privilege and (knowing the work that goes into building a rural business) I only wish every entrant could have won. . #inspirationalday #inspirationalpeople #ruralbusinesses #supportruralbusinesses
Throwback to those long hot summer days and the colours that filled our fields. This was Dahlia Jomanda and she thrilled everyone who saw her. I’m in London surrounded by bricks and mortar hence the need for a colourful image from a couple of months ago. Got a busy day tomorrow so tune in again then to hear all about it. . #flowerfarmerinthecity #notmycomfortzone
She’s a generous old soul is Mother Nature. Yesterday I went looking for self-sown seedlings: those are the ones that have sprung up with no help from me .. just perfectly fresh seed falling onto the earth at the perfect time resulting in a crop of free plants. Look for them where you grew Nigella or Cornflower; Clary, Bupleurum or Orlaya like these ones. Interestingly, I find some of these really difficult to germinate with bought seed and expensive compost but do it better on their own. 🙄 Here’s my recipe for a rainy afternoon. 🌧🌧🌧 Slide a spade under a clump and carry them in triumph back to the greenhouse or potting shed to single out and pot up. Add Radio4 and a mug of tea. Ahhhhhh.
I just spent 10 minutes trying for a good pic of a particularly flighty bumble bee and failed. How do Sir Richard Attenborough’s camera crew make it look so simple? I’ll settle instead for the satisfaction that my Delphiniums have fed that bee, his friends and his relatives all year and are still providing an (albeit battered) late snack in mid-November. I should have begun my week by thanking Rosie Burgon of @scottishcutflowers for her posts through last week and particularly those stunning images of the frost on her flowers. 😻😻😻 #beefriendly #lateflowers