Where it all began

Where it all began

It was not until my late twenties that the gardening bug bit me - my boyfriend (now husband) and I were living in a flat in London where the service company was charging extortionate amounts for upkeep of the grounds. As these were very limited, we offered to do them ourselves to reduce the service charge. There was no great enthusiasm on my part; I was a newly qualified teacher so was just pleased to save money wherever we could. It was my first trip to the local garden centre that started to get me excited about the possibilities - so many gorgeous plants in so many colours, shapes and sizes, sadly none of which were suitable for the tiny patch of land we'd agreed to tend.

When we decided to move out of London, we knew we wanted a bit of garden, but limited ourselves to what we considered manageable. We ran into some issues with the house, so couldn't really put our stamp on the interior, so instead we turned to the garden. Soon, the garden centre was a regular haunt and we added lots of plants with little regard for the old mantra "right plant, right place".

Mini digger and soil

The borders looked like a mismash of colours and shapes and lacked any structure. Over time, though, we developed more of a style and palette and I am pleased to say that now I am very proud to sit in our garden with a G&T and admire all the changes we made in those first few years of "proper" gardening.

Garden border

At this point, I still never considered having a flower business. However, when Covid hit in 2020, I reevaluated lots of aspects of my life and it was clear to me that I needed something other to keep me interested. I had been working in inner-city London schools for a number of years and had loved the dynamism and sense of purpose that this gave me. Covid, as with many people, I suspect, had left me feeling burnt out and disillusioned with education. I took a new job, but could not face commuting to London five days a week and so went part-time. In order that I did not "waste" this time, I decided to do a horticulture course, but kept on finding that, rather than reading the textbooks, I always ended up in the garden. Picking sweet peas was an irresistible distraction; their smell constantly filled my house and was so soothing amongst the stress of lockdown. This was the moment I decided that I could try to become a flower farmer.

Flower beds - no dig

The early days were exciting as I sowed seeds using soil blocks, rather than splashing out on lots of plastic trays and created no-dig beds using farmyard manure. Things were only on a small scale, but I sold what I had at a farmers' market, alongside my Mum's beef and lamb! It was lucky that I knew I enjoyed selling at farmers' markets because I had helped my parents out every month when they sold their produce, so understood the customers we would get and the type of produce they wanted (local, fresh, environmentally-sensitive).

Flowers on market stall

Happily, I have now expanded beyond my market stall, but I do still love going to farmers' markets. 

If you would like to grow your own cut flowers, consider joining my Sustainable Cut-Flower Patch Workshop.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.