Read member stories
Find out more about those who have made the leap into flower farming and what it’s like.
When Gill Hodgson first set up Flowers from the Farm (FFTF) in 2011, her business Fieldhouse Flowers was member number one. She put out a press release to tell the world about the organisation and her reasons for starting it and this gained coverage in her regional newspaper, The Yorkshire Post. Before she could blink, Gill was asked by The Great Yorkshire Show if she’d exhibit there, so she took a deep breath, pretended she did stuff like this all the time and said yes with a lot more confidence than she actually felt.
The display was a triumph and the public loved it, and more importantly, so did Gill. Chatting with the visitors about the flowers, about growing and about her experience, she realised that flower show displays could be a hugely valuable platform for the fledgling FFTF. They allowed it to connect directly with the public on large regional stages, and even more importantly, to put scented British cut flowers right in the line of sight and under the noses of visitors.
As Flowers from the Farm member numbers grew, Gill encouraged local groups to collaborate to put on displays at flower shows across the country and every region’s experience echoed her own in Yorkshire. The public love our displays of beautifully natural, seasonal scented blooms. The show organisers love the enthusiasm of our FFTF teams and their interaction with visitors: making buttonholes and flower crowns, floral selfie stations and charity sniff tests. FFTF teams love the experience: just as Gill learned in the early days, working with other local growers on a large scale project, sharing ideas and arranging skills brings a huge boost to experience and confidence. The show judges seem just as keen too, as FFTF has netted bags full of gold and silver gilt medals over the last 10 years.
Our 2018 Chelsea gold medal was a triumph of logistics and determination made up of a hundred separate success stories. Appearing at the show was never going to be an effort by just a select few members but was always intended as a shared experience for all. 14,000 stems were arranged by a team of just seven members but the victory belonged to absolutely everyone.
100 members accepted the open challenge to send their flowers to Chelsea and began planning how on earth to get them there. Growers from Inverness to the Scilly Isles took their freshly picked blooms to their nearest neighbour – the trickle of buckets feeding into larger streams as more tributaries of flowers joined together to form an overnight torrent on their journey to SW3.
Right now we’re missing flower shows and can’t wait for them to return to the national stage. We want to get British cut flowers back into the spotlight, and back in front of the public who queue to donate 20p a sniff to the air ambulance service.
Hear how Gill Hodgson was inspired to start a flower growing network and her feelings about how FFTF has grown since those early days.See more
Working with other regional members on show displays is a great way to build your confidence. Watch an FFTF team at work building a show display and read more about our regional activities.See more
Marianne Mogendorf of Wolves Lane Flower Company talks about why, in the summer of 2020, it was important for members to come together to improve diversity in our membership and in the flower industry in general.See more