"The Flower Farmers' Big Weekend" is just three weeks away, and this week we meet Kirsten Mackay who runs Henthorn Farm Flowers based in Clitheroe, Lancashire.
Can you tell us about the spark that inspired you to become a flower farmer?
It was my daughter’s idea. She said: “I know mum, why don’t you grow flowers and do weddings with them,” and I thought, “Yes, why don’t I?”
What is your background?
I’m a nurse, and also a trained interior designer.
How and when did you get started as a flower farmer?
2018 was my first year. I have a small plot of 225 sq m, but also a lane with a hedgerow we are trying to restore and the rest of my garden with some mature shrubs and trees.
Describe your business - do you consider yourself to be a flower grower, a florist or both?
I am a grower-florist, but my first passion is floral design and I grow primarily to have gorgeous unusual flowers at hand for weddings. I’m also starting to run workshops from home.
How do you sell your flowers (online, markets, farm gate etc) and to whom do you sell (public, florists, hotels etc)?
I sell some at the garden gate and via Facebook and Instagram. I do bouquets to order, sell jam jar posies and also use my flowers for weddings and workshops.
What’s been the highlight of your flower-farming career so far?
I have a wedding coming up soon that’ll be featured in OK magazine.
What are your hopes and visions for the future of your business?
My business is driven by a love of flowers and my passion for growing and designing with flowers. I still work part-time as a nurse. At this stage I’m not sure if I want to give up nursing completely as I want to be able to only do the weddings and events that appeal to my style and aesthetic and not be motivated by having to make a living from it.
What aspects of being a FFTF member do you most value?
I love the support and friendship. It’s an amazing resource for supplies and growing knowledge and the bulk buys have been really useful to me. I enjoy the meetings and the annual conference was very educational.