As we gear up for our exciting showcase "The Flower Farmers' Big Weekend" in August, we thought we'd introduce you to more of our members and the story of how, when and why they took the plunge to become a flower farmer. This week we meet Becky Hindley of Picking Posies in North Lancashire.
Can you tell us about the spark that inspired you to become a flower farmer?
This has been a huge change of career for me. I first thought I could become a florist as I had some experience in that field. I looked on the internet and came across Flowers from ehe Farm and it grabbed be. I loved gardening and had a quiet passion for florals - the idea seemed perfect. Seasonal british flowers, what could be better? What a journey it has been and still is.
When I left drama school in London, I got a part-time job working at The Flower Van based in the porch area of the Michelin Building. Here I really learnt about the quality and variety of flowers, the colour palette, and meeting customers’ needs.
What is your background?
I trained as an actor and worked for 30 years doing mainly theatre and radio work and a bit of TV. In between acting jobs I worked in a couple of florist shops, as well as cafes and pubs, and did leaflet delivering and office work too, but the flower work was the best by far.
How and when did you get started as a flower farmer?
I started 3 years ago, growing in a friend's large garden, but now I’ve converted my garden into a cutting patch as I needed to have everything close to home. I grow small quantities. I also garden for clients, which I will stop once my business can sustain me.
Describe your business - do you consider yourself to be a flower grower, a florist or both?
I am mainly a florist who grows flowers. I will always have to buy in from other growers, but the more I learn about growing the better, though this takes time. I also forage, and I’m lucky where I live. I am totally driven by the seasons.
Where are you based? Tell us about the size and location of your flower farm
I’m based on the Lancashire/Cumbria boarder, on the foothills of the Lake District. It's an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. My village is called Warton near Carnforth and it nestles into a limestone outcrop called Warton Crag on the Morecombe Bay Estuary.
How do you sell your flowers (online, markets, farm gate etc) and to whom do you sell (public, florists, hotels etc)?
I sell my flowers in small local independent shops and over the summer in a local supermarket. I do a lot of weddings, funerals, gift bouquets and workshops. I mainly sell to the public.
What’s been the highlight of your flower-farming career so far?
It's hard to pick one. I think I have to say its the people I’ve met through this
Do you offer workshops?
I do offer workshops. I did my first ones last christmas, which were very successful. I have quite a following locally now.
What are your hopes and visions for the future of your business?
I want to be a good grower, be it a small plot. I want to carry on creating and pushing boundaries and embracing the seasons and nature. I’d love to work on collaborations with other creatives in different fields.
What aspects of being a FFTF member do you most value?
The support. The best thing I did was join Flowers from the Farm. I don't know where I’d be without them. It's quite a solitary job, so to meet up once a month and discuss failures and successes is so important. Problems and knowledge are shared, everyone is so generous.
You can find out more about Becky's business via www.pickingposies.co.uk