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For some members of Flowers From The Farm, the pathway to the flower field seems almost pre-destined, beginning with muddy childhood footsteps through allotments, farms, and family greenhouses. Green blood flows through their veins.

For me, discovering the wonder of growing and sharing flowers came later – after the love for my role as an NHS clinician dulled in the face of mounting bureaucracy; after the door to parenthood closed; and after I was left without an obvious outlet for the care and love I’d been saving up for my kids – the children, including our baby Clem, who my husband and I never got to meet.

Grief has turned out to be both the darkest and the most energising force in my life. It led me to Gateway Women – an organisation set up to support those of us coming to terms with childlessness – and in turn to meeting my dear friend Lizzie. Together with Dunc and Dion, our other halves, and with help from a host of other amazing people, we set up Clem’s Garden CIC in 2017.

In our early days, we were lucky enough to be sign-posted to Flowers From The Farm by a florist friend, and the idea that flowers could be the focus for a community social enterprise began to seem possible.  As the practicalities and challenges sharpened into focus, we sought to solve them with the help of other British flower growers.

Four growing seasons later (no, I no longer talk in terms of years!) and here we are: Clem’s Garden has become established as an entirely volunteer-run social enterprise. I have a brilliant team of supportive colleagues, many of whom are also childless, and know that they can find a space where their skills and nurturing can be valued, and their experiences understood.

We proudly grow beautiful, seasonal, chemical-free flowers together, offering a more sustainable alternative to imported blooms; we’ve built a loyal local customer base; and we’re delivering on a social mission that is close to our hearts. It goes something like this:

We believe that flowers can bring people together. When people buy flowers for other people, it’s usually to remind them that they care. We’d like to encourage more of that…people reaching out to other people – not just families, but neighbours and friends too.

Our Kindness Fund, built on donations and profits from our spring tulip sales, allows us to make free jars of our flowers available to people in our local community who want to reach out to neighbours and remind them that they’re being kept in mind (over 550 jars went out last year).  All other profits are donated to support grassroots community projects in the local area.

Smiles on the faces of the Clem's Garden team

Flowers bring us together

Smiles on the faces of a team that can share their troubles as well as their successes. Building a support network is at the heart of Clem’s Garden, creating an environment where colleagues can feel safe, seen and understood.

Without Flowers From The Farm, and its work promoting the benefits of local, seasonal flowers, I doubt that Clem’s Garden would have developed in quite the way it has. I must confess, this venture is pretty much all-consuming, but I’m so grateful to have found a new meaning in my life through our flowers, our friendships, and a deeper relationship with nature and the seasons.

I hope Clem would feel proud of the legacy (s)he has left.

www.clemsgarden.co.uk