I have always been a florist ever since doing my school work experience placement in a local shop. After training in floristry at college I worked in several different flower shops and a large garden centre before becoming a lecturer in higher education floral design.
In 2006 I had my first child. I was lucky in that my college had nursery places available, but the twice daily hour long journey turned into a nightmare with a screaming baby in the back of the car. After a year of this I’d had enough, so in 2007 I decided to set up on my own as a freelance florist whilst still working part time at the college. I decided to concentrate on working with brides creating wedding flowers from home but my problem was finding a reliable wholesaler at the time.
I was really struggling to find somebody who would provide excellent flowers in the correct colours and varieties that I needed and had briefly considered growing some of my own. However, I hadn’t really given it any serious thought until I met Gill Hodgson in 2011. Gill was just in the process of setting up Flowers From The Farm and she really inspired me that this was the direction I needed to take with my business.
2012 was my first proper growing season: it was a long wet summer but I had flowers and I decided that if this new venture could work in one of the wettest summers that we’d be OK! I had no previous experience of growing flowers and I don’t think I could have got off the flying start I was lucky enough to pull off without the wealth of advice from other FFTF members with horticultural backgrounds, or without the help of my husband, Drew.
As Flowers from the Farm grew, Gill found it was getting too big for her to manage on her own, so she asked people to volunteer as regional coordinators and I took on the role for the north west region. It was great to meet with like-minded people in the local vicinity and we still today have many of those original members here in the north west.
As my little boy also grew, I began to take him to toddler groups and that’s where I met the fantastic Alison Matthews. Alison had never trained as a florist but had a love for flowers and asked me one day if she could help with a wedding. That was the start of our partnership and Alison and myself still run The Flower Farm from a log cabin in the garden of my home on the family farm in Lancashire. We grow about an acre of homegrown flowers and until recently our business mainly concentrated on weddings. However, with the advent of Covid we have diversified into bouquets and funeral work which we both are thoroughly enjoying, and we’re thinking that maybe we will continue with this more diverse business model in future.
We love the scents, shapes and natural flow of British flowers which help to make our offerings different from the other florist shops in the area. We do still buy imported flowers, and have now found some amazing wholesalers, but British will always be our first choice.