In February 2020 before COVID grounded us all I did a flower farming workshop at Common Farm Flowers in Somerset. Wow, what a day I had. Georgie Newbury was full of infectious enthusiasm and wonderful knowledge that she was so willing to share. On the journey home my mind was buzzing with possibilities whilst also being full of doubt about whether I could ever manage to look after our existing mixed farm and two young children and get a flower business up and running at the same time.
As the world went into lockdown I was busy planting my first seeds of a new enterprise. I grew things I knew like sweet peas but also experimented with things I had never grown before like dahlias.
Having been an interior designer before having children I was fascinated by colour, texture and form so love putting flower combinations together. Lockdown was the perfect time to start in many ways as it allowed me time to experiment. I was absorbing information at every turn reading, watching masses of Instagram clips and Youtube videos. I have never worked in an industry where people are so willing to share their knowledge – flower farmers don’t seem to see each other as competition but as fellow growers to be encouraged and embraced.
Having persuaded my husband that I needed a little bit of the field closest to the house, we set to building flower beds and bought a polytunnel. The instructions made it look relatively simple to construct. It was not! My husband is convinced that constructing a polytunnel without falling out with your other half should be included in marriage preparation…!
Over the winter months I was busy planning and also enrolled in The Business of Selling Flowers course online. I learnt such a lot in a short time found the course Facebook group to be incredibly supportive: people regularly ask questions and share information and nothing is too silly or basic.
Spring 2021 arrived and seed planting started in earnest. When finally the poor weather looked like it was improving I took the plunge and planted some things out, only for the 120 stocks that I had nurtured from seed to die after heavy rain and wind. This disaster knocked my confidence but the sun did eventually arrive and things have now started to grow.
I have been making up Friday Flowers and selling them in our local village community shop and selling gift bouquets as well. Locals have been incredibly supportive and only yesterday a lady said to me
“Your gorgeous flowers are still going strong after 10 days.”
All these things would not be possible without the support of my husband and two girls and our wider family all of whom are a huge help.
To anyone considering growing flowers as a business, take the plunge. It will be an amazing rollercoaster but worth it all.