I hope you had a lovely weekend…
Today, I’m delighted to feature another member of the nationwide network of British cut flower growers, Flowers from the Farm.
And it’s the turn of Nicola Rotton of Bloom and Blossom.
When did you start your business and where are you based?
I’m based in Cambridge. 2012 was my first year in business and goodness, what a year to start! The vast quantities of rain and seemingly endless cold were quite a challenge.
Notwithstanding, all the rain this past year was adored by the Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, only in its first year but flowering away most happily.
What type of flowers do you grow?
I’m growing a range of shrubs, perennials, annuals and grasses.
My aim is to grow a mix of the wafty ephemeral as well as the stalwart beauties that can be relied on to produce, whatever the weather.
Where do you sell your flowers?
Customers can either come to me or I will deliver direct to them. Bunches for birthdays and other presents have been popular. I also provide flowers for larger occasions, such as birthday parties and weddings.
I’m developing a regular box scheme (the same idea as a veg box) using a combination of whatever flowers work together that week. I charge a variety of prices which customers can choose from, and will deliver weekly, twice monthly or monthly.
My carbon footprint is low as not only are my flowers grown locally but delivery is by cycle and attached trailer. Cambridge is heavenly flat, and traffic can be heavy, so this is by far the best way of getting around.
What are your plans for 2013?
The winter has been a great time to sit in front of the fire and reflect upon the year…what has grown well, what was not as productive as I had hoped, what customers have particularly liked and what reflections they have made to me.
I enjoy every part of the process from sowing and growing through to making a beautiful bunch of flowers. My aim this year is to do more of this by developing and expanding the amount that I have to offer.
As I write, at the start of season, the whirl of soil preparation and sowing is about to begin. Then, as the first bulbs start to break through, I’m in happy expectation of all the wonders to come.
What is your favourite flower?
My favourite flower is always the one that I am working with at the moment.
So, at the time of writing this piece, the sweet smelling and delicately flowered Lonicera fragrantissima is gently scenting my path down the garden. Bring a little into the house and it brightens, in every way, the short January days.
But, at the end of last season, my favourites might have been a combination of sunflowers (Helianthus ‘Valentine’) some rather fine Acidanthera Biocolour Murielae and the last of the Godetia. Two gorgeous sculptural plants and an old trouper reliably offering flower after flower.
Quite often when I am taking a breather from weeding or cutting, I look around me at all the things that are growing, and marvel at the natural juxtaposition of flowers in the garden and indeed in the wild.
A real inspiration when I’m thinking about how I’m going to put this week’s flowers together.
Many thanks to Nicola. If you’re like to keep up-to-date with her news, she has a blog.
What a wonderful idea to set up a regular box scheme, similar to a veg box?
(Images : Nicola Rotton)