You may remember back in August that I wrote about Flowers from the Farm, the nationwide network of British cut flower growers?
Well, today, I’m delighted to feature an interview with another member of the network…Toria Britten of Flowers from the Plot.
When did you start your business and where are you based?
Flowers from the Plot was created in October 2011 and is based on the farm where I grew up in Nempnett, which is some ten miles south of Bristol, near Blagdon Lake.
To complement my interior design business of thirty years, I recently decided to take my creativity in a new direction.
I can now use colour and shape in the form of flowers and foliage to create exciting and ever-changing decorations for the home and events.
What types of flowers do you grow?
I’ve been growing annuals and perennials that offer a ‘traditional look with a twist’, which enables me to create interesting and exciting bouquets.
Daucus carota ‘Black Knight’ and Cyperus glaber are just a couple of my stars for adding a different dimension to an arrangement.
The old favourites such as Cosmos, Sweet Peas, Larkspur, Nigella, Nicotiana and the Ammis are all good stalwarts that have done well this year.
I’ve been using the perennials already in the garden of our new home…Alchemilla Mollis, Nepeta and Astrantia major. They’re all classics and I plan to grow far more next year.
Where do you sell your flowers?
This year I’ve started by selling my flowers at local farmers’ markets, such as Frome, Glastonbury, Cheddar and Nailsea, and from the gate.
As more people become aware of my flower growing, I’m getting bookings for weddings, orders for bouquets and venue decoration.
It’s wonderful to know that customers are keen to buy flowers grown in the UK without the use of chemicals, that are stylish enough to be used in contemporary or traditional ways.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2012?
The remainder of 2012 is very exciting with a couple of weddings coming up, hardy annual seeds to sow and bulb orders to sort and plant.
I’m planning to take more land into flower growing and hope to get a polytunnel in place.
Another flower grower described this year’s weather as a ‘baptism of fire’ for me. So I’m hoping a tunnel will make it rather easier!?
I’m also exploring different containers for my flowers…recycling tins and cartons by covering them with fabric or painting them to make unique and personalised displays.
What is your favourite flower?
My favourite flower…that’s such a challenging question!
It depends on my mood and what arrangements I have to create. An all-time favourite is Cerinthe Major Purpurascens. It’s such a graceful plant and is always a talking point (plus the bees love it!)
Roses are a firm favourite, particularly the old-fashioned, highly scented ones. And, I can’t believe that I am saying this…Dahlias!
I’ve grown them for the first time this year and WOW…such a beautiful range of vibrant colours and flower shapes that they earn their place in any arrangement at this time of year.
Many thanks to Toria for all her help in putting together today’s blog post. If you’d like to keep up-to-date with her news, she’s on Facebook.
(Images : Toria Britten/Flowers from the Plot)