Garden designing is a precarious business, at least for me as a small business, so I have been looking at other streams of income to run smoothly alongside and bring in some much needed cash flow. In fact I have had multiple streams of incomes since I started designing gardens, writing, garden maintenance, selling Iris plants even seasonal stints back in retail which was my first career.
I have two plots (about 400m2) full of plants, mostly flowering plants that I use for cutting for my own home and as gifts for friends but also as a test bed for plants I don’t know and would like to put into my designs and then of course there is the National Collection of Iris. So it seems sensible to perhaps monetise this plot better and sell some of the exceptional blooms that come from it every year.
Georgie Newbury down at Common Farm in Somerset has long been an inspiration not just the gorgeous flowers she grows and sells but also her drive, creativity and enthusiasm for business. So I booked myself on a much need break away with a CFF Flower Farming course smack dab in the middle.
The Common Farm team are exactly as you would imagine, friendly, engaging and creative and I include the energetic small beastie in that too! After introducing ourselves we yomped around the Flower Farm exactly as it is in early autumn. From my side it was refreshing to see a working farm an not a show piece. I am constantly astounded by my own patches ability to provide gorgeous bunches from seemingly un-glorious looking planting beds and slightly scraggy plants. Georgie’s plot was much less un-glorious yet still not a show garden. PHEW.
The group was varied from newbies to experienced florists and Wedding flower farmers and conversation was marvelously diverse and interesting. Each bringing experiences and expertise and all contributions welcomed by Georgie as part of the discussions. I learn a good deal about running my own business as well as about flower farming!
Exciting, for me, takeaways was to grow less (no more than 15 plants or one variety at a time), grow successively (there were sweet peas still flowering here where mine ended way back in June), use fresh seed don’t reuse old seed if you don’t have to (The RHS seed scheme team reckon good germination goes to about 3 years unless of course you’re doing something special to preserve them over a long period) and in my case grow what you love, what is rare and special AND find a florist who cannot buy what I (you) grow anywhere else!
More from the Common Farm visit soon…..