On 13th march 2019 a packed hall of Grayshott Gardeners were treated to a fascinating talk on flower farming by Claire Brown of Plantpassion.
With her experience of working and designing flower borders for other people Claire realised there was a need for beautiful British cut flowers rather than the standard blooms created just for the mass market.
Hill Top Farm was set up in 2013 and with the help of social media her business has grown more successful with each passing year.
Claire went on to explain that historically the farming of flowers in England was a thriving business. A place in Clandon grew cornflowers as its cash crop to be used as buttonholes by discerning Victorian gentlemen.
Flower farming declined in the 1970’s due to high fuel costs and Dutch growers who, because they were subsidised, could produce cheaper blooms.
Now, however, because of a more discerning market the business in the UK is making a comeback. Florists want different and more interesting blooms and don’t want to buy in huge quantities.
Claire also has local customers for whom she provides “Buckets” – that is a selection of flowers that because of their colour and shape all go together well making it easy, even for the amateur flower arranger, to make fantastic compositions.
Weddings and events are also catered for on an individual basis.
Claire gave us lots of tips and information –
- Mix nice smelling herbs such as Apple Mint with your arrangements.
- Pick flowers early in the morning for longer lasting blooms
- Don’t forget about Winter foliage and seed heads
Interesting facts about supermarket flowers –
- Roses don’t usually have any scent because the ones that smell nice don’t last as long.
- The rose buds that never open but just eventually die have been dipped in Silver Nitrate to extend their shelf last
- Super markets only want flowers that last at least 7 days
- The daffodils we buy in the supermarkets are usually by products of the bulb growers who are, actually, not really interested in the flowers.
At the end of a fascinating evening Claire answered questions from the floor, once again showing her wealth of expertise and knowledge.