I use companion planting and frogs and toads to keep on top of pests and that’s all. Every bloom is grown by me with love.
Most if not all high street flowers are grown in artificial, chemical environments - they never see soil let alone a field. My flowers give nature a home.
I grew up in the heart of London and craved green. I moved to Cambridge and grew two sets of wedding flowers in my spare time. I thought, this is pretty wonderful - I want to do this more! We moved to the fine city of Norwich in 2018 and I started farming in earnest.
In 2019 I’m providing wedding flowers to forward-thinking eco conscious brides and setting up a home delivery scheme. Norwich members will receive flowers from field to vase in less than twenty-four hours. I’ll work with other members of Flowers From the Farm to ensure diversity and quality of deliveries.
Scroll down to find out how I grow my flowers.
Here’s my Victorian walled plot just outside of Norwich. In March 2018 it has the fundamentals in place - rabbit proof fence, water trough and compost delivery.
At first everything I grew disappeared. I put out slug traps - yoghurt pots full of beer - and was dismayed when they filled up with hornets and beetles. Then I found a gigantic toad. Worrying that I’d cut off its mating route to the river, I dug her a wildlife pond. Within months the plot was hopping with frogs and toads (slug predators). Even tulips and delphiniums are now happy at the farm. Bees have moved into the derelict barn and the plot is totally alive with nature. If you build it, they will come. (Favourite Wayne’s World quote, stolen from Noah with the ark).
The City Garden
I live in the Golden Triangle area of Norwich where space is at a premium. This is where I keep a close eye on new blooms I’m trying to grow. I’ve certainly learnt a lot. One of the most important things I’ve learnt is: put the right plant in the right spot. If something isn’t happy, google it, work out why and move it. I do that with my houseplants too. I’ve also learnt not to move things too quickly! This year I thought some seedlings were weeds and dug them up. I’ve made many stupid mistakes but that’s what learning is right?
It’s harder to be a successful organic gardener in the city as the ecosystem is trickier. In 2019 I’m going to try planting fennel and dill near my roses to combat aphid attack. If anyone knows how to combat sawfly I’d love to hear it!
This is a new (Jan 2019) piece of land. As you can see it’s pretty feral. To the right of the patch is scrubland, home to many rabbits, so I’m experimenting with growing things that rabbits don’t like. If you look carefully you’ll see Cardoons.
I’m also using a few different methods to cultivate the land including a no-dig method. This is where you cover the land to stifle the weeds, which actually encourages worms and keeps the existing ecosystem in place. I’m hoping this is going to work although I’m sure that the log dock weeds and nettles will need some digging!
It’s a tricky space and I’m hoping my back holds out.