What do flower farmers do in Winter?

If we had a £1 for every person who said to us “there’s not much to do for you at the minute is there?” then we would be able to buy ourselves a very impressive polytunnel – or two!

Winter may not be a favourable time for flower growing but there’s still plenty to do – planning, website updating and reflecting are just a few of the things that have kept us busy over the past few months.

This winter we made a conscious decision not to offer Christmas wreaths or Christmas foliage to give ourselves a bit of break after an incredibly busy year juggling the day job and a new business that literally took on a life of its own.  We can honestly say there has been no let-up; this really is an obsession and we’re not complaining!

October was all about expansion and tax returns. Once the frosts started to come and we said a sad goodbye to the last of the flowers and we began clearing used beds, digging over new ones and moving some self-sown seedlings (always a bonus!). Not to mention planting new perennials, installing rabbit fencing, mulching, shed-organising, potting on hardy annual seedlings sown in September and creating Christmas wish lists which largely consisted of horticultural books, secateurs and tool belts!

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Having planted out the hardy annuals in early November we then started to divide our time between completing the bed preparation (which involves mulching and covering to protect the soil structure over winter) and the many, many administration tasks which come with running a small business.  We spent a day in Newark learning about Social Media marketing from the experts themselves, Google – we just need to put it into practice now! And hours have been spent on our planting plan so that we know that we can fit in the thousands of plants we will be growing (and where to find them!); even after all of this we still made time to create a dedicated rose bed and separate shrubbery outside of the main plot – we may have got a bit carried away when selecting and ordering our roses! That rose bed is going to be spectacular.

Being indoors also allowed us some time to reflect on the past year, to discuss and agree our focus for 2019 and create some targets for the coming year.  At heart we are growers; we’re not florists and wouldn’t claim to be, we enjoy arranging flowers and have learnt the techniques from qualified florists but for both of us the joy is in the sowing, tending and growing (perusing seed catalogues may be part of the attraction too!).  This knowledge, coupled with business intelligence from our first year, has enabled us to refine our product offering and be much more focussed in our business development and our marketing plan for our second year.

In turn this has made updating our website straight-forward and enjoyable and we invite you to take a look around. We’ve added new pages to make it clearer what we offer and have added more detail and photographs.

One of our aims for this year will be improving our photography skills and taking lots more photos to create a gallery on the website as a record of our flower farming year, and to showcase our beautiful flowers.  

So now that the days are starting to get longer we’ve got the seed box out and we’re getting ready to sow the next batch for planting out in early Spring, and we are so looking forward to spending more time outside, where we belong.  First stop: sweet pea planting in the polytunnel – but only once we’ve evicted the mice (humanely of course).