10 years ago this week we had just taken on 'The Paddock' at Broad farm in Hellingly.... a sheltered spot on an arable farm, previously grazed by horses (and many years ago by cows!) Our field was just a grassy space with a tap but we were so excited!. Full of enthusiasm we set to work sowing seeds on our windowsills at home. Annuals such as Calendula, Ammi, Salvia, Cerinthe and Cornflowers that were fast growing, productive and sturdy! Meanwhile at the field, we marked out our first area and had it ploughed. The soil was amazing! We put up rabbit netting, marked out our square into beds, and once the seedlings were big enough we planted them out. We were off!
The first season we sold our flowers bunched up at farmers' markets and through local farm shops. It was a great way to test the market and see what worked, which flowers looked good together, how long they lasted etc.
In our second year we were thrilled to be offered a polytunnel frame, and we roped in family to get it assembled and skinned. It made a huge difference to our growing capabilities and it also provided cover to dash into when it rained! We found a corner to store our buckets and a few tools, and over the years it has been used to host workshops, hold surprise parties in(!) and to dry soggy waterproofs.
We continued to increase our growing area to keep pace with growing demand for our flowers until were were eventually using the whole field. Roses, Hydranges and a whole medley of other shrubs were introduced to give variety and structure to our floristry, and we added herbaceous perennials such as Alchemilla, Veronicas, Phlox and Paeonies, always chosing fabulous fragrance where possible.
We took every opportunity to practice our floristry skills with the ever changing selection of fresh stems that we cut from our field. It's been quite challenging but thoroughly rewarding, and it's nice to look back on some of the amazing events that we have provided flowers for.
Weddings came our way quite early in our journey and they soon became our main focus, couples loving our natural and wild look. At the start we worked either in the polytunnel or in Kate's garage if it was too hot in there. But as we got busier we decided to add a portacabin to our field and kitted it out with work surfaces and storage, the perfect workspace for floristry. We absolutely love Weddings. Each one is totally individual and unique, with it's very own selection of flowers. This creates it's own challenges, but we wouldn't have it any other way.
Last year we took on a whole new challenge - the creation of a great new growing area on a wonderful plot of land bought by Kate and her husband Robbie.
Over the months we have been working hard on our new project, and we are happy to say that it is taking shape rather well!