A day in the life of a flower farmer - July

A day in the life of a flower farmer - July

5am - Every day is different on a flower farm. That’s why I love my life. There’s always some interesting task to complete, something new to learn. If I had to choose a favourite day it would be a 5am start in mid-summer. It sounds terrible I know, but I love the peace and quiet of that magical time when everyone else is still tucked up in bed. I drive to my flower fields with my empty buckets and cut what is needed for the next few days. I love the meditative, rhythmic task of snipping and bunching. Knowing that I’ve grown and nurtured the flowers myself makes the harvest all the more satisfying. I stop picking as soon as I feel the heat of the morning sun on the back of my neck.

A mornings haul
A mornings haul

9.30am - Back at HQ the flowers are stored in a cool dark basement where they ‘condition’, which is technical term for having a long, cold drink. I strip off the lower leaves so that only stalks are in water. This helps the flowers to stay healthy and last longer in the vase. If the flowers are destined to go to other independent florists or DIY brides I will sort them by flower variety into buckets. If they are for me to use I leave them overnight before they go onto the next stage of their lives.

11am - At my desk catching up with admin, replying to brides or sending invoices. I should also be ordering seeds in summer for biennials, which we need to get started for planting in the autumn so they’ll be flowering next spring. One of the most important things about growing flowers is orchestrating the seasons and getting ahead of what we will need next year. I spend hours with my head buried in seed catalogues, ordering bulbs and unusual plants that I think will keep us be ahead of the fashion trends.

Flowers for Ms July in our 2018 Electric Daisy Flower Farm wall calendar
Flowers for Ms July in our 2018 Electric Daisy Flower Farm wall calendar

1pm - At the moment I employ three people, part-time. We always cook a healthy vegetarian lunch and eat together. It’s an important team bonding time when we discuss what’s coming up, plan our schedule of work and just have fun together.

2pm - I often have a sneaky siesta if I got up early. Don’t tell anyone…

Bridesmaids Flower Crown
Bridesmaids Flower Crown

2.30pm - As this ‘day in the life’ is in mid-summer I will probably have a wedding to prepare for. My favourite brides are the ones who give me free reign to work my magic. Turning my flowers into arrangements is the part I love the most. When I’m making bridal bouquets and corsages, I’m in heaven. I work with Rhiannon Marshall who is also one of our gardeners. Because we have grown the flowers together, we have a sort of synergy with our product. We often listen to repeats of radio 3’s Jazz Record Requests which Rob Powell (another of our gardeners) tells me is very posh.

Buttonholes for a Summer Wedding
Buttonholes for a Summer Wedding

6pm - If we’re lucky, we’ll have made all the bouquets and cleared the studio of all the compost we’ve generated. For a morning wedding, I will have another 5am start to get everything as fresh and as amazing as possible for my bride. I’m always a little nervous handing over the bridal bouquet. There’s a lot of responsibility to deliver not just what she thought she wanted but to exceed expectations and bring joy through flowers. I am no spring chicken, so I need to look after
myself and make sure I have a nice bath and a glass of chardonnay before I’m out for the count, ready for another day of flowers.

Summer Pinks Summer blues
Summer pinks and blues
Photography by Alma Haser and Britt Willoughby Dyer

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