All of my adult life I have grown things whether in a pot on the patio, in a community garden/allotment or in the gardens of the houses we have lived in over the years. I enjoy inspecting seed trays every day looking for new signs of life or the satisfaction of seeing new plants growing from cuttings I have taken. I love the challenge that no two years are the same the weather greatly influences what does well in the garden one year but may struggle the year after and although you can try to even out the effects by delaying when you plant things or watering more you are still at the mercy of the seasons. Gardening has always been a way to relax and escape to my own thoughts.
We moved in to our current plot in 2010 and the first thing we did was remove the two large trees (horse chestnut and willow) in the middle of the lawn so I could put in raised veggie beds. The soil is heavy clay and I spent a large part of my maternity leave digging in manure and garden compost (helpfully the previous owners has left a huge pile of lawn clippings and leaves that had rotted down over many years). The baby safely asleep in his pram in the shed! Great exercise after childbirth – I don’t remember seeing any celebrities promoting this.
The beds had to be enclosed within a very attractive chicken wire fence as we have problems with deer. As any gardener will tell you there is never enough planting space and as the years have gone on I had gradually taken over more space outside the original vegetable garden. I had always grown sweet peas and marigolds and had a collection of pot grown agapanthanthus but I began to get interested in growing other flowers. Before I knew it the flowers were taking over the vegetable beds.
We had knocked down the original bungalow on the site and built a house. We moved back into the house in the autumn of 2016 and laid the front garden down to grass but I quickly realized this was another potential area for a garden and so my husband constructed a ‘temporary’ flower bed out of packing cases. It is 13m long and just over a metre wide and yet I rapidly ran out of space. I divided the area into perennials and a cutting garden (dahilas, chyrsanthmums, cornwalls, nicotinia and amni majus to name but a few). By this stage I had the original veggie garden as well as two extra cut flowers beds round the back of the house. I was producing many more flowers than I needed and was able to supply friends, family and work colleagues with weekly bunches of flowers.
I have watched with interest the growing British flower farmer revival and began to think what if…..
Then two things happened the first and most significantly I was offered part of a field close by to establish a cut flower plot. This overcame the problem of space. In addition to this after working in the same career for many years I wanted a change and a greater degree of flexibility.