The Start of the Journey
Sunday 18th August 2019
‘That sounds like extremely hard work,’ my husband said when I told him I wanted to grow flowers for a living. I was in the final year of a PhD in Computer Science and was awaiting an operation to remove both my polycystic kidneys. After the operation I would be on dialysis until I could have a kidney transplant. I let the idea drop for a while, there wasn’t any spare space in my head to think about it. I handed in my PhD thesis, 3 days before the operation, and surrendered to medical intervention to save my life. When I finally started to feel better, the flower farming idea popped back into my head. I idly searched for flower farming on Amazon, not expecting to find anything ,and Erin Benzakein book 'Cut Flower Farmer' popped up, followed by Georgie Newbery’s 'The flower Farmer’s Year'. I felt a fizz of excitement. So it could be done and here are people who have done it and will tell me how I can do it I bought both books and took them to dialysis with me, the four hours of being hooked to a machine in a sterile white room flew past. When I looked up all I could see were fields of flowers and polytunnels full of ranunculus. The smell of sweet peas filled my senses, blocking out the smell of disinfectant and dialysis fluid and I could feel the warmth of the sun on my back and a gentle breeze on my cheeks. Eight months after the operation to remove my kidneys, my wonderful husband gave me one of his kidneys. It was a second chance of life, and it was a life I knew I wanted to spend growing flowers. Two years after the kidney transplant we moved to a house in Mid Wales, with two acres of land. One acre of woodland, the other acre an overgrown garden and a compacted field with a few barren fruit trees. The field was to be my flower farm. In preparation for the move I had been propagating and collecting plants. At the end of August 2019 we left our semi-detached house, in the suburbs of Nottingham, and moved to Mid Wales. We took 385 plants and cuttings with us.
We moved in on the 28th August 2019. Our new house was a stone cottage, eleven miles from the nearest town. It couldn’t be more different from our semi-detached in Nottingham. I had plans for the allotment style vegetable garden in front of the house; it was going to be my garden. The place to grow the plants I had dreamed of growing but never had the space to grow before. There were going to be brick paths and obelisks and beautiful flowers and foliage.
The picture above shows the site for the flower farm. The buildings in the distance belong to the sheep farmer at the bottom of our drive. A lovely, friendly, supportive family, we couldn't have wished for better neighbours.
This is a picture of the same area of land but looking down towards the slope. The guy rope belongs to an electricity pylon and it's here to stay. Luckily the pylons stop there and don't march across the field.
This was the area we identified as the best place to put my long dreamed of polytunnel. It needs a lot of clearing and those huge tree trunks are going to be a problem to move.
But what a glorious view from the flower farm. I never get tired of it.
- The Start of the Journey (18th August 2019)
- The Making of a Flower Farm (14th May 2020)
- Hoglets and other Wildlife (22nd June 2020)
- Polytunnel Preparation (15th October 2020)
- Building a Polytunnel on a Slope (14th November 2020)
- Making a Dried Flower Wreath (18th December 2020)
- Sowing Sweet Peas (27th December 2020)
- Organising Seeds (2nd March 2021)
- In Love with the Lent Lily (20th March 2021)
- Tulip Exotic Emperor (25th April 2021)
- Keeping Snapdragons Straight (9th September 2021)