The members of Broad Oak Brede and Peasmarsh flower arrangers visited Orchard Farm Flowers at Main Street, Beckley last week. This new business, set up just under two years ago, provides fresh cut flowers to personal customers, wholesalers – in fact, to anyone who would like them!
The flower arrangers (pictured) were shown around the fields full of quality blooms and greenery by the owner, Nic Hamilton, who has left the big smoke with his wife, Zoe, to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, where the only smoke to be seen is the occasional bonfire.
The property was previously under soft fruit, and the soil is clay, so Hamilton has had to redevelop and fertilise fields for the flower cutting business. Orchard Farm Flowers grows seasonal blooms and is particularly popular with what Hamilton calls “DIY brides” wanting to choose and arrange their own flowers. He has had, for example, requests for sunflowers and other more unusual blooms for wedding bouquets.
Orchard Farm has a blog, featuring pictures of different bouquets and information on different plant groups. Clary sage, for example, is actually coloured leaves – pink through purple – at the top of the plant. The entry for British Flowers Week 2017 had a Saturday bouquet which had 29 varieties in it, all freshly cut and grown here. Hand tied posies featured roses and sweet peas. Lovely! Do look.
The members heard some facts about the growth of the cut flower trade in the UK, in fact it brings in more money than the music trade, so it is a fast growing sector. Hamilton takes some of his blooms to Covent Garden, a really early start, when he cuts them the night before. This shows how much the business has grown since the first picture of a single bloom in January 2016.
The latest arrivals are the dahlias, a good three weeks earlier than usual. The pictures show how floriferous they are, with Rhiannon Oliver, who teaches the groups with her assistant Sue Sturmey, shown being given three choice dark red blooms! Wanted for a special arrangement of her own, it demonstrates the flexibility of Orchard Farm flowers.
If you want a quantity of flowers for a show, need some for a wedding, or for anything else, get in touch. Daily availability will be found on the website, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or for those who prefer the telephone, ring 07986 552 634. Nic and Zoe Hamilton will be pleased to hear from you.
Photos: Gillian Roder