Buying British from Carols Garden
It’s British Flower Week! And we’re celebrating with a guest blog from the one and only Carol Siddorn, owner of the incredible Carol’s Garden.
I have been sourcing beautiful, British blooms from Carol’s Garden for 3 or 4 years, including garden roses, sweet peas and a lot of interesting grasses and foliage. You simply canNOT beat the scent that follows a delivery from them. In what I hope will be a real treat for all budding florists and flower lovers reading this blog, Carol has kindly agreed to share the story of how Carol’s Garden came to be and ways to support the British Flower industry.
My green-fingered career started 15 years ago growing a few vegetables and a small selection of flowers, as well as creating gardens and running growing workshops. I had done some floristry training at Reaseheath College and for a florist friend, but it was when a neighbour asked me to grow flowers for her sister’s wedding that Carol’s Garden really began to flourish.
Since then we’ve grown more and more flowers, for weddings, bouquets, funerals - and now we’ve expanded to sell to florists across the North West who want to stock beautiful British blooms.
I’m so proud to be a British flower grower. The subtlety of colours and the variation of floral characters we produce is unique to British soil and the British climate. Because we are locally based, we can grow delicate, fragile and scented flowers which just don’t travel well and are rarely seen in supermarket floral displays.
Four years ago, I joined Flowers From The Farm, a collective of small flower growers and florists who predominantly use British Flowers. It was a small group at the time but has now grown to well over 500 members throughout the country. I’ve met some fantastic people, all totally committed to working together to get British flowers back into people’s homes. They helped me to believe I could actually make a living from this, which we now do.
I like to keep to an organised schedule when it comes to the running of Carol’s Garden. Monday is for sorting orders and doing administrative tasks. Tuesday is all about field work - sowing, planting, watering, weeding, staking. Wednesday is usually picking for wholesale orders - taking two of us all day. It’s hard work, counting stems, carrying buckets, keeping track of what everyone wants. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are usually taken up with a wedding - picking flowers, preparing vases, arranging and delivering. On Sundays we try to have some time off, but there’s usually a wedding to clear, or a workshop to run, or lists to write!
I work with my husband Paul (who drives the van!) and have two people who work here too, one who helps with picking flowers, and one who helps with flower arranging. It’s a small, close knit team! We work hard in all weathers, and for very long days! As we’re driven by the seasons, it’s a lot less pressured in the winter, when we can take a slightly slower pace.
My favourite British flower is usually determined by what is flowering that day but I do have a particular fondness for poppies. They’re fleeting and fragile, but so beautiful. Although I also love roses, and sweet peas…the list is endless.
The way to support British Flowers is to ask your florist to supply them! Or seek out your local small grower and buy from them. If you go to the Flowers From The Farm website, you will find lots of information about British grown flowers and a map of growers, so you can find someone local to you - or local to someone you might want to send flowers to. Check that the flowers you buy are grown in Britain, not just arranged in Britain, or packed in Britain. It’s sometimes harder for florists to source British flowers, so they need to know that it’s worth the extra effort and that consumers want to buy them.
Thank you to Carol for that amazing insight into growing British flowers. We love incorporating their beautiful blooms into our designs and they are incredibly popular for many of our weddings, especially those looking for a just-picked vibe or quintessentially English theme. But if you take one thing away, please do buy British where you can, and especially this week to show your support for the British floristry industry.
Photo credit Jane Sumner at Meadow View Studios