The Blog - The Annual Blog for 2018 - aiming for a bit more frequency in 2019!!

Our blog is supposed to be a snapshot of the challenges facing British Flower farmers as we tackle adversity and bring British flowers to more homes than ever in 2019  (the aim anyway!!)  Wish me luck!

Whilst I don't find writing that easy to fit in, I love to take photos of what we are up to on the farm,Please do check us out on Instagram:-

https://www.instagram.com/westendflowerfarm/

What a great year!

What a great year!

My intention when designing the new website was to weekly blog and fill it with all sorts of lively content about the farm and it's weekly goings on - this was quite mad.  Two people can only do so much - my focus immedaitely went to the flowers, picking, caring and planting them.  

2018 was fabulous, we had snow and horrible cold and then sudden heat that seemed to last forever (until the school holidays of course).  Some plants suffered, some plants thrived and all in all Will and I coped with the workload and florists kept on coming. In July we began to make plans to expand the flower farm, not yet to specialise in one crop but to expand our current provision three fold.  The field was duly rotovated, divided into beds and sections; the Keder greenhouse built and many, many seedlings planted into the new field.   At the same time we also ordered 400 roses to double our rose provision. 

It's now January and I admit - expanding in this way was crazy but somehow we have planted as much as we humanly can have done and are cosying up with 1000's of delphinium babies daily.  

We hope for a honest winter and early Spring to give West End a bumper crop of tulips, ranunculus, anemones and narcissi to kick off Spring 2019 and if I can keep up the seed sowing I can see an extremely busy summer.  

For florists we plan to offer delivery service two days a week; for our customers we are planning on opening our British Flowers pop shop weekly so you can access our flowers more easily.   

If I don't attempt to write a blog again, please forgive me - the plants are calling!

Saturday 26 January 2019

How we water

For the most part of last year we focussed on infastructure in 2018 - building polytunnels, planting perennials, putting down paths - a lot of May, June and July was designated to sorting out irrigation.  Watering by hand with a hose took hours of our day and we soon realised that wasn't viable if we ever wanted to be able to pick a flower too. 

We settled on a pump system using our lake, we have a well perfectly suitated next to the flower farm but no - that was deemed not viable by the powers that be so the lake was the only option - at least a 1km away!   So we duly dug out a trench and inserted water pipe from the bottom up - it took the lovely Dan, Will and I days.  I say me, I was designated tractor driver whilst the men did the hard work and I just sat on the tractor, drove 2 metres, paused and then carried on - without stalling, reversing or going anywhere off course.  Dan, who actually is a guitarist took to the irrigation like a duck to water - he loved it!! With his new name, Dan, head of infastructure, he managed to lay 90% of the soaker pipes, taps, computer programmes etc - all in good humour.   I'm sure I saw him waving and jumping a few times - but maybe that was a bee, not his frustration at running out of an essential connection yet again! 

The rose field was connected in with ease, it's 5 metres from the lake - when we first heard those drops of water, we all jumped for joy.  A battle had been won, the war yet to be won.  

By October Dan was murmuring about leaving come winter, the ski mountains were calling, we were running out of time to use our 'head of infastructure' so Will decided he could just about fit in fitting all the irrigation for the new beds.    When he left for the ski season in November, the war was won!  We are fully irrigated - alleulia! 

 

Saturday 26 January 2019
February brings new life and a hint of Spring

February brings new life and a hint of Spring

In the last week the farm has begun to show signs of life everywhere I look.  Inside the tunnels the tulips are poking their heads up; the ranunculus are getting larger by the day - the anemones have buds about to explode - outside is where it's really quite exciting. After the winter weather since November I thought nothing would ever grow but the roses all have new growth, the shrubs are showing new leaves - it's as if they have all woken up at long last.  

This month brings new jobs for us setting up the farm, pruning the roses, building a farm shelter/loo/store and not to mention tending to all the seedlings on my ever growing list of ones to sow and planting out the 600 sweet pea plants that have waited politely in the coldframe for what feels like months. 

We are also, a little late I admit, focussing on launching the farm to the outside world so beginnning our marketing campaign, so suddenly it all looks very real!

West End will be spreading the word about it's gift subscription service, buckets for weddings and service for florists soon.  We will!

Friday 02 February 2018

TWO tunnels are up!

When we began this process of converting the fields into flower beds and discussed which tunnel to buy - I had really, really underestimated how long it would take to get from discussion to the actual thing being up and weather proof.  We have finally reached that stage - much, much later than we had hoped for but at least they both are now up and ready for the summer.  

Buying a polytunnel is not an easy decision.  Firstly it's a lot of money and secondly there are many companies out there.  It's a big world out there!  Deciding which company to purchase from turned out to be the easy part.  I am pleased they are both up - not so pleased that it's going to be two nights of 40mph winds but my finger's are tightly crossed.

Now for the fun part - we have many seedlings in the cold frame and greenhouse waiting in the wings to be popped in the tunnel to grow their socks off and become beautiful plants.  We have to wait a few weeks whilst the ground dries and then work the ground once more (we have walked a lot over it during the great build!) but then we can plant the sweet pea's, larkspur, nigella, poppies, ranunculus (a third batch) calendula and more into the tunnel and watch the beauties grow.

Everyday when I visit the other tunnel which was finished before Christmas, something else has grown a little - all this helps me to recover from the great build and my role as ladder girl.  I imagine by May I'll have completely forgotten! 

Tuesday 16 January 2018
New Website

New Website

Our new website is now live

Friday 07 July 2017