British Flowers Week is being celebrated this week across the country, and Chirnside Gallery is joining in by launching a range of locally produced flowers.
The gallery is using flowers produced at Mill Pond Flower Farm, at Foulden which was set up by Paula Baxter in 2012.
British Flowers Week is a celebration of the wealth and variety of the best of British cut flowers and foliage, initiated by New Covent Garden Flower Market in June 2013. British growers have been sending their flowers to London’s famous flower market for centuries, and while cut flower production is now a global business, traditional British flowers are enjoying a resurgence in interest.
Explaining why she started up her flower farm at Newmains, Foulden, and is keen to take part in the national celebration of traditional British flowers Paula said: “I love growing flowers and believe that by promoting and selling our cut flowers we can make a sustainable difference to our local economy and the environment. Flower Farming fits in perfectly with our other smallholding activities and gives us the opportunity to showcase what’s possible on a small piece of land in the Scottish Borders.
“I decided to start to sell flowers in November 2012 with the intention of getting set up to start flower sales in 2014.
“The support and enthusiasm of other flower farmers, plus a great summer in 2013 meant that I set off early and started selling flowers at the farm gate and for orders in June 2013. The feedback from customers has been fantastic and I’ve expanded plans for the size of flower beds and the range of flowers available as well as taking orders for weddings and parties.”
Mill Pond Flower Farm is part of a four acre smallholding that also has a small flock of Zwartbles sheep, bees, hens, large mill pond and a campsite. The flower farm uses around three quarters of an acre of land and also uses forage flowers and foliage from the hedgerows, orchard and pond.
Paula’s flower farm business is growing fast, thanks to social media such as facebook and twitter and she is one of only two Scottish representatives invited to a flower growers’ seminar in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, which will bring together growers, representatives from all the local supermarkets, horticultural colleges, florists and wholesalers to develop a structure to supply people with the traditional British flowers they are now demanding.
“There has been a massive expansion in growing flowers in this country recently - it did nearly die out,” said Paula, who specialises in sustainable flowers, scented and colourful cottage garden flowers from sweet peas and buttercups to dahlias and cornflowers.
She may be new to the business but Paula is already making a name for herself in the world of flowers: “This summer I’m working with designer Katie-Jane Pridmore who is a prize winner at the Chelsea Flower Show.
“She is doing a big arrangement for the biggest floral event in the country which takes place in Oxford at the beginning of August and I’m supplying her with the flowers for it.”