After heading down a ‘Pinterest rabbit hole’ a few years ago, Nicky fell in love with the concept of field-grown, seasonal cut-flowers, grown spray-free and sustainably. Inspired by the likes of Erin Benzakein at Floret in the US, and other flower farmers who were doing it differently (and better), it struck her… “if they can do it, what’s stopping me?!”
And so, in September 2020 she convinced her partner Les to help her create five trial flower beds in the small paddock adjacent to the house. The first seeds were sown, and the journey began. “It’s been a lot of hard work and I put in long hours as I’m still working full time off the farm – it feels like I’m chasing daylight most of the time but it’s just so rewarding.” She sells her cut flowers at a local market and is building up a clientele of florists.
Now in its second year, the flower farm has grown to almost half an acre, with room for further expansion to meet demand. Currently most of the farm is planted in annuals, which Nicky propagates from seed. As time goes on (and finances allow) she is investing in perennials and shrubs. Nicky is especially interested in hard-to-find and heritage varieties, with a focus on growing small quantities of lots of different flowers –ranunculi, honey wort and mignonette are some of the early bloomers, whilst in summer the snap dragons, zinnias, amaranth, Bells of Ireland and dahlias come into their own.
Nicky has a love of English Country Garden design, with its combination of formal elements alongside the ‘whimsical and wild’, and she is slowly developing some areas around the farm as display gardens.
Look out for information on upcoming workshops at Birch Hill, on a wide range of topics including seed raising, propagating techniques, organic pest control, bouquet making, wreath making and how to start your own flower farm!