January 2023

New Year, new plans

Happy New Year to all!

If you’ve been following our journey for a while, you’ll know we currently grow on three acres at the Hay Lane site. Not many people have seen what we do first hand, aside from our florists and workshop attendees. The plot is at the back of the cottages, you can just see the polytunnel from the road, where it is away from the public eye. Very much how I wanted it at first. I made loads of mistakes, had crop failures, pest problems and weeds galore (still do!) To a grower their site is never perfect or worthy of public inspection. Like when you invite strangers into your house, and the first thing you do is apologise for the mess, even though you’ve tidied.

Having talked with people at markets and outside events, the things we are always asked is ‘Are you open to the public?’ ‘Can we come and pick our own flowers?’ Earlier this year I had a chance meeting with a lady called Maria. She had ordered a large quantity of cosmos flowers. Originally, I had assumed she was a florist as she was coming up from London to collect. However when she arrived, with her husband and small daughter, it turned out she was just a regular customer, who happened to love flowers. As they had driven all the way from London, and it was a nice day, I asked if they’d like a look around. I left them to wander and carried on cutting dahlias and they took photos of their little girl with the flowers and the farm dog Newton, who took a shine to them. Maria explained that she’d come to the UK after living in a more rural place and very much missed the countryside and being outside surrounded with flowers, so it was a treat to be allowed to wander round. Later that week I was chatting with the husband of one of my Flower Club members, who said his wife saw the sessions we held as monthly therapy (this is a common thing to hear from people who come here to learn or work).

So I tentatively asked Jack and Pete what they would think if we turned another acre on the side of our plot into a new flower field with a PYO plot, rose and shrub beds and a blossom orchard. All with the idea that it would be a site that is very much open to the public. So the new plot turns our three acres into four and a new way of working for us.

In other news I am now a published author, having managed to get the first Hay Lane Growers’ Manual finished and out on Amazon. We self-published in the end as it suited my control freaky nature and was also quick and easy. So far the book is selling well and getting good reviews, so I’ve forged on and started writing the next two in the series.

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