UK: How a project manager became a flower grower

Caroline Onions was inspired to start growing flowers after reading an article full of beautiful flower farming pictures and trugs (however, she skimmed over the bits mentioning early mornings and hard work). In late 2016, she found herself mulling over what to do with her extra time after her youngest child started school and it was around this time that she and her sister were discussing ways to diversify their arable family farm. Flower farming kept coming back to the fore as a possible means to do this, as well as being the perfect way for Caroline to make her floriferous daydream a reality.

So in 2017, Caroline - a former project manager with no formal horticultural training - started to practice flower growing in her garden with the help of a few courses to guide her along the way. That August she decided to take the plunge and turn part of the family business into a flower farm. She began by kicking some sheep off a nice paddock that was perfect for her flowers and shifting more compost over the ensuing winter than she ever thought possible to move.

Caroline now occupies about a third of an acre on the family farm, which she manages alongside her sister, being the 4th generation of the family to do so. The farm, interestingly, has always been passed down from mother to daughter. A third of her crops are perennials, with the remainder consisting of annuals, bulbs, tubers and so on. She says, ruefully: “I haven’t got any specialisms yet, although I do seem to be rather good at seed shopping.”

She adds: "I started out intending to just supply florists and have been really lucky to meet a few very loyal florists early on who have been so supportive. Word of mouth and the wonders of Instagram have then meant that I have been lucky enough for this part of my business to take off really well."

Read more at Flowers from the Farm (Rebecca Sant)

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