A private Gloucestershire garden has become the base for a sustainable flower business. Words and pictures by Mandy Bradshaw.
On reflection, the long, rough track leading to Ravenshill Flower Farm was an apt introduction to one of the area's newest cut flower growers. Far from a hi-tech enterprise, it's a business that embodies the eco aims of the British Flowers movement – local, sustainable, and, above all, seasonal.
There are no huge glasshouses or even a polytunnel to extend the season, and it has the feel of a garden rather than a money-making venture.
In a way, that's not surprising because Michael Hardy is growing in the garden of his childhood home near Newent. However, he has deliberately kept the private garden feel with stunning views over the countryside towards the Malvern Hills unspoiled by the usual paraphernalia of commercial crops.
'A big part of how I grow here is wanting to respect the site and the feeling of the site,' he explains. 'I want it to feel natural and rural, and I don't want it to feel like a productive space.'