Fresh Seasonal, Scented and Sustainable flowers grown in the Surrey Hills
Although the field is a lot bigger than a garden setting, we have used a lot of the best garden practices to ensure that we get the most productive and best quality flowers from our plants. We totally believe in No Dig practice where ever possible, So here is our story about how we have created our first Acre of Surrey Flowers farm, and how we will continue to expand it over the coming years.
Wildflowers wedding flowers
All my flowers are cultivated. The field I grow on has only had cows or horses on it for many years, so the only thing that grows “wild” on it are natural grasses, ragweed and thistles.
However, I’m often asked for Wildflowers, or Meadow Style flowers for Weddings and party designs. Plus I work with my local Natural Burial ground, Clandon Wood, to make farewell tributes that work well with their natural, sustainable ethos. I’ve had to work out how I can cultivate flowers to have ready through the year to give that “wild” “just picked” look, while only picking flowers from my field, ensuring they are conditioned well so they last in displays rather than fade after a couple of hours, and not take from any local hedgerows.
Here’s what I include in my mixes.
Working with Plantpassion
Claire is helped at Hill top farm by an excellent team of family, friends, florists and Jennifer her assistant, We don't currently have any Jobs available, but if you’d like to try your hand at Flower farming, please contact us if you'd like to do work experience at Hill top Farm
Did you know Florist and Gardener are 2 of the “happiest” professions?
Spring is the start of the season at Plantpassion, but it is also the culmination of the autumns work, as the bulbs and biennials that are the main work horses of the Spring season have been planted since September the year before.
1000's of Anemones and Ranunculus, Narsissus and Tulips have been safely hidden in our well drained chalky soil.
As March brings longer days, the tips of the Alliums break the ground, the Hyacinths rise, and the blooms start coming through.
We spend March and April protecting the soft new shoots from rabbits and deer which have wreaked devastation in previous years.
Our pink and white honesty and other early Biennials are always in great so we have planted larger beds of them.
The well fed soil means they are extremely healthy sizes, so we are hoping for large numbers of flowers.
Wallflowers give bright bursts of colour as the season starts in March, and Cerinthe is as always playing its part as an early season filler.
Yellow is often frowned on at other times of the year, but as a bright colour at the start of the season it's wonderful
As May turns to June, the overwintered hardy annuals start their blooming. Sweet Peas by the thousand, Cornflowers, Ammi Majus, Orlaya, Gypsophila, Nigella and Stocks. Then joined by more biennials, Aqueligia, Campanula, Foxgloves and Sweet Williams. As we move through the month, the Roses start their thing, and perennials of Alchemilla, Scabious and Stachys join in, with a supporting cast of scented herbs.
As July comes into sight, with the peak of the wedding season, the Larkspur, Antirrhinums and Foxgloves are providing spires of colour, with a wonderful supporting cast of Ageratum, Daucus, Ammi, Cynoglossum and Cosmos. The outside Sweet peas kick in with their heady blooms, and the Phlox in many shades, and Monarda with it's minty perfume all fight to give out the best scents.
In high summer in August, the Dahlias and annual Asters join in the show, colours get brighter, or lighter as the Sunflowers, and Zinnias start to bloom
Moving into Autumn, the Dahlia plays a large role. I've lost count of the number of times i've been told "i don't like Dahlias" only to have that same person say with interest, "i like that one, and that one" pointing to pictures of dahlias in different shades.
It is often assumed that there are no British Flowers in the winter. Admittedly there is a lot smaller variety of blooms available, but the power of the scent of some of the winter flowers often makes up for their lack of number of types.
Scented Narssisi, are some of the workhorses of the winter months, - with indoor forced Hippeastrum as the over the top prima donnas of January and February. Then there are Greenhouse Alstroemerias, Tulips and early Anemones to provide a splash of colour alongside the wonderful winter foliage, and colourful stems of cornus and willow.