After our trip down to Columbia Road Flower Market, I asked Katy if she would be interested in writing for Urban Farmer London- of course once settled back in the United States! Her visit to England was full of many trips to flower farms, visiting growers that have inspired her from across the ocean. Working with local farmers and now having her own flower growing business, she had much to say on the subject we love most here- Farms and City living. She explains more about this and her CSA membership in her post below as well as her travels here.
Follow this link to read more about CSA Farmers like Katy here in the UK: Community Supported Agriculture, UK
Meet Katy Phillips- Flower Farmer, US
It is a real pleasure to be a guest blogger on The Urban Farmer London. I recently spent 10 fabulous days getting to know a small piece of England – including the yellow- flowering and rolling countryside, the enchanting coastline and the incredible city of London. It was well worth the effort of leaving my flower farm for these fabulous and rejuvenating days particularly for the chance to see a variety of beautiful gardens, including one of the leaders in the seasonal flower movement in the U.K, Green and Gorgeous.
I am a novice flower farmer here in North Carolina. I live on some old tobacco land now farmed for pick-your-own strawberries. ¼ of an acre, a small and intimate piece of land behind my house has now become the fertile grounds through which I grow a variety of cut flowers for the farm stand and a 25 member CSA, which I have named Poesy. The farm is conveniently situated between 2 affluent university towns where there is an urban center, ideal for a flower pick up location and the occasional passerby looking for a beautiful, or sentimental gift! With one successful year under my wings, I am really looking forward to developing my existing relationships and learning as much as I can from other passionate flower growers.
This is why my spirit leaped at the chance to visit a flower farm while visiting England! My visit did not disappoint! In fact, I was delighted to discover that Rachel Siegfried and her partner Ashley Pearson and their farm Green and Gorgeous are leading the way for flower growers across England. Their farm is located in Little Stoke, Wallingford close to the university town of Oxford. It is an enchanting little piece of paradise and their hospitality to two jet-lagged Americans was a welcome reprieve. We walked around their cottage beds, took a peek in their hoop house full of ranunculus, and explored their newly planted acreage. It was such a treat! Even their cat followed our footsteps as though giving us the tour himself.
Green and Gorgeous grows quintessential English flowers, but also host on-farm flower farming, photography and flower design workshops as part of their farmer-florist operation in Oxfordshire. Additionally, they host ‘Farm Gate Sales’, which are a bit like a ‘pop up’ shop, or my farm stand back in the States. They are held on the farm every Saturday next to their flower fields. The adorable little packing shed is filled with buckets of beauty and customers have the pleasure of walking through their gardens and picking bouquets of choice.
There has definitely been a huge change in people’s awareness of local flowers and the number of growers around the country of England and the US is increasing. Close proximity to urban centers helps growers’ continue to boost the local flower movement and raise customer awareness to the importance of supporting a more sustainable market. I look forward to taking some of the ideas gleaned from my visit to Oxfordshire back to my own small burgeoning flower farm!