I grew up on a flower nursery in Norfolk. My dad was a botanist, and my grandparents were also small scale growers. Geraniums were my grandad’s passion, so it’s no surprise that when my parents decided to set up a flower breeding business, geraniums were their speciality.
As an only child, I spent hours playing and working alongside my dad in the greenhouses, which are among my happiest memories. At 9 I declared I wanted to be 'the queen’s gardener', and at 12 my parents let me have a spare patch of ground to grow my first flower border. I was heartbroken when we had to move house in February and the ground was too frozen to transplant my favourite plants. As a teenager I grew armfuls of aromatic flowers and herbs to make my own potpourri. The family genes seemed to have come down the line.
Around this time I also became passionate about environmental issues, and after a brief spell studying music at university, I swapped courses to study engineering and pursue a career in renewable energy. I’ve spent 25 years working in this world, and it’s been immensely exciting and rewarding.
However, I’ve always harboured a secret dream to start a flower farm, picking and selling my flowers to others, just as I helped my dad pick cut flowers for market in the 1970s.
In 2018 my dad died suddenly, and life felt different – more precious, and shorter. I missed him greatly, and reflected on his life and my childhood. I had one of those moments when you think, ‘If not now, then when?’. I took the radical step to take a year off work in order to learn to grow cut flowers and to train as a florist. It was a kind of therapy, which took me closer to him, and I loved every minute.
Growing and working with flowers once again connects me to my family’s heritage of growing, and feels like coming home. It's such a privilege to be able to share my flowers with others, and spread the joy. Sometimes flowers express the things in life we can’t say with words. There's an immense amount of love wrapped up in the flowers I grow.
The umbellifers of the Norfolk hedgerows have inspired my company name. The silhouettes of their seedheads, stark against the wide horizon, are so characteristic of my childhood, and of walking along Norfolk lanes as a child. With each beautiful umbellifer I grow, I am reminded of those big open Norfolk skies, which made me feel like anything was possible.
Me playing outside our greenhouses in Norfolk as a child in the 1970s.
There's an immense amount of love wrapped up in the flowers I grow.