While others were stockpiling household goods at the beginning of lockdown one during March 2020, Clare Greener and Andrew Henderson had decided to finally follow their dreams and were stockpiling, compost, cardboard, and an awful lot of courage to start their cut flower business: Wall Flowers Seasonal Blooms!
In Clare’s words:
I’ve dreamt about growing cut flowers on a large scale since the early 90’s. I had been made redundant just at the same time as Country Living Magazine ran an article about life after redundancy and the amazing things their three featured interviewees had done with their redundancy payments. Of course, this was Country Living and the redundancy settlements featured ran into 6 figures! Mine didn’t, but I did take it as an opportunity to think about what I’d really like to do. I drew out a plan for a cut your own flower field. It couldn’t happen at that time because we had neither the land nor the resources, but over the years the vision gained momentum and ever-increasing traction.
It was becoming embarrassing just how many cut flower growing courses I enrolled on to. I’d well and truly done the circuit. The final straw arrived in late 2019 when I was given a partial scholarship to attend the amazing Floret online workshop. Erin Benzakein who owns Floret is perhaps the best-known cut flower grower globally and for her to believe in my business plan was the final kick that said, “it’s now or never”!
We are growing on a two-acre field in East Wall which is located between Church Stretton and Much Wenlock in the South Shropshire hills. We also use our original flower beds in our large garden for those crops that mice just love to munch such as the speciality tulips. Our cat Merlyn is an integral part of the team and assists us with vermin control in the garden!
Within the two-acre field, we have constructed wind protection around half an acre. Within this space, the area is split into four quarters. Room for pick your own flowers as well as room for wedding and event flowers in half of the area and with the other half to be given over to perennial plants and shrubs so that we can offer a truly diverse mix of seasonal flowers and foliage.
Outside of this protected area we grow half an acre of sunflowers primarily to feed the birds overwinter and we also plan to plant trees, perhaps an orchard.
Both Andrew and I have a farming background. With this comes an appreciation of the land on which we grow and a deep respect for the environment we grow in. We use a “no dig” system of growing (hence the need for lots of cardboard!) relying on a healthy worm population to work our soil for us. We welcome the birds and all manner of wildlife onto the field and provide them with various habitats in which to live and feed.
The field has an enchanted quality, especially in the evening light. There is a romantic and mindfulness aspect to what we are creating on our land. Our passion is to share this with those that are like minded and just love the thought of picking flowers in this magical landscape.