Bristol flower farm and florist. Pipley Flowers

Flower farmer and florist between Bristol and Bath. Wholesale flowers for florists, flower arranging workshops, growing workshops, weddings, funerals, events and sundry hire.

Pipley Recommends - Slug X

If you’re in to your gardening then you are bound to have struggled with slugs at some point. Luckily there are some plants they just aren’t very interested in but most of us have lost a prized plant or two to them at some point.

One of the things I am dead against is using pesticides and any kind of pest control which causes harm to the environment or other animals and insects. Last year I took a trip to the garden centre in desperation as we had one of those years that was perfect for slugs and my plants at the flower farm were getting hammered!

I always use slug nematodes but the crazy weather had created an environment where the nematodes weren’t thriving as it was too dry so I needed another friendly option and this was when I found Slug X traps by Garland Products Limited.

We all know beer traps are effective but the problem with them is they can get soil kicked in them and also when it rains they fill with water, wasting the beer. The Slug X is very simple - it is a beer trap with a lid but you don’t have to sink it in the ground. This means you don’t get the soil issue or the water issue, and on top of that they are quick to lay down and easy to move.

I fill my traps with the cheapest beer I can find from the supermarket - normally costing about 90p for a pack of 4 tins and this fills about 12 traps. I move my traps around to different areas and this seems to work well as I find if you leave them in the same place for too long the kill rate drops - probably because you have already reduced the population in that area. When I put in new plants or when new leaves come out on my dahlias and other susceptible plants I move the traps there to help offer some protection.

You can buy the traps online or in many garden centres and they tend to cost between £6 and £8 each - money well spent!

Have you got any other good tips for environmentally friendly slug control? Let me know below if you do!

https://www.garlandproducts.com/slug-x-slug-trap.html

Pipley Recommends - Brookside Nursery

Recently I have had quite a few ideas of things or companies I use which I would like to recommend and I had a bit of a eureka moment (that sounds much more exciting than it really was!) and thought I could include these on my blog….so here is the first of what I hope may be a regular thing. Let me know what you think!

Earlier this year I discovered a nursery I hadn’t bought from before and placed an order for some plugs and plants.

In all honesty I’m not normally bowled over when I have bought things like this before but I was really impressed by what I have received from Brookside Nursery. The plugs they sent were the most healthy I have ever received and the prices were also really good. I only wish I had found them a little sooner as I would have ordered more.

I did wait a while before committing to writing this as in the past I have had plugs delivered that failed, even though they were potted on promptly and cared for well. In the case of the plants from Brookside they have all thrived and I really can’t find anything at all to complain about so I’m very happy to recommend them.

Just to confirm in case anyone wonders I have not and will not receive any benefit to writing this - in fact Brookside don’t even know about this blog….maybe I should inform them but I’m sure they won’t have any issue with a glowing review!

If you do buy anything let me know how you get on.

http://www.brooksidenursery.co.uk/

Hen Party Fun

Last weekend I drove down to Shapwick with a van full of gorgeous flowers and foliage to show a group of hens how to make hand tied bouquets.

The workshop had been booked by the sister of the bride but I didn’t realise this was a surprise, so when I turned up she didn’t know what I was there for and was excited to see all the flowers being brought in.

The group were staying in a lovely house which had a balcony overlooking the dining area, making it a perfect spot to get a group photo.

Everyone really enjoyed getting a chance to be creative and learn a skill they can use again at home. When I got home I had a lovely message to say ‘We had a brill time and everyone loved it’.

If you are planning a hen party and would like to do something flowery please get in touch and we can tailor something to suit you. I have showed groups how to make flower crowns (which you can wear out that evening), table decorations, bouquets and even planted terrariums. Email me to find out more.



Upcoming Workshop – Mother’s Day Treat

Have you arranged anything for to treat your mum this Mother’s day? If not I may have just the thing for you.

Mum’s like nothing better than spending some quality time with their sons and daughters so treating her to a workshop where you can both make a beautiful bouquet of flowers together, whilst enjoying home made cream teas and cakes is a perfect gift!

You don’t have to come with mum, I have had people buying the workshop place as a gift and also had groups of friends come together to make bouquets to give to their mum the next day. I always run these the day before Mothering Sunday so you can still enjoy the main day together.

This year my workshop is being held on Saturday 30th of March from 10am – 12pm . We will be making wrapped, hand tied bouquets with a twist in the stem – I will give a brief demonstration of what to do before handing over to you to make your own, and I will be on hand throughout to help if needed.

If you would like to book a place please follow this link.

Upcoming workshop – Flower Farming for Beginners

I started my journey into flower farming four years ago after spending years feeling unhappy in my previous job.

After my second child was born I decided it was time to do something about my work life and through family members I found out that flower farming on a small scale existed in this country – it was not something I had ever previously heard of.

All my life I have loved gardening, being one of those people with lights in the greenhouse, enabling me to carry on working on my hobby during the night. Flower farming seemed like something I could do and would enjoy; with that in mind I booked myself onto a workshop for beginners and I haven’t looked back.

That workshop started the ball rolling for me and I now run a successful flower farm. I won’t lie this is hard work but I now love what I do and I feel proud to be showing my children that you can make a living out for doing something you love rather than just living for the weekends.

Pipley Flowers took off rather quickly; I run another business which I started in 2005,  and have a strong sales background - these experiences have helped me in my current venture and enabled me to help others on my previous Flower Farming workshops.

On my past workshops I have had people come along to find out how to start a flower farm and others have already started but wanted to see other ways of doing things. I have also helped trading florists who would like to supplement their bought in flowers with some they have grown themselves.

My next Flower Farming for beginners workshop is coming up on the 10th of February. There is still one place available for someone who would like to make a change or add value to what they do now….could that be you?

For full information click here

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Wise words and awards

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 10th Anniversary party for Tallulah Rose Flower school where I did my floristry training nearly three years ago.

We gathered at the Roman Baths in the centre of Bath for an evening of fun with canapes and plenty of bubbles. It was a lovely opportunity to celebrate with Rachel who set up Tallulah Rose, and catch up with florists from around the country, some of whom I trained with, some I have met at previous social gatherings organised the flower school, and others I have only spoken to via social media.



Rachel and the Tallulah team put on a fabulous, flower filled evening and Emma from Heart Full of Tea did a fantastic job of capturing the feel of the night (credit to her for the photo’s used on this blog).

I was particularly struck by something Rachel said on the night; she spoke about the way we often gloss over our achievements and don’t spend enough time recognising and celebrating them. I have been thinking about this quite a lot since…I am guilty of setting myself goals and once I achieve them I never celebrate my hard work, instead I set another goal and just move on. By the time I got home that night the house was quiet with everyone in bed but the next day I spoke to my husband about this and we agreed we will make more of an effort to celebrate things going forward.

My children have both earned certificates from school in the last month; although we congratulated them at the time we never marked their achievements so last night we went out to eat somewhere at the request of my eldest to celebrate his learner of the week award, and tonight we are going out again to celebrate my youngest winning the school star award – he has asked for a restaurant that does fish and chips 😊

I can’t finish up without mentioning my reason to celebrate! Before the event the past flower school students were asked to vote for our favourite Tallulah’s in the following categories – Best on social media, favourite brand and website, and favourite all round for help, advice and support. The social media category was won by Liberty Lane Flowers, best brand went to Ruby and the Wolf and I won the last one.

It was a massive shock for me (and I was quite emotional as you can see in the photo 😉) but I was really grateful and flattered to be thought of this way and it was a huge confidence boost. I have said it on social media already but I have to say a huge thanks to Rachel and the Tallaulah team for giving me the confidence and knowledge to be where I am now; I supply some amazing florists (including the other two award winners). I already had a strong background in terms of gardening and plant and flower knowledge but my time at flower school helped me to understand what florists of this standard need to create the best impact for their weddings and events.

We have plans this weekend so my celebration has to go on hold for a week or so but it’s in the pipeline.

Do you do enough to celebrate your achievements or is this something you can improve on?

Reflection on 2018

Many of us take the opportunity to reflect on the past year once Christmas is over and I think it’s just as important to do this for your business as it is to do so for your personal life.

Reflection helps us to look at what we are doing right, what we can do better, and what direction we want to follow in future.

In general 2018 was a great year at Pipley with most of the negative aspects being weather related (and therefore out of my control), but there are always things that can be done better.

One of my main goals this year is to re-organise certain areas so I can focus on being better at supplying larger quantities of some of my most popular flowers. Another decision I have made is to free up some of my weekends by reducing the amount of workshops I offer.

I really love running workshops so this has been a hard decision for me but I find they take up a lot of my time not just on the day but in the planning and marketing of them. On top of this they have given me less time with my family, taken me away from my core business, and increased my workload at already very busy times of the year.

In future I will continue to offer private bookings for 6 or more people throughout the year for things like corporate events and hen parties; On top of that I will only be offering workshops outside of the growing season for things like Christmas wreath making and Mother’s day bouquets.

I am so excited to see what this year has to offer and am planning more fun things to do with my family using the extra free time!

What changes will you be making in your work or private life this year?

After the Frosts

We had a hard frost on the 28th of October this year and when I checked the flowers the next morning, as suspected they were looking rather black and unhappy. Since then lots of people have asked what I do now - some realise that the work doesn’t stop just because the flowers are gone but others think I’m starting a 5 month holiday.

There are plenty of jobs that can be done over the Winter, many of which I don’t have the time to do during the peak season, but some have a certain urgency about them. At Pipley we have lots and lots of dahlias (far too many to lift!) so I choose to leave mine in place over Winter. One of my most important jobs now is to cut back all the dahlias and give them a good mulch to protect them from the cold - this has to be done before the temperature drops too low and it’s not a quick job.

Chopping down Dahlias to make compost

Chopping down Dahlias to make compost

One of the other jobs I have is planting any new bulbs and corms so I have lots of lovely flowers in Spring. I planted my anemone yesterday and I still have tulips and ranunculus to finish off. The quicker I get some of these in, the quicker my season will start next year….or that’s the plan unless I am thwarted in some way by the weather.

Once chopped back I mulch my dahlias to protect them from the cold

Once chopped back I mulch my dahlias to protect them from the cold

So as you read this I may be working out in the rain, chopping back, wheel-barrowing, or on my hands and knees in the mud trying to get these jobs done before I miss my window. Then comes the rest of the list but I can always breathe a sigh of relief when the dahlias and bulbs are all sorted.

If you have thought about flower farming and would like to learn more about what’s involved I run workshops for beginners or those thinking of a career change. The next one is on Sunday 10th of February and you can find the details on my workshops page.

Spring Wedding

In April I had the pleasure of flowering a wedding for a gorgeous couple at Homme House in Much Marcle, Herefordshire.

Roberta contacted me after seeing some work I had done in Vow Magazine and she was looking for a natural style of floristry, using lots of bright colour for her Spring wedding.

Roberta’s bridal bouquet with scented spring flowers

Roberta’s bridal bouquet with scented spring flowers

I really loved Robbie’s bouquet which included beautiful ranunculus, tulips, freesias and anemones. Rather than the traditional domed bouquet we went for something assymetric with some flowers doing their own thing and softening the edges, giving a very natural look.

The bridesmaids had smaller bouquets to match the bride and the youngest had a simple crown of foliage which looked absolutely adorable on her.

Spring wedding flowers.jpg

The family had booked the house for the weekend and we delivered the flowers the day before the wedding as they asked for lots of DIY buckets, giving them time to do their own table displays in the marquee. Many people go down this route now and we even run DIY wedding flower courses to teach you the techniques which will help you when doing your own flowers.

Homme House Wedding.jpg

No-one was left out at this wedding - even the dogs at the entrance had their own special collars with ribbon trails, making a very smart entrance for guests.

I loved working with Robbie on this wedding - she was such a relaxed bride and had great taste so from the initial enquiry I knew this one would be good!

If you are looking for flowers for your wedding I still have spaces available for 2019 and I can do everything for you, provide buckets of DIY stems, or do a mix of both like I did for Robbie. Please contact me now for more details.

Photography was provided by Joanna Nicole Photography www.joannanicolephotography.com

British Weather

No two years are the same when it comes to flower farming but this year as been particularly difficult!

It's been so hot for so long now that it's easy to forget the terrible start to the year we had which was unseasonably cold, wet and snowy. This caused crops to fall behind by about 4 - 5 weeks and affected not just flower growers but many farmers across the UK.

Now we are a few weeks into the longest heatwave since 1976 (so it said on the radio the other day). Around 3 weeks ago I could have told you how long it was since we last had proper rain but it's been so long now I have forgotten. There are cracks in the ground in places at the flower farm that are nearly wide enough to get my foot into and although we had a 20 minute downpour last week and a bit of spitty rain for 15 mins yesterday it's not touching the sides. Light rain evaporates before it soaks into the ground and the downpour was great but when the ground is so dry, heavy rainfall runs off faster than it soaks in.

In most years we rarely have to water - maybe doing 3 or 4 times a year, but recently we are out most days watering. So whilst sunning yourself in your gardens think of all us who work the land for our income - support your farmers and growers as much as you can right now as we all have higher costs and more work to deal with.

In the meantime I will hope that as with most years the summer holidays brings prolonged rain! :)

Scented Foliage

Following on from my blog earlier in the year on scented flowers I was thinking why not mention scented foliage? There are some really beautifully scented foliages available and they aren't always given the credit they deserve.

I supply lots of foliage to florists - often with whole van loads going out at a time and I am just as guilty of focusing on the flowers in my social media posts and glossing over the foliage - so this is it's chance in the limelight for once!

Eucalyptus - I can't really describe the smell of Eucalyptus but it's beautiful and each variety has a slightly different scent. Eucalyptus oil has many uses including respiratory aid, pain relief, personal hygiene, mental stimulant and household cleaning uses - it's powerful stuff and you can't beat a bit of eucalyptus to add to your flowers.

Choysia ternata - This one is a love it or hate it. I think it smells like oranges but I have heard some people say it smells of cat wee... so maybe if you think the latter you may not want it in the house :)

Rosemary - Gorgeous scent and as a bonus you can nip bits out of the vase to add flavour to your cooking - or brush it against your skin for a natural perfume!

Bay - I love the smell of bay and again you can take off the odd leaf to enhance your cooking with this one. A bay wreath on your door will last for ages and welcomes you with a lovely scent when you get home

Mint - People always comment on the smell when I include mint in my foliage orders. This is definitely one of my favourites and some of my florists remove the lower leaves to make mint tea before using the rest of the stem in flower arrangements.

Lavender - the foliage is often overlooked on lavender as we concentrate on the flowers but it hold well out of water so it's great to use in flower crowns and buttnholes. Lavender scent is known for it's calming properties so I think this is nice to include in wedding flowers when some people can feel a little nervous.

 

There are lots of other scented foliages - these are just some of my favourites. Do you have a favourite one not listed here? How do you like to use it?

 

Scented Flowers for Spring

Following a recent Facebook post which touched on scented flowers I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourite spring scented flowers with you.

Lily of the Valley

These dainty little white bells have a fantastic scent! They are one of my earlier spring flowers and Mine tend to flower in early April. They have a strong scent for their size at only around 15cm in height and they are happiest grown in partial shade. You can also get Lily of the Valley in a light pink colour but these are more uncommon. As a cut flower they are great for little posies, buttonholes and bouquets.

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Narcissi

Narcissi just make me smile. I find them somewhat irresistible with their happy little faces and gorgeous scent. They are easy to grow from bulbs, and work well in the house as a cut flower or planted in a pot. If planted in pots indoor just plant them out somewhere in the garden after they have finished flowering and they will return year on year. Narcissi are great for naturalising in grass too so everyone should be able to find space for some. Although they smell delicious they do need a regular stem cut and water change if used as a cut flower or they can become a bit whiffy!

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Hyacinths

Love, love, love these! I don’t tend to use them much for cutting (hence no images) as the stems are quite short and with the flowers being so large they can be tricky to incorporate into displays, but bring planted bulbs into your house to make the place smell amazing! After they have flowered you can plant them out in pots or beds for them to return year on year.

Tulips

Did you know that tulips have scent? I must confess I didn’t really believe this until last year when I grew some amazing scented ones. I had head of scented tulips but had never smelt any that I actually liked or that had a string perfume. My favourite ones last year smelt of caramel - the variety escapes me for now but keep an eye on my social media because they will get a shout out when they are back this year!

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What are your favourite scented flowers for Spring?

Christmas at Pipley

Ok it's not quite Christmas but I have arranged to have the last few days work free so I'm now planning for next year and reviewing the last few weeks.

It's been my first Christmas working full time at Pipley and I have loved it! I've hosted quite a few wreath making workshops, been making up orders for wreaths and eaten far too many mince pies and Lebekuchen. The mulled wine has been flowing and it's great to think how many doors now have a Pipley Flowers wreath decorating them.

I'm also thinking more about next year. Workshops are one of my favourite things about my job and I have had great feedback on them with many people returning a second, or even a third time which I am really pleased about seeing as I held my first one in February.

Next year there will be some new workshop subjects which I am super excited about including one aimed and brides who want to arrange their own flowers, and another in conjunction with a very talented lady who also runs a small business in the South West...details to be revealed soon! Of course there will also be a special Mothers day workshop and the popular hand tied bouquet experiences.

If you would like to be kept up to date with new workshop dates please join the mailing list below, and don't forget I can tailor an experience for your hen do, corporate event or just for a group of friends - please get in touch if that's something you'd like to chat about....and have an amazing Christmas! x

Click here to view our current workshop dates

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Pipley Flowers on the Radio

Yesterday was a little different... I normally do my very best to avoid the rush hour traffic in Bristol but I found myself driving up to Clifton armed with a bouquet of flowers and a Christmas wreath (yes I know it's way too early!)

The reason for this was an appearance on BBC Radio Bristol for their weekly Try it Tuesday feature on Laura Rawlings show (no relation to me by the way)

I was very nervous about it all but once I got to the studio Becky who produces the show was ever so friendly and totally put me at ease so by the time I went through to sit with Laura I felt much more confident about it all.

We discussed Pipley generally and how I came to do what I do now, and then I spoke for a little while about how to make a Christmas wreath. The whole thing went really well and I've had some lovely feedback from people who listened. I totally forgot to take any pictures but here are some of the bouquet and wreath I took in with me.

Vow Magazine Photoshoot

I've recently received images from this photoshoot I was involved with in April which is featured in the current edition of Vow Magazine.

Linda Thomas contacted me a few months ago after I worked with her last year and she was looking for flowers for this shoot focusing on some of her dresses. The brief was for an oversized bouquet with trail to the floor but she wanted the feel to be very natural and organic. The trail was to be loose and have lots of movement and colours to be green and white. 

This was quite different to any bouquet I had made before but I could tell it was my kind of thing and apparently Linda also felt I was the lady for the job.

The shoot took place in late April and I had a plan in mind of various flowers I wanted to use. Unfortunately things didn't quite go to plan as we were hit by a very late frost which destroyed many of the flowers and foliage I had planned to use a couple of days before the shoot.

What I was left with was a very limited selection and I normally like to have a few extra flowers as a fall back in case of breakages etc but in this case I ended up using pretty much everything. I was planning to use some lovely hops as part of the trail but this too was damaged by the frost and in this case I had to buy in some Jasmine plants to use in their place which also meant a bit more wiring than anticipated.

These are some of the struggles we have to get used to as growers but in the end I'm really happy with how the flowers turned out and I'm spoilt for choice with the images as there are so many gorgeous ones to choose from!


The TEAM (Instagram links provided)

Photography: @katy_mcdonnell_photography

Photography Assistant: @LindsayPerezPhotography

Dresses: @linda_eco_design

Hair and Make up: @ablemabeldesigns

Flowers: me! @pipleyflowers

Rings: @ecowoodrings

Shoes: @Po_zu

Models: @Tessa_gaukroger and @Damiewedemi

British Flowers Week

This week was British flowers week and it's been a busy one here at Pipley!

There has been lots of support from local florists on our three regular delivery days. On Tuesday I delivered 3 van loads of flowers which is an awful lot for us and something I would love to do more often. There are so many beautiful flowers to choose from at the moment and as you can see I'm not the only fan of British flowers in my household!

The first dahlias started flowering this week and I'm excited to see the new varieties I have chosen this year in the flesh.

On Wednesday it was a real scorcher and I had a group of career change students from the Tallulah Rose Flower School come to the flower farm. I gave them a tour round and we discussed all things British flowers, and afterwards went foraging for foliage for them to use back at school.

At Pipley there is roughly one and a half acres of flower beds but in total our land stretches to 19.5 acres and this is made up of a mixture of pastureland, wild hedgerows and woodland - perfect to forage for all sorts of beautiful, wild flowers, foliage, and other interesting bits and pieces on top of the flowers we are already growing.

The week rounded off with wedding flowers for a couple in a nearby village - more to come on this in a future blog!

 

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© Pipley Flowers 2015