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.

The Flower Show Experience!

I just can't believe how fast this year is going! I have to keep reminding myself to sit back and enjoy the sunshine before its Christmas!

The summer brings an abundance of work for a flower farmer. There are an array of flowers to cut and deadhead. Plants are working hard and need regular feeding to perform, and of course the dreaded weeds need curtailing to prevent them outperforming everything else in the cutting patch.

So I've been busily performing the above tasks and planning for next years expansion. When I saw a program advertising a local flower show I couldn't resist giving it a try. There were various categories to choose from and as I'm swimming in dahlias I decided to enter four dahlia categories, one rose category and I also entered a vase of flowers I had grown from seed.

I have never entered a flower show before but I do have experience of showing chickens and I know from this that showing brings with it a lot of rules and standards; you could spend an awful lot of time researching what's expected of a winning entry or you can just dive in head first and learn from your mistakes. 

So off I trotted with a boot full of flowers and vases. Preparation is everything but as I didn't really know how to display my flowers for best results I just chucked it all in the car and decided I would watch the old timers and try my best to copy them!

The rose was easy; one stem cut and displayed in a glass bottle. I realised straight away that my stem should have been much longer and later found out my rose should have been cut when it was less open.

Next to the dahlias. I thought my stems had to be clear of leaves (I don't know why I thought this!) therefore my stems again were too short. And my flowers weren't large enough -apparently I should be growing special show bench varieties to do well with dahlias!

The vase of flowers was more in my comfort zone. I enjoyed putting this together and added a stem of this and that so I could display lots of forms and colours while showing as many varieties as possible and capitalise on the fact I have grown lots from seed this year. This obviously paid off as I won first prize in that category!

I will definitely try my hand at showing again and would recommend it to anyone who has considered it but not yet had a go. It's a good excuse for a day out as there are often lots of activities and stalls going on at such shows so it can be an enjoyable trip for the whole family. I couldn't resist getting my toddler involved and he also won first prize in his decorated paper plate category, winning himself £1.50 which he enjoyed spending today! It was a good learning exercise particularly with the dahlias but I think in future I will concentrate on the rose and mixed flower or floral decoration classes.

#dahlias #flowershow #flowerfarm #flowers #blog

DIY Wedding Flowers – Things to consider

The costs of weddings have spiralled over the years and apparently the average spend is now a whopping £22,000! Recently more couples are looking at the option of buying buckets of flowers and arranging these themselves for their special day. Some will do this in an effort to reduce costs and others simply want to make their wedding more of a personal affair.

Arranging your own wedding flowers can be a hugely positive experience but there are potential pitfalls and things to consider before you embark on something that you might regret.

  • Arranging flowers is time consuming and takes practice

If you have arranged flowers before then you know it takes time to make something that looks really pretty. Even an experienced florist with the quickest fingers will want to give wedding flowers that extra bit of attention to make sure they look fantastic. It’s not something you can throw together in five minutes so make sure you think about how much time you need and then add some as a contingency. If you can enlist some help that’s great but be careful who you choose and if possible get some practice in with any helpers beforehand to make sure they cut the mustard!

If you’ve not arranged flowers before then have a go a few times before you decide whether this is for you. Many growers and florists will run workshops or one to one training if you ask.

  • Make lists and check your venues

This is obvious and should be done whether you use a florist or DIY but still worth mentioning. Make a list of all the flowers you need and think about your venues. If you are having flowers at the church can you reuse them at the reception? Ask the venues whether they will have anything already in place. You may find that you don’t need as much as you thought.

  • Plan your time

    I‘m touching on my first point here but this one is important!

    When will you be arranging your flowers? Find out if they are already conditioned and if not how much time will they need? Your arrangements don’t want to sit around for days before the wedding so make sure you plan your time and don’t leave other things to the last minute if at all possible. You don’t want to be up until the early hours fussing with flowers on the night before your special day!

  • Transport

    Will you arrange your flowers at the venue or will they need to be transported?  You might find it easier to make arrangements up on site. If this isn’t possible then plan who will deliver, when they will deliver, and ensure they have a vehicle large enough to move everything. I know someone who made up arrangements that would have fitted inside the car but didn’t go through the door as they were too wide – sounds like a silly thing to mention but these things happen!

  • Glassware

    Be organised with your glassware. The vases, jam jars and other vessels that you use will have a great effect on your arrangements so make sure you have what you need well in advance and get to practise with it.  If you are going to borrow glassware then make sure you’ve seen it beforehand so you can ensure it’s right for the area you want to use it in and the type and size of arrangement you want to create.

    If you need help with glassware then many florists and flower farmers who sell DIY flowers will have things you can hire.

     Bouquets, Corsages and Boutonnieres

  • Think carefully about the flowers you choose for these. Some flowers don’t cope well with being out of water all day and bear in mind that these arrangements get a lot of abuse so picking the right flowers will ensure that you don’t have droopy blooms in your wedding photos!

    Bouquets in need to be wrapped well to ensure they stay together, but not so well that the stems are snapped or crushed. If you’re not confident in this consider getting them done professionally and arranging the other flowers yourself. It’s a great compromise and will still give you the chance to add a personal touch and reduce costs.

If DIY wedding flowers are right for you there are lots of local growers like Pipley Flowers who can supply fresh British flowers. Whether we supply by the stem or arrange for you, your chosen florist or grower will want you to have something you love so get in touch with them and ask their advice if needed.

Whatever you decide to do I hope your flowers look fantastic and you have the wedding you dreamed of!

#weddingflowers #DIYweddingflowers

Looking back at British Flowers week

British Flowers week is the brainchild of New Covent Garden Market. It was started in 2013 with the aim of promoting British grown flowers in a goal to revive our once thriving cut flower industry. When I heard about this I really wanted to take part in some way but I wasn’t quite fully up and running yet. I also had some big personal commitments to deal with so I was time poor and thought it would be a good idea to find someone to work with.

Recently I had met Victoria of Peppermint Rose Flowers through Twitter. We got on well and had quite a lot in common – part of which being that we were both in the first year of our new businesses. I mentioned it to her and she was really excited about the idea.

We ran a lonely bouquet campaign with a twist. Rather than just leaving flowers abandoned to be found we hid a bouquet in a different location each day and worked with the chosen businesses to give clues over Facebook and Twitter which would lead people to the flowers. Every day there was a different password so we knew that only people engaged in our campaign could take the flowers away.

Victoria and I were really pleased with how it went. We had lots of late nights with all the clues having to be scheduled each evening in advance, giving us time to engage with the people who were involved in the treasure hunt as it took place.

It was great to see people who came back each day to have another go at winning the bouquets, and seeing pictures of them being so happy when they won was a bonus. I even had a lady today post a picture of her flowers a week later showing they still look really good.

British Flowers week has been an incredibly busy one! I have been completely exhausted but I’ve had lots of fun, learned loads about social media and had a chance to combine forces and work with someone I had never met before who I now class as a friend.

Next year the flower farm will be much more established, giving me extra opportunities to promote British flowers. Is there anything I could do that would entice you to buy British? If you have any good ideas I would love to hear them!

#FindTheFlowers #BritishFlowers #BritishFlowersWeek

British Flowers Week

Did you know it's ‪#‎britishflowersweek‬ from the 15th - 19th of June?

I'm very excited to be teaming up with Victoria from Peppermint Rose Flowers to promote ‪#‎britishflowers‬ in Bristol.

Over the next few days we will be giving more information on what we're planning. It's going to be good!

You can find Pipley Flowers on Facebook

http://facebook.co.uk/PipleyFlowers

and Twitter

https://twitter.com/PipleyFlowers

Toby Garden Festival

Had a great day out today at Toby Garden Festival which was held at Bowood House for the first time. There were lots of smaller independent nurseries like multiple Chelsea gold medal winners Hardy's Plants and it was a great opportunity to pick up some lovely perennials and other garden bits and bobs.

I was lucky enough to get a front row seat on Jonathan Moseley's cut flower arranging demonstration. Jonathan showed us how to put together 4 stunning displays. Alongside this we were treated to witty banter and I was pleased to see him strongly promoting British growers and‪#‎britishflowersweek‬.

I went home with some great props which I will use on my market stall and in my upcoming photos of flowers....and some very lovely bamboo socks! 

Updates from the flower farm

So what's been going on at the flower farm?

In brief all the beds are now prepared and rotavated. I have planted some new perennials and shrubs. The shrubs are strategically placed to act as windbreaks but obviously they will need to establish a bit before they work their magic.

This week the first flowers started to appear but I think I have 6 on the plot so not quite ready to start selling to florists yet! I do however have a well stocked garden that I am using to make arrangements in the meantime and there are too many flowers to mention right now.

So things are looking pretty good at the moment. The bare root roses planted last month are bushing out nicely and even some of the newer plants have put on good growth in just a week or so.

The dahlias and peonies are starting to appear so hopefully soon the empty looking beds in the background will start filling out.

On the negative side it appears I have a resident mole that has moved into my most recently planted flowerbed. He's undermined a lot of the plants I've just put in so yesterday I spent quite a lot of time stamping the soil back down. Hopefully if I annoy him enough he might get fed up and move on!

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