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.

Filtering by Category: Summer

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! :)

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!


Real Wedding

It's a relatively quiet time of year for me right now and a good time to share with you a wedding I provided flowers for earlier this year.

Laura got in touch with me in early 2016 looking for flowers for her wedding in July, having been following me on Facebook for a few months. We had a couple of phone conversations and she sent me some photographs before our initial consultation, and straight away I got excited about her wedding as she had great taste in flowers and I could tell this would be a lovely one to do.

The only issue that came up early on was that Laura's favourite flowers, and ones which featured strongly in images she liked, were ranunculus and peonies, both of which were out of season in July. With that in mind we looked at options for flowers with a similar look which we could use instead, and garden roses fitted the bill.

In our initial consultation we came up with a good idea of what flowers and colours we would use along with styles and types of arrangements required. We then met again a couple of weeks before the wedding so Laura could see the flowers growing and we wandered around the flower farm, picking a selection of the ones we had in mind in order to come up with the final chosen ones!

I absolutely loved the finished arrangements and had some great feedback from Laura after the event.

If you are planning a wedding and would like to see what I can do for you please get in touch.

Dahlia Love

Another Winter is upon us and although my growing season for the year is over the dahlias are still going strong. Whilst at the flower farm the other day this reminded me that last year I meant to write a blog post abut these fabulous flowers and I I'm now going to make up for it.

Dahlias are one of my favourite flowers; I love them for their wide range of colour and beautiful, showy forms. There are single, open varieties such as the infamous Bishop of Llandaff to tiny delicate pompoms which may only be 3 or 4cm in size, to the huge Café au Lait and other decorative dinner plate varieties which can easily be 25cm in diameter. Of course you can't forget the spikey cactus forms and serenity of the water lily dahlia (and that's not an exhaustive list of the forms available).

In terms of colour again there is a huge choice and when you take into account the bi-coloured flowers I wonder if dahlias may have one of the biggest range of colours available in one family of flowers. The only colour which is still not seen in dahlias is the elusive blue - the reason why blue is so rare in flowers would be enough to fill another blog!

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Dahlias have been in Europe for over 200 years now and originally came from Mexico. They are typically grown from tubers and can also be grown from seed but when grown from seed they can naturally hybridise, which explains the huge variety of colours and forms we see today.

If you love dahlias as much as I do then the time of year to get excited about is July as this is when they start to flower. They are a fantastic addition to any bouquet or flower arrangement and I use them regularly through the fact I now have over 400 dahlia plants so I am practically drowning in dahlias but I'm not complaining!

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

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! 

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