Hello my flower loving friends, welcome to part one of how to be a successful flower farmer. Before I begin, if you’re new to A Bunch Of Wild then hi, my name is Emma Connolly and I started flower farming back in 2016 on a local allotment plot. I now only use my garden and farm flowers for my art and styling businesses. I also have a few local friends who are flower farmers that grow flowers for florists and pick your own. Over the years I’ve picked up on the key elements that make flower farming work and that is what I want to share with you. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out, are already farming or its still a pipe dream, it always helps if someone that’s been there shares their knowledge.
My best piece of advice is to be niche! There is so much competition now as flower farms spring up everywhere. When I first started back in 2016 I was (i think) the only one in Bedfordshire, I was registered with flowers from the farm and I remember them saying ‘Oh how lovely, we haven’t got anyone in that part yet’. Now, I believe there are loads. Whilst some may relish some healthy competition, when something you want to do is already overcrowded it leaves you wondering if you can really do it and stand out… Well yes you can! And you can do this by specialising. Being a specialist grower of either a certain type of plant (think lavender, dahlias, chrysanthemums, larkspur… you name it, if you dedicate your time to one thing and become the go to person for the best dahlias- tubers- workshops on dahlia propagating and so on then that passion will succeed! You do not need to grow everything and try and cater for everyone, you will become exhausted!
You could choose to specialise in only cottage garden flowers/perennials or herbs. People worry that they need to fill all months with flowers to earn money but that simply isn’t the case. When you become a flower farmer you have to think on your feet and look at other ways of bringing in an income and teaching is high on the list! Covid has also taught us that online learning is not only possible but also so much easier, especially if you cant get somewhere.
Consider where you will sell your flowers and who your target audience will be. Do you wish to grow flowers purely to use in your own business or are you selling to a florist, maker or directly to the end customer.
Consider growing flowers for trade. Dried flowers are still huge right now and I predict will be for at least a few more years. You could specifically grow only flowers for drying. These could then be for you to make lovely things from and sell or they could be supplied to florists/makers. Dried flowers also demand a high price tag due to the drying time involved but are still very lucrative. If you want my personal opinion on what to specialise in right now then dried flowers/grasses would be it!
The trick is to really make the most of one thing and become known for that! It could be a service… You could operate your flower farm as a pick your own only and offer picnics too to make it extra special. People could book their slots and you can see then how to manage cash flow. It’s always easier when you can see bookings!
You could grow flowers purely for workshops- these don’t have to be floristry workshops either, think outside the box like growing herbs and teaching people about them or, how to make skin care. Or, you could run a flower farm solely for the purpose of teaching other people how to grow flowers and start their own flower farm.
I grow my flowers now for my art, I press them to make into botanical pictures and I also use them to press into clay which I then turn into mugs and vases. I also dry them to make wreaths and lastly I use them to teach photography and styling to florists and growers. I have a definite end product/customer and that is key.
If you start small, make it perfect, become the master of that thing… then everything else will follow and you can add on afterwards.
I hope you found that helpful! Don’t forget you can chat to me over on Instagram @abunchofwild And if you wish to start a career in flower farming I have an online business course in how to get started.