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Planning for our Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend in September

Sammie Hall (Sammie’s Flowers @Kiddall Quarry Farm) shares her plans to open up her flower farm to visitors as part of our ‘Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend’ – our annual celebration of UK grown cut flowers at the people who grow them. Flower farms across the country will fling open their gates from 8th-10th September and offer a great opportunity to meet your nearest grower and to find out more about flower farming life!

Sammie Hall at work gathering flowers on her plot, against an idyllic rural backdrop

On September 10th this year, I’ll be opening up my flower field to the public for tea, cake and a farm tour. This is my second year as a flower farmer on my family’s farm outside Leeds, and my second time opening the farm up for the Flower Farmer’s Big Weekend. The year before I started my business, I moved back to England from Canada in order to be a flower farmer but being a  florist was just an idea. On returning home, I saw publicity for the Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend locally and visited a few other flower farms and saw two very different growing spaces, met two different but equally inspirational women, and left feeling like maybe I could do this too. And here I am, doing it –  due in large part to Flowers from the Farm! It’s one of the reasons I feel so passionate about opening up my space for our Big Weekend event, and I dearly hope I can do for someone else what Fiona and Anna did for me in sharing a little of themselves and their journeys.

Our farm is mainly pasture for grazing livestock, but I have commandeered a small area of around an acre that used to be a sheep paddock to grow my flowers in. It was my dream to have runner ducks roaming the flower garden, and we currently have a gaggle of five, four girls and a boy called Top Knot because of his floofy head piece. They keep my slug population under control and make a mess of any mulching I try to do. Our gang of free range chickens have been evicted from the flower field for causing more devastation than I could justify, but they roam the perimeter waiting for a chance to break in.

I can look out from the flower field over most of the rest of the farm, to the grazing sheep and cattle, as we are on the side of a gentle valley with a small beck running through the centre of our land. It is a beautiful view, and it often brings me out of my head and into the present when I most need it with shaft of sunlight breaking through low clouds, or a rosy sunset creeping across the sky as I pick my evening flowers.

My open day will be a chance to walk around and ask any questions, and I’ll say a few words about my flower farming journey at 10am and again at 11am. There will be free tea, coffee and cake and flower bouquets available to buy. It is an opportunity for anyone interested in flowers or flower farming or anyone simply looking for the chance to unwind in nature to come and enjoy the flowers and listen to the birds on a Sunday morning.

A vibrant summer bouquet of warm tones by Sammie Hall

The thing I love most about having visitors to the flower field is sharing the peace and quiet beauty of it. I feel privileged to have a space to share, and it brings me so much joy to see and hear of the benefits to those who visit in taking some time out of their busy lives to appreciate some flowers. I run yoga, meditation and volunteering on the farm once per month, and open the flower field regularly for pick your own flowers for this reason. I know sharing the flowers as buckets and bouquets has myriad benefits, but visiting the farm and seeing them in place is just that bit more nourishing.

The farm is not a garden, it is a productive cut flower patch, so the layout is a compromise between beauty and utility. And it is certainly not perfectly manicured. Firstly, that’s not my style, but secondly, I don’t have time to worry about it being immaculately weed free. Being a flower farmer is amazing, full of joy and creativity and nature, but it also hard work, and all consuming from spring until autumn. The list of jobs to do is never ending, and making the garden look pretty often gets bumped down it. So you can expect to both see and hear the truth of being a flower farmer, weeds and failures and challenges, alongside all the flowery beauty.

The reality of a flower farm is not what you see on Instagram. You won’t see the hours spent picking,morning and evening; all the bucket washing and dead flower composting; all the behind the scenes email and website admin; the corners of the garden that have been reclaimed by the weeds and dead dahlias and sunflowers claimed by the slugs. But I won’t skimp on sharing the good bits too: the life spent active and outside; the joyful hours spent creating bouquets, my favourite thing to do; the wonderful sense of community with other flower farmers; and the satisfaction, come September, of looking out at a healthy field of flowers knowing that I had a hand in curating that.

I do hope that you can come and visit for my Flower Farmer’s Big Weekend open morning, because sharing my love of flowers and flower farming brings me to life like nothing else and my joy is amplified in sharing it with others. I can’t wait to welcome you to my flower field.

Love, Sammie x

More about the Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend