Even after more than a decade as a flower farmer, I still have so much to learn. In fact, I am acutely aware that I’ll never know everything there is to know about all things horticultural – and I’m okay with that.
Kim Vaux, one of my Seed to Vase community, feels the same. Having had a keen interest in flowers for many years, she joined the course after coming across an ad on social media.
Already experienced in working with flowers, the mum of two came to the course with the much-valued skill of floristry already under her belt, as she explained when she chatted to me from her home.
“I’d taken a few courses over the years, so when my daughter told us she was getting married in 2018, we decided that it would be lovely if I did some of the flowers for the celebrations.”
“I ended up doing all the table centrepieces – partly to save money and partly to add a really personal touch. The arrange‐ ments I put together we as good as anything the florist had done – even if I do say so myself, so I did begin to wonder what else I could do with the skills I’d developed.”
Having moved to Somerset from the South East in 2019 to be closer to her parents in Wales, the lack of available flowers during the pandemic gave her the impetus to grow her own, as she continued.
“Our new house in Somerset came with some land. We have a field for our two rescue ponies and then an orchard, which has lots of room to grow plants and flowers, so it was all perfect timing really.”
“That said – the ponies are so fat! My daughter, who’s an equine vet, keeps telling me off!”
With a handy husband and truckloads of her own, good quality pony manure on hand, Kim set about growing and learning, immersing herself in the course.
Already with some growing knowledge under her belt thanks to the beautiful orchard behind her house, which produces a wide selection of British apples each year, and her husband’s green fingers, Kim has now truly been bitten by the flower-growing bug.
“My husband grows veg and he just loves a project, so he built me some raised beds. We’d already started growing flowers before the course started, but my knowledge just grew so much – I am learning something new every day!”
As the weeks went by and her garden grew, Kim realised that she was regaining some valuable ‘me time’, time for her to be alone with her thoughts, to enjoy the peace and the relish in her growing. Having lost her mother in early 2021, she discovered the community and the course provided her with a welcome distraction.
“I find that I can really lose myself in the garden – it’s so wonderful for my mental wellbeing and I feel very lucky to be able to get out there as much as I do!”
During the eight months of the course, Kim has seen some wonderful successes with what she has grown. She’s started selling her blooms locally and has already been able to recoup almost half of her outlay so far.
“My husband is a retired Chartered Accountant, so he kept a spreadsheet of what we spent and what came in. I was surprised to see how much we’d managed to recoup, but I’m not doing this for profit – as long as I can cover the cost of my materials and keep my hobby going, I’ll be happy!”
For Kim to have already covered fifty percent of her initial outlay in her first few months is very impressive. Of course, it absolutely does help that Kim has her own manure factory – her ponies – that will be a huge cost-saving, but I am always keen to impress that growing and selling flowers isn’t an easy business – and it’s certainly not the skipping-through-the- daisies lifestyle people might think. It’s hard work, but it really does bring so much joy!
“I started selling the flowers in a little jar for a small amount – people seemed to like them, so I was keen to explore what else I could do.”
“Towards the end of the summer I was selling bouquets from the local Post Office and the village store, and they were also very popular – they sold out most days, which was delightful to see.”
Now completely hooked on growing, Kim has no plans to set up a big business with her newly found green fingers, but she still plans to sell her beautiful flowers during next spring and summer – but it strikes me that Kim isn’t the type to limit herself!
“Well, I will definitely be producing and working with dried flowers more – I have a bit of a bug for them – they just look fabulous! I am also hoping to run some courses. Currently, I am working on a wreath-making course within the village – I’m keen to see how that goes and go from there.”
“But, no – I have no desire to turn this into a business – I do not have the energy for that!”
“Between the dogs, the ponies, and the garden I am pretty busy,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of time for much else!”
With her tulips already planted, her Dahlias tucked up for the winter, and some new roses on the way, Kim has everything lined up for a gorgeous year. Thankfully, she’s signed up to the Best Bunch group, so I can follow her journey and enjoy her growing with her.
“I had to sign up – I enjoyed the Seed to Vase course so much, and I also enjoyed the community that came with it – everyone is just so helpful and kind.”
The community side of what we do here is so important to me – as I have already mentioned. Giving people time, space, and company to immerse themselves in something that completely takes them away from the pressures of everyday life – whether that’s work, family, or health problems. I also think it’s always wonderful to keep learning. I am continually learning new things – even after ten years of running the business I am still finding new plants and new techniques – and that’s probably the part I love most about it all – and something lovely Kim has discovered too!
“Yes – this has all been a huge learning curve – I have absorbed an awful lot of new information, but I feel it’s impossible to ever have the full knowledge of everything!”