Based in rural Benenden in Kent, I set up Blue Hen Flowers in 2012 when, having grown and arranged the flowers for our son’s marriage, I had a discussion with Nick at Hartley Dyke farm shop. He is a great supporter of local produce and at the time was looking for British-grown flowers. I had the field and the passion, and so began my venture into flower farming. Nourished by the years of sheep, pigs and chickens that have roamed the fields, the flowers thrive. Bees from six hives in the neighbouring wood provide a wonderfully buzzy backdrop to my days in the field as they wing from flower to flower.I am a proud member of Flowers from the Farm, a nationwide organisation of flower farmers, and have joined with others to provide flowers for Hampton Court Flower Show (Silver and Silver Gilt) and Chelsea Flower Show (Gold). Blue Hen Flowers now does many weddings and other events a year and I am really lucky to have the much valued assistance of two people as and when needed:
Ruth Fagg is a City and Guilds trained florist ,Level 4 Higher Diploma in Floristry. She works at Leeds Castle and the Floral Studio as well as here, luckily for me, whenever there are big events. She can turn her hand to anything be it floral hoops, arches, pedestals -in fact despite being very petite she loves the large and wild challenge. I have learnt, and continue to learn, a huge amount from her. She is also the maker of the best cheese scones in the business.
Jacky Barden, who has more energy than anyone I have ever known and, besides also working alongside Ruth at the Floral Studio, helps me each week in the Blue Hen field. Brilliant at buttonholes, floral crowns, garlands,she can also drive a large transit van with ease (very useful last year for one wedding involving trees!). Not only that but she is a fount of knowledge on interesting recipes.