29 September 2022

Best Laid Plans

When we first moved to Cornwall, our plan was to grow flowers that would supplement our signature bouquets. Of course, as with many things, it turns out this dream, once in the process of becoming a reality, wasn’t quite what we’d imagined. We’ve mentioned this a few times over the past two years, but to quickly recap for any new readers – as our customers are ordering our signature bouquets based on the photos on our website, if this photo includes our own homegrown flowers, we need to be quite certain that we have enough of those particular flowers to include in the bouquets for the whole week – and it’s pretty darn tricky to guarantee specific numbers of any flower, on any given week; if there are too few, some of our customers get a bouquet that falls short and if there are too many then we have leftover flowers that we’ve spent time and money growing that are in full bloom, ready to be used, and we may not need them all. And we’re not in the business of waste – quite the opposite.

From this predicament, Field Flowers was born – an entirely new product where customers could buy Cornish grown flowers by the box, to arrange at home. We could still grow and offer our customers beautiful, unusual varieties that we can’t get from suppliers and as a bonus, when we did have a generous flush of flowers one week, we could use them in our signature bouquets too, like we’d originally planned. These were introduced last year with a great reception from our lovely customers.

Then we got to thinking – we make bouquets. We’ve been making bouquets for almost 10 years and we like to think we are pretty good at it. Shouldn’t we be growing flowers to make our own seasonal bouquets too? Wouldn’t it be great if we could offer our signature bouquets all year round, supplemented with homegrown flowers when in season, as well as Cornish-grown varieties for people to buy and arrange at home if they’d like, but also an entirely Cornish-grown bouquet, available for delivery across the UK?

This required some major planning last year ahead of this year’s season; to make a bouquet in the style we do, you need various shapes and sizes of flower and you’ve also got to make sure all of those elements are blooming at the same time. So we started yet another Excel spreadsheet and got to work planning what varieties we wanted to grow, working backwards from when they bloom to figure out when they’d need to be planted out and when the seeds would need to be sown.

This year, our selection boxes and single variety boxes were fantastic for spring, when we had lots of beautiful varieties of flowers coming out the field that look great in vases on their own, like poppies, tulips, ranunculus, anemones and speciality narcissi (fancy daffs). As a lot of the elements we need to make a bouquet don’t flower at this time of year it’s a great time to showcase some of these incredible flowers individually. Then summer arrived and with the field in full bloom, we were delighted to be able to offer our farm bouquets for the first time, in two different colour palettes. By October, our bouquet elements will start to die down but we will still have plenty of autumn blooms like chrysanthemums, zinnias, cosmos and celosia to offer as selection boxes after the farm bouquets finish.

So our year in flowers looks like this:

Jan/Feb – signature bouquets

Mar/Apr/May – signature bouquets + selection boxes & single variety field flowers (poppies, narcissi, anemones, stocks, ranunculus and tulips will be the first out the gate)

Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept – signature bouquets + selection boxes & single variety field flowers + farm bouquets

Oct – signature bouquets + selection boxes & single variety field flowers (chrysanthemums, cosmos, zinnia, celosia)

Nov/Dec – signature bouquets

Not that flowers should ever be reduced to a graph, but there’s a lovely upwards curve as we head to summer, tailing off again as the year ends and we have our trusty signature bouquets, there all year round for all your flower needs.

We’re currently in the process of doing the planning and planting to, hopefully, be able to offer more than two colour palettes of our farm bouquets next year which we’re very excited about. Watch this space!

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