It's always good to talk about flowers with fellow enthusiasts, and to encourage other people to get growing if that's where their passion lies. I have loads of mails and some calls from people wanting to get going, wanting advice and so on. I know everyone does it differently and I want more and more people to grow real seasonal flowers and get the market going - think how many conventional florists there are, there's room for a whole heap more of us.
Early last year I had a visit from a local girl, very enthusiastic, had a patch of land nearby and was asking what I thought would be good for her and what the market would like as she wanted to carve a niche. She was waxing fairly lyrical about growing roses and I was v encouraging as there's huge room for that, but I think I was fairly enthusiastic about all of it, showed her round after re-organising the appointment time several times to suit her childcare needs, she stayed for several hours and chatted with me and Meg, coffee and cake and all the usual. I never heard from her again. Until this year I hear from the guy who runs the local town market that she'd been asking about selling bunches of seasonal mixed flowers in the market but he said no because it is too small to have two people selling effectively exactly the same thing. Now I know business is business but it would have been good if she had at least called to say thank you after visiting here and taking up our time, I gave it willingly at the time but it didn't feel so good when she seemed to be trying to be on exactly the same patch doing exactly the same thing - only with more fancy packaging! It wasn't about competition because frankly that is not a large part of my business but it is about good will and local pr and I do like to try to sell locally when I can. And this area is very underpopulated and no huge centres on the doorstep so not really appropriate to support two cut flower businesses, not on exactly the same patch. And if she had talked to me it would have meant she could maybe have helped me out if I had a large wedding, I could have used some of her flowers, or even vice versa, I just didn't like the attitude.
Then this morning I got up specially early to prepare a small amount for the very local village farmers market which I've been supporting since it started. I couldn't go last month because I was at Hampton Court and I certainly don't do it for the money but because I believe in community enterprises. It is in my local community hall, up the road from where I live. And find the organisers have let this other girl in, even though I have been coming since the start and they profess to want me to be there and the other girl is not from the village. I was tired and fed up as the market is so tiny (no more than 15 tables) it certainly doesn't need two local flower producers. It is not about the cash, but about the attitude. I do believe that we all need to respect and cooperate with other local producers rather than trying to walk over them, and I was tired and left as I just couldn't be bothered with it all. It was great to be at home as that was where I wanted to be anyway, but I was annoyed at the lack of loyalty, or communication. If the organisers had told me they had let the other girl in last month because I wasn't there, or that she was coming, I could have stayed in bed. The good thing is that we're out to dinner tonight so I can take some magnificent bouquets!
There are lots of autumn colours appearing in the gardens, but still lots of lovely soft blues and whites and creamy yellows too.....