We always want to have Fern Verrow looking at her best. Beauty is an important factor to our growing philosophy and practices. We take great pride in walking our fields and land on a Sunday looking at the colours and forms of all the plants that we grow here. For the last 7-8 years we have been growing flowers to sell. This started with sweet peas and roses. We chose highly scented varieties as we thought that these things had been overlooked in recent years. This has led to more production of “cottage garden” flowers. Some of which have disappeared from our vases having been labelled as old ladies flowers or not exotic enough. It is a vast and complicated area of growing, and choosing the correct plants to suit our land has been a challenge.
The flowers are grown in beds outside, arranged like a private garden. Some are perennials for example poppies and delphiniums. Tulips and dahlias love it here, and have brought bright jewel like colours to the flower beds. Our flowers are not like anything you would buy from a florist. I mean this both in a good and a bad way. I can see the allure of the perfect blooms that one sees for sale. Flowers are delicate plants and blooms are so thin and fragile that they can be tainted and damaged by even the smallest drop of rain. Our flowers have a more natural look, and are perfect in their own way, but perhaps do not stand up to what has come to be expected from a bunch of flowers that one may buy from a florist.
We pick and arrange our flowers on Fridays, either just after dawn on a hot day or last thing before leaving for London. We only bring flowers that are in the best condition, which at times can be a challenge in wet and windy weather. Foliage from the hedgerows around the farm particularly in May also provide beautiful fresh and natural flora.
We have started a landscaping project here at Fern Verrow and are introducing and creating environments for more naturalised wild flowers. This is not only a potential new product to sell, but will add to the diversity of the farm, and very importantly be a source of habitation and food for insects and other wildlife.
On our herb beds we produce a good selection of popular culinary herbs; these include thyme, French tarragon, chives, rosemary, lovage, sage and mint. Each year we grow nice variety of annual herbs including flat leaf parsley, the highly under-rated moss parsley, dill, coriander and chervil in the cooler months. Herb teas have in recent years been a popular addition to our range. We make tisane posies of sweet cicely, lemon balm, mint and chamomile. Larger quantities are also available to anyone wishing to dry herbs for use in the winter months.