Helen trained in Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts and since then has worked as a designer in the voluntary sector but after becoming a mum realised she needed to be outside. That meant a career change into flower growing...happy happy days! For Helen, colour is King and so Sophie is slowly teaching her to love pastels!
Sophie trained on the WRAGs scheme at Appleton Manor and went on to be Head Gardener at Sutton Coutney Manor for 10 years, taking on 4 trainees over that time. She has an accreditation from THRIVE to use horticulture as therapy. As one half of Wilder, she is Queen of cornflowers and all thing waft-y and meadow-y and is slowly learning to love Dahlias!
Care of the environment matters to us both. The flower industry has been a depressing story of using and abusing with huge transport costs and the associated pollution, single use plastic wraps and refrigeration units on a massive scale to name but a few of its crimes. By contrast we want to produce flowers with a lower carbon footprint than shipping them in from Africa, but more than that, we are trying to farm in a way that improves the quality and bio diversity of the land and the soil that we work. To that end we seek to be as sustainable as possible, we don't use floral foam in our arranging, harvest our rain water, don't use pesticides, feed the soil NOT the plants (avoiding chemical fertilisers) and are working towards no-dig. Flower farming is diverse in terms of species and therefore much richer in terms of habitat and food for wildlife than monoculture farming and we seek to encourage as much wild flora and fauna onto the plot as possible (ok we admit that we don't welcome the rabbits!). We work to supply a beautiful product that is good for the land, the wildlife and those with whom we work.
Wilder Flower Farm is near Stow-on-the-Wold, in the Cotswolds. It is run by friends and business partners Helen and Sophie with the cheerful support (and quite often muscle) of our brilliant families and the constant company of our dogs Otto and Gertie. Founded 3 years ago, we are seasonal, chemical-free and a little bit wild. We love what we are doing and spend a lot of time laughing far too loudly. Good job we are not in an office! We deliberately choose flowers (or varieties) that you won't find in Supermarkets or (most) high street florists. We favour scent, rarity, delicacy, plenty of colour and all things foraged!