Interview with: Jen Stuart-Smith
Company Name: Blooming Green
Location: Loddington Farm, Linton, near Maidstone in Kent
How did Blooming Green get started and how long has the business been going?
My cousin Bek and I started Blooming Green in a mushroom shed on the family fruit farm in 2007.
I’d pestered Bek for years to start an eco-florist, and as the movement towards locally grown produce and British-grown cut flowers really took off, she got excited at the thought of being involved and finally gave in.
Before we mulched the first beds and sowed any seeds we did our homework. We found out about growing foliage at the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall, and took LANTRA funded training under the Women in Agriculture initiative.
After we’d prepared the land and established the flower beds using borrowed equipment from a neighbouring strawberry farm, we waited and watched the ground hopefully to see what would emerge. I’m happy to say Blooming Green has grown steadily from that first year.
Why is the business called Blooming Green?
Our ethos is about being environmentally friendly, creative and sharing a passion for organic and locally grown flowers. We use the natural beauty of flowers and foliage to prove that “green” is anything but dull.
Who works at Blooming Green?
Our success comes from the mix of our skills and personalities. My big cousin and environmentalist Bek is at home in the polytunnel or out on the plot. She nurtures our seedlings, chats to the perennials and jokes that she avoids contact with customers as much as she can, although she’s great company really.
I’ve been creating rustic flower arrangements since I was 12, when I entered a local garden show. I arrange flowers once they’re picked and impart my love of flower arranging to brides-to-be.
Where is Blooming Green based and do you have a shop? Which areas of the UK do you cover?
Blooming Green is on an acre plot in the middle of our family fruit farm near Maidstone in Kent. Brides love the experience of pick-your-own wedding flowers and many then learn how to arrange the blooms themselves. For our full wedding flower service we can also arrange delivery as part of the overall package. Cost-conscious brides, using the budget wedding flower service, arrange for friends and family to collect their arrangements from the shed at Blooming Green, or they come themselves, to de-stress before their big day.
What type of flowers can you provide for a wedding?
We major in rustic, seasonal, Kentish country-garden flowers. From spring through to autumn we open up the plot to brides-to-be for the unique experience of pick-your-own flowers. The blooms truly reflect the time of year in which they are picked, with the colour and scent that goes with it.
With either the full wedding flower service or online budget options, we can provide everything from bouquets, buttonholes and table decorations, to flowers for the church.
Brides have the option to learn how to arrange their flowers if they pick their own; our wedding flower courses make a great option for a hen party.
Because we only use our own flowers (nothing is imported), we don’t promise specific flowers. However, we do guarantee that they will be gorgeous and freshly picked the day before they are arranged. We are also very happy to work to the bride’s colour scheme.
What sets Blooming Green apart from other wedding florists?
Our seasonal, organic flowers come with the unique invitation to not only pick-your-own flowers but learn how to arrange them too.
What have been the most popular colours and flowers for weddings in 2014?
Bright, summery, ‘harvest-field’ colours, using flowers such as cornflower, agastache, ammi majus, scabious and grasses.
What do you think will be the trend for 2015 wedding flowers?
Local, English, seasonal flowers.
Does Blooming Green have a specialist floral area?
We are the only people offering pick-your-own English, seasonal flowers. We love seasonal, natural country-garden flowers and experimenting with unusual seed heads and foliage.
What is your top tip for choosing wedding flowers?
When it comes to choosing locally grown seasonal flowers my tip is to keep an open mind. Instead of setting your heart on a specific flower, think about the overall look you want to achieve, your colour scheme, and whether you’d like large, dramatic blooms or tiny, delicate buds.
Random question… Who is your idol?
What is your favourite flower?
It changes from week to week… Verbascum, scabious and veronica are all recent favourites