The Floral Project was founded by Nicola Bird who is completely passionate about growing beautiful, seasonal flowers. The idea was born in lockdown when Nicola found she had more flowers than she knew what to do with. She reached out to her local charity, Woking Age Concern, to donate them and this was so appreciated it triggered the idea to try get more people involved and create a movement of growers and givers!
Nicola very kindly agreed to do a quick Q&A with us and she is also offering our readers an amazing 50% discount code - see below.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and how the Floral Project came about?
I have never gardened or grown a flower in my life before 2020. My husband asked me what I would like for my birthday in February and when I answered 'A flower subscription', he replied: "Do you know the impact of the cut flower industry on the environment?" I didn't, so I googled and was shocked by what I found with imported flowers and their air miles, processing and chemicals. But because of my research, I also started to realise that we have a flourishing British flower farming industry, and that it was possible to grow seasonal flowers in my own garden for the vase with zero air miles or chemicals. I got hooked, grew more than I could handle in my house and so decided to donate my flowers. And then as I did, others asked how they could do the same and The Floral Project was born.
For those new to the Floral Project can you explain how it works and what the best way to get started is?
I wanted to make it really simple for us all to grow together and share what I'd learned with others. So you can say 'I'm in!' and simply start sowing and growing and giving - but if you're not sure how to get started, I have Flower Kits
and grow-together videos that I've put together so you can sow the same five seeds as the rest of us every single month, until you have armfuls of flowers to donate.
There has been a phenomenal response to the Floral Project. What have been your personal highlights getting this project up and running? Has it been challenging starting a new business in a pandemic?
I have loved the 'magical' elements that have supported this growing journey. ITV reaching out to create a news piece and stumbling across resources that have helped me to learn. But more than anything, I love the pictures in our Floral Project Facebook Group of hospices, care homes, schools and charities all receiving their flowers - along with the shrieks of excitement when people see the first flower they have ever grown bloom!
Tell us a bit about July in your garden? What are your favourite flowers at the moment to cut and arrange? Can you share any amazing floral combinations you've discovered?
July in my garden is CRAZY full of flowers. This morning, for example, I cut larkspur, phlox, sweet peas, ammi visnaga, poppies, nigella, scabiosa, calendula, catmint, clary sage and roses. Sweetpeas and Phlox together are my absolute favourite combo at the moment.
Where do you get inspiration from? Are you a fan of any gardeners or florists or have you done any courses to help you learn how to grow or arrange flowers better?
I'm a big fan of Erin at Floret
- last year I invested in her flower farmer training to learn the real nuts and bolts of how it all works. I'm also learning horticulture with the RHS
and of course I have Willow's course
which is my only arranging course I have done so far - and haven't found I've needed another!
What’s your essential uniform and kit for growing and arranging flowers?
My essential kit for growing is compost (that's about it!). I have a pair of Niwaki snips I got for Christmas for cutting but before that I used a pair of kitchen scissors. Apart from that, all you really need is seeds and brown paper to wrap your flowers in and you're off! It's amazing how much you can do with so little kit actually.
What are you looking forward to this Summer? As lockdown eases off is anything top of your list to do?
I'm looking forward to going away for a few days to Wales - first time in 18 months (!) and sitting on my patio quietly with my pots of flowers (this is the first year I've grown anything in pots- I've been inspired by Arthur Parkinson
to plant up some grasses, dahlias and chocolate cosmos there.
What are you reading right now?
What's your favourite kind of food or meal to enjoy in your garden surrounded by your beautiful flowers?
BBQ and a cold glass of sauvignon blanc - definitely!
Nicola has offered our readers a special discount code WILLOWTAKE50 to receive a 50% discount on your first month's subscription of the Floral Project Flower Club.