Who are the Flower Farmers of Ireland?
copyright Kayla Yestal
Seasonal, scented, freshly-harvested Irish cut flowers and foliage, grown with love and arranged with flair…this is what’s at the heart of the Flower Farmers of Ireland association, whose members can be found all around Ireland, from the wilds of west Cork to the damp meadowlands of Leitrim. Whether it’s a bouquet of sweetly perfumed narcissi in spring, a delicate tangle of roses and scented sweet pea in summer, a fiery-hued arrangement of dahlias, in autumn or a wintry Christmas wreath embellished with decorative seedheads, we pride ourselves on growing and arranging the freshest and most beautiful seasonal blooms and foliage for market as well as for both public and private events.
Many of the flowers we grow on our flower farms and use in our bouquets and arrangements are the kinds you’ll never see for sale in your conventional florist shop, the sorts that are far too delicate to be dipped in preservatives and bundled into refrigerated containers before being shipped vast distances from far-away countries. Instead we’re proud to be a part of what the New York Times recently described as ‘a floral revolution’, a powerful movement that’s radically redefining the global cut-flower industry by producing locally-grown, seasonal, scented blooms for people who love their flowers to look and smell as if they were freshly picked from the garden that morning.
Credit: Belle & Beau photography
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
The Flower Farmers of Ireland exists to promote the work of Ireland’s commercial cut-flower and foliage growers, at all levels. We advise and support members in matters of cultivation, marketing, sales, and opportunity. We believe that flowers & foliage should be grown sustainably, with respect for the environment and people in the trade.
Commonly Asked Questions
Can you tell me where I can find workshops or training relating to flower farming?
I love to garden and I love flowers, how do I go about becoming a flower farmer?
We advise starting small and doing your research. Start by defining your customer- will you be selling at a farmer’s market, directly to florists or will you be a farmer- florist? There are lots of great books and blogs out there to help you choose the varieties that perform well as cut flowers and Ireland has a perfect climate for growing some of the cooler temperature annuals and perennials. Choose some varieties that will work well in your soil and aspect and grow some test beds. Reach out to a flower farmer and ask for advice or join our organisation as a seedling member and avail of our member’s forum to ask questions specifically regarding growing in Ireland.
Do any of the flower farms sell flowers to regular consumers to be arranged at home?
Many of our members sell market bunches at farmers markets around the country. In the directory on the website, filter results by specialty and select Market Flowers to find the grower nearest you.
Do you need to be a registered business to become a member?
We do not require our members to be registered businesses. The seedling membership is perfect for those just starting out who would like to meet other growers and research their options.
If you are making any income from selling your flowers we do recommend you register as self- employed and if you are trading under a business name other than your own name, you should register it with the CRO.
Can you recommend some reading to help me get started with planning my cut flower business?
There is an abundance of information available online and in various specialties. You do need to adapt for the irish climate however so we recommend getting stuck in, planting some seeds and seeing what works for you.
US based blogs:
UK based blogs:
Cool Flowers by Lisa Mason Zeigler
The Flower Farmer’s Year by Georgie Newbery
Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein
The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski
Grow your own cut flowers by Sarah Raven
The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley
Specialty Cut Flowers by Alan Armitage and Judy Laushman
I want to start growing flowers, where is the best place to buy seeds/ bulbs from?
There are many suppliers out there selling quality seeds and bulbs but it’s hard to find one supplier that will supply all the varieties you want to grow. As a result, it makes sense to shop around. Some of our favourite suppliers are:
Seedaholic- Irish company https://www.seedaholic.com/
Chiltern seeds https://www.chilternseeds.co.uk/
Kings Seed https://www.kingsseeds.com/
Roger Parsons for sweet peas https://www.rpsweetpeas.com/
Floret Farm (US based and be aware customs duty applies) https://shop.floretflowers.com/shop
Sarah Raven https://www.sarahraven.com/
Moles Seeds https://www.wholesale.molesseeds.co.uk/
Higgeldy Garden http://higgledygarden.com/
Premier Seeds Direct https://www.premierseedsdirect.com/
Beechill bulbs https://bulbs.ie/
Rose Cottage Plants- (dahlias) https://www.rosecottageplants.co.uk/
Anglia Bulbs https://www.angliabulbs.com/
Jelitto- (perennials) https://www.jelitto.com/
Peter Nyssen https://www.peternyssen.com/
Kwekerij Schipper- (dahlias) http://www.kwekerijschipper.nl/