Category Archives: Events

Workshop heaven

British flowers, bradford on avon

Five lovely ladies who joined us for our workshop.

We’ve been making the most of our glorious harvest of beautiful blooms working in partnership with Young Blooms running a series of workshops at Hartley Farm shop and in Newton St Loe. The ladies who joined us made some awesome hand-tied bouquets.

Sharing hints and tips for growing and arranging traditional British blooms was a great way to celebrate British Flowers Week. The British cut flower industry has been in decline for years in the face of cheap imported blooms which can be picked up in the supermarkets, but there is nothing in the world which shouts British summer more than a jar of home-grown sweet peas on the kitchen table.

Why stop there when you can gather nigella, cornflowers in several hues, sweet williams…..the list goes on.

If you fancy growing some flowers of your own, why not sign up to our newsletter? We send out a monthly email full of advice for what to do and grow in your own cutting patch.

And if you don’t have time then there are always plenty of fragrant home-grown blooms for sale over the summer in the farmshop.

Bath British flowers

Sumptuous flowers from the garden

Both workshops were so successful that we’ve decided to run more. The next will be a Floral Heart workshop on 7 August at Hartley. Keep your eyes peeled on the Young Blooms website and in the shop for booking details.

Celebrating British Flowers

We couldn’t be more pleased with the development of the garden. This week we’ve been cutting our first proper harvest of the ‘summer’ and bunches of cornflowers have been on sale at Hartley Farm shop. It’s great to be able to offer home-grown blooms with no air miles to customers – whether they are locals looking for a fragrant posy for a bedside table or a bride wanting a truly home-grown wedding day.

british flowers, bath

All grown in our garden

June 11th saw the start of what is now an annual event British Flowers Week, organised by Covent Garden Flower Market to promote the British flower industry.  “British cut flowers are back in fashion, fuelled by the rise of artisan flower growers and the trend for vintage, seasonality, fragrance and more naturalistic design. Nonetheless, British-grown flowers are still thought to represent less than 15% of the £2bn worth of flowers sold in the UK every year.”

Bath British flowers

Sumptuous flowers from the garde


We celebrated too by holding a British flowers workshop on June 11th which included  a tour of the garden and talk from us, picking some blooms to create a hand-tie, learning some tips and tricks and enjoying a scrumptious cream tea.

British flowers, bradford on avon

Five lovely ladies who joined us for our workshop.



Visitors to the garden

As well as a flurry of spring pre-planting preparation and seed sowing we have been welcoming some special visitors to the Not So Secret Garden recently. We’re always pleased to see Marie Lennon from BBC Radio Wiltshire. Marie has been one of our supporters from the very start, when the cutting patch at Hartley Farm shop and Cafe was just a dream. Recently she came back to the garden to see how the plot is developing.

British flowers

Being interviewed down in the garden by Marie Lennon

You can hear all about it by tuning in to her afternoon show on April 3rd. We’ll pop up a link as soon as it becomes available and we’ll be popping up on the radio once a month to update you on our growing plans and share hints and tips for growing cut flowers. As you can see we’re very excited.


We’ve also been visited by Claire from Perennial, a charity who have been supporting our plans to get Becks back up to the Garden. They help horticulturalists who have suffered accidents or financial hardship and provide a whole raft of advice, help and services for horticulturalists. We all met Claire recently to talk through the situation and are looking forward to working more closely together in the future. You can follow their work on Twitter or by logging on to their website

We’re always happy to show people round the garden. Why not pop in when you’re next up at Hartley ?

Be our British Valentine

The cut flower industry in Britain is huge but I wonder how many of you, picking up a bunch of flowers to brighten a gloomy Winter’s day realise that 95% of the flowers sold in Britain are grown overseas? That’s a change from thirty years ago when only about 5% of the flowers sold in Britain came from overseas.

British flowers

Send your love in a floral way

The buy local, eat seasonal approach to fruit and veg consumption applies just as much to flowers. Of course that means that you can’t always have what you want but that doesn’t mean that a beautiful bouquet can’t grace your home all year round. It can. And we are one of dozens of growers making that happen.

British flowers, bath

The bees go crazy in the summer for the flowers

With the decline in habitats for butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects, buying British grown flowers is an easy way to do your bit along with planting flowering plants to bloom throughout the seasons in your gardens. British flowers in your vase have already helped increase the biodiversity of the area in which their grown and provided food all the way up the chain. Many allotmenteers here at Hartley Farm grow a proportion of flowers for cutting alongside their veggies for that reason as well as the obvious advantages of having a few buckets of blooms to arrange around the house.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, one of the biggest days for florists in the whole year we’ve been thinking about what #britishflowers alternatives could be promoted instead of the ubiquitous red roses, which whilst lovely when home grown and are in reality poor unperfumed jet-lagged things that have been flown hundreds of miles to represent love in the UK in February!

British flowers, wiltshire

Hellebore’s from the garden

Here are our favourites to include in homegrown Valentine’s bouquets
• Anemones in jewel colours are very seasonal for February, not to mention totally stunning.
• Tulips
• Ranunculus
• Narcissi
• Hellebores
• Dainty bulbs planted in pretty vintage teacups and miniature bulbs planted in heart-shaped planters
• Heart shaped woven wreaths
• Hyacinths, pussy willow, viburnum and blackthorn make a lovely bouquet
• Snowdrops
• Violets
• Myrtle -despite not flowering in February the dark green glossy leaves have the
There’s a little of time to think about how you might support local, seasonal flowers for Valentine’s Day. Pop into Young Blooms to chat about what they could do to bring a bit of romance to your Valentine. Perhaps a gift voucher for one of our upcoming workshops would hit the spot with that special someone.
Maybe the colour of Valentine’s Day should be a rich purple not scarlet. It’s certainly the colour of the season in homegrown terms?

Catching up with Helen

chilly weather and the end of the dahlias in the Not so Secret Garden

chilly weather and the end of the dahlias in the Not so Secret Garden

The weather has certainly turned in the last week; we’ve had some proper frost and anyone mooching around Hartley Farm will have seen Helen and Christine hard at work, chopping down the frost-blackened dahlias and barrowing them over to the compost heap. It’s Helen’s turn in the spotlight this month so we’ve given her the opportunity to reflect on what makes her garden bloom and what puts a smile on her face in the Not so Secret Garden.

Helen and Christine moving the roses to their new bed

Helen and Christine moving the roses to their new bed

What’s your favourite cut flower – The bronze sunflower from the Not so Secret Garden. We’ve had so many blooms from the plants and they look stunning with amaranthus and the orange tones of dahlias and chrysanthemums.

And your favourite time of year? – It has to be the Spring with the promise of new, fresh growth and the vibrant greens and yellows of the first spring flowers. Wonderful.

Tell us where is the best place on earth? –  It’s hard to pick just one. Looking over Longleat  Estate from Heaven’s Point, the lake at Stourhead, walking a coastal path and being in the garden….

What’s your top tip for flower growing? – I’m a bit obsessed with dead-heading. Not only does it keep a plant producing more flowers  but it also creates strong, bushy plants.

Is there a gardening task you’d be most likely to get someone else to do? – Yes. It has to be weeding. The weeds in the Not so Secret Garden can be enormous and the stinging nettles grow as soon as you turn your back. (Of course, this means the soil is hale and hearty -Editor)

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from being in the garden? – Beware of the tops of garden canes. They are great for staking tall plants but can also catch and scratch your arms and face.

What’s the best thing about working in the Not So Secret Garden? – Working outside, especially when the sun shines; noticing the plants grow and flourish; meeting lovely people. I’m always happiest in the garden knowing I’m contributing to bringing happiness to others.

The flowers in the garden are still going strong. What would you put in the perfect Autumn bouquet? – Lots of bronze foliage and copper beech, bronze sunflowers, peach and orange dahlias, berries, rust-coloured chrysanths and dark sedum.

If you had half an hour in the garden, what would be the perfect way to spend it? – Wandering around the garden noticing what’s grown and flowering since I last gardened. Listening to the birds, watching the robins peck around the freshly-dug soil and enjoying the sunset after a day’s work.

What is your earliest garden memory? –  Helping my dad in the garden, pulling up plants I thought were weeds; going with mum to the botanical gardens in Bath in Springtime when the cherry blossom was in bloom.

From whom do you get your gardening inspiration? -My father who was a very knowledgeable gardener with an eye for structure and colour. Like me, he loved the garden and regularly visited gardens for inspiration and enjoyment. I also like this piece of inspiration, taken from my calendar last month

” Flowers always make people happier…..They are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.” Luther Burbank 1849-1926.

Don’t forget that although the best of the garden blooms are over for a while, you can still enjoy the season with Young Blooms florists, learning to craft a beautiful and unique festive wreath that will be the envy of all your friends and neighbours!

Fresh Wreath Workshop, 9th December 11am-1.30pm

Dry Wreath Workshop, 13th Dec 11am-1.30pm

Tickets are available in the farm shop, or call 01225 864 948 to book your place.



Out and about at the Great Bath Feast

Garden life has been really busy and last weekend  we gathered up the beautiful blooms and got out and about at The Great Bath Feast.

British flowers, winsley

Our stall at the Great Bath feast

Grace, Helen and Christine  along with a host of Hartley Farm suppliers were at the popular farmer’s market from 10am to 3pm in heart of the city.

British flowers, winsley

Bouquets from the garden

It was lovely to spend the day in Queen’s Square with some gloriously fragrant homegrown blooms. We chatted about our plans for the garden, recent developments, upcoming events and sold some gorgeous bunches of homegrown flowers. We also handed out some of our brand new postcards to people popping in.

Winlsey, British flowers

Our shiny new postcards


British flowers

Fabulous tubers for sale

We also have some of our dahlia tubers for sale so that customers can grow some of these gorgeous buttery blooms next year in their own gardens.

And of course we had some of the best of our handmade seasonal wreaths.

Winsley, British flowers

Wreaths will be for sale

Creating art with succulents


succulent chair

a stunning piece of upcycled living art

The Not so Secret Garden at Hartley Farm is a working, productive micro flower farm.

It is also a beautiful and relaxing garden in which to work and for our customers to enjoy.

We want it to look stunning.

With some thought, planning and creativity it is possible to create a cutting garden which looks good all year round and has one or two arty surprises.

British flowers, winsley

Our newest creation

When the mood takes us and as time allows we like to do a little experimentation in the garden. We’ve made willow structures, planted up interesting pots and upcycled chairs, creating beautiful pieces of living art with gorgeous, easy to maintain succulents.

Grace is a real fan of succulents. They make the ideal raw material to create beautiful, textural, porcelain-like  pieces of living art. It’s possible to create long-lasting pots, wreaths, chairs and even walls with succulents. And they are relatively easy to look after, surviving outside in a sheltered spot in quite low temperatures. As native desert plants they are suited to wide temperature ranges and dips as low as 40º F.

Hartley farm-shop, British flowers

Textural heaven

No matter what kind of succulent you use, the rules are pretty much the same, when it comes to care and maintenance. They prefer a sheltered, south-facing site and need plenty of water and weekly feeding in summer but very little water and no feeding in winter, when the plants are dormant. Beware of over-watering or the plants will rot.. A succulent should never be allowed to sit in water and the potting mix should be as free-draining as possible.

Once they are established, nothing could be easier. They’ll produce baby plants regularly during the growing season which can be pulled off and pushed back in to any barer patches, potted up and given away or used in another project.

Grace loves the idea of creating succulent art so much that she’s running a workshop in the garden soon for anyone who’d like to create their own striking piece of succulent art.

British flowers





Click here if you’d like to join us for coffee, home-baked cake and a few hours being artistic with stunning succulents and upcycled pots on October 17th.

Partying in the garden

A party isn’t a party without flowers and we’ve had plenty to celebrate recently in the garden. Weddings, christenings, birthdays and our very own mini music festival, the Party in the Paddock have all benefited from our locally grown beautiful blooms.

Last weekend we held a very special celebration, throwing open the gates of the Not so Secret Garden to all Grace’s nearest and dearest for her mum’s seventieth birthday celebration.

British flowers

Gathered in the Not So Secret Garden for the Birthday photo

Following on from that, the Party in the Paddock , Hartley Farm’s  very own mini-festival, with food demos, live music, delicious grub and much more was a great  success, despite the Glastonburyesque weather.  It was a foody’s ideal day out  and a real celebration of local produce, both food and flowers. We love doing our bit to promote the cause of British flowers and reduce flower miles for our customers. It’s always a delight to show brides and others what’s blooming just a few yards from our shop and a thrill to pop out in the morning to cut from our very own patch. And it’s abundant right now. Come and see it.

Hartley farm,  British flowers

Our favourite zinnia

There’s plenty of opportunity to wander around the Not so Secret Garden to enjoy what’s blooming well, see what we’ve been up to recently and hear our plans for next year. Despite the dreary bank holiday weather, the rest of the week looks set fair. Celebrate the end of the summer holidays by popping in and taking home a bouquet of fabulously fragrant, gorgeous locally grown flowers from Young Blooms.

Wiltshire, British flowers

The dahlia patch is exploding into colour.

We’re looking forward to spotting you among the zinnias and dahlias.