Shropshire Star

Meet the Market Drayton flower farmer growing seasonal blooms for bouquets and weddings

For many years gardening and flower arranging has been Amanda Williams’ green therapy.

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Amanda Williams runs Gardener's Cottage Floristry

She grows long lasting, scented flowers for seasonal bouquets and weddings on her micro-flower farm in Shropshire.

Tending to her plot helps to clear her mind while the beautiful British blooms inspire her creativity.

Her floristry business began 15 years ago when Amanda agreed to provide flowers for a friend’s wedding.

This encouraged her to learn more about sustainable floristry and to devote more time and space to cut flower growing on a plot of land by her home in Market Drayton.

Since then Gardener’s Cottage Floristry has continued to evolve and now provides flowers for all occasions both big and small.

“I have my beautiful mum, Janet, to thank for my love of flowers. She would always have a vase of garden flowers on the kitchen table so that we could delight in their beauty close up,” says Amanda, who has spent 30 years working for the NHS as a therapist.

“It’s always fascinated me that so many beautiful flowers can be grown from such tiny seeds. Being outside and in the garden has always been my green therapy, it calms me, lifts me and gives me energy,” she adds.

It has taken time and patience to learn what grows best in her soil and what will last in the vase.

“I would say that my trademark is a wild, bohemian style. I try to grow flowers that are difficult to find in the shops but last well in the vase. I grow a mix of perennials, biennials and annuals adding foliage, herbs, grasses and seed pods to give a romantic, country garden feel,” explains Amanda.

Amanda with one of her colourful, scented bouquets

For the spring, she likes to grow sweet-smelling narcissi, ranunculus, anemone, double tulips in an array of colours, star covered allium and glamorous peonies.

Her summer blooms include tall spires of delphinium, fox gloves, verbascum, antirrhinum (also known as snapdragons), frilly ammi majus and scabiosa, delicate corn flowers, nigella (Love in a Mist) and Catananche (Cupid’s Dart) which are aptly named to be included in bridal flowers.

Autumn flowers include jewel coloured dahlia, helenium and zinnia. “I love to add grasses as they make a bouquet wiggle and dance,” says Amanda.

“They also have lovely names”. Her favourites include Briza media commonly known as Doddering Dillies, which resemble a shower of raindrops and Panicum elegans known as Sprinkles, which looks like a delicate firework.

Amanda is keen to dispel the myths surrounding British flowers. “People seem to think because they are British, they will be delicate and not last long. I have done a lot of experimenting to find out what lasts. They will last a week to 10 days and they don’t need flower food as long you keep the vase clean,” explains Amanda.

Amanda has taken time to learn what grows best in her soil

Flower farmers may not be harvesting and arranging flowers at the moment but there is still plenty of jobs to be getting on with.

These include caring for autumn planted seedlings; preparing growing areas; dividing perennials; cleaning the greenhouse and researching new seeds to try.

“There is always something to do, no day is ever boring,” says Amanda.

She has devoted time to learning as much as she can and two books that have proven invaluable are From Seed to Bloom by Milli Proust and The Flower Farmer’s Year by Georgie Newbery.

Her flowering season begins in March – in time for Mother’s Day – and over the following months a wide variety of flowers will start to appear.

For Amanda, it’s a rewarding feeling as she watches her half-acre garden spring into life.

“It’s always wonderful because they are so many amazing flowers to pick from, I’m like a child in a sweet shop,” she says.

During the summer, she will be busy creating wedding bouquets as well as providing buckets of flowers for ‘do-it-yourself’ brides and flower arrangers.

“What drives me is the joy it creates, it never ceases to amaze me. It’s wonderful to be able to grow flowers that make people so happy.

“There is a quote that I love by John Harrigan: Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower,” explains Amanda.

Amanda has joined Flowers From The Farm, which champions artisan growers of seasonal British grown cut flowers.

Members include Rosie Williams from Park Lane Flowers who grows on a slightly larger scale on the Shropshire / Staffordshire border and provides gift bouquets and freshly cut buckets for home styling, DIY weddings and wholesale florist customers.

“There are quite a few flower farms dotted around Shropshire,” says Amanda. “In the last three years, there has been more interest in British flowers. We’re trying to support each other and learn from each other,” she says.

To help more people reap the benefits of working with flowers, Amanda has introduced ‘pick and arrange your own’ sessions this season.

She is also selling gift vouchers so that people can treat a loved one to flowers throughout spring and summer.

For more information, see or to find your nearest flower farm visit