History of Flower Farms
Charles Flower became involved in using British native wild flower seed on agricultural land after buying a 175 acre farm at Shalbourne in East Wiltshire in 1980 with the aim of developing more effective methods of countryside restoration. At that time the official line was that conditions on farms were too fertile for wild flowers to be established. Using his farm, Charles demonstrated that wild flowers could indeed be established and he then set up Flower Farms in 1990 and grew wild flower seed crops. He has been at the forefront of developing effective methods of establishing wild flowers on farmland both arable and grassland ever since using yellow rattle (click on blog for further info) as a natural ally to combat grass competition.
Bob Anderson joined Flower Farms as farm manager in 1996 enabling Charles to concentrate more on the advisory side of the business. Flagship projects have included converting 600 acres of arable land around Stonehenge to grassland/wild flowers, extending a downland nature reserve for Butterfly conservation by converting 87 acres of arable land to nature reserve status and converting 65 acres of both arable and grassland for the Earth Trust (formerly Northmoor trust) to species rich grassland.
Wild flowers have been successfully restored to every kind of soil type and habitat across the south of England extending up into Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire with forays as far as Scotland. Increasing numbers of gardeners are now incorporating wild flowers into their garden schemes.
In 2012 the farm at Shalbourne was sold, having convincingly demonstrated that wild flowers could indeed be established on farmland. The seed business continues with a minor name change as Flower Farms Ltd with the seed being supplied by growers in Lincolnshire to whom Flower Farms have sold their entire seed stocks. The seed will be multiplied so that Wiltshire and Berkshire provenance seed can be supplied for projects on the chalk in Wiltshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and Dorset.
The consultancy/advisory side of the business will remain unchanged. Bob Anderson is now based in Devon where he is able to provide a consultancy service.