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An interview with floral expert Kim Dawkins

23 June 2016

Founder of Pig Pen Flowers Kim Dawkins will be at our Vintage Fair on Sat 2 July making beautiful Flower Crowns in two hands-on workshops. Ahead of this exciting event, she spoke to us about her home sown, seasonally grown, country garden flowers - as well as her favourite vintage era! 

How did you get started in the flower business?
I’m a stay-at-home Mum with a passion for gardening that has developed over the last 10 years. I am lucky enough to live in a part of Surrey that is quite rural and after 9 years of making, developing and tending a garden from a scrubby patch of field, it felt like the natural thing to do was dedicate a small patch to cut flowers. I love growing plants from seed and I adore having cut flowers from my garden in my home, I also really enjoy making bouquets and crafting with flowers so with lots of help and encouragement from my husband, I decided to take things one step further and have a go at growing seasonal, cut flowers on a slightly bigger scale. My business is still in the “early days”. It is growing slowly and organically and by that I mean, small steps and lots of learning as I go. There is a big revival at the moment for flowers that are home grown on British soil; flowers that have been grown sustainably, without pesticides and haven’t had to travel for miles and miles to reach their final destination so I think my timing is just right.

Working in the industry can be varied, what’s your favourite part of your job?
It’s hard to pin down one favourite part! I love scouring the seed catalogues in the winter months and have two favourite suppliers; one of which has the most beautiful catalogues and is Queen of the cut flower patch! The other of which has a great sense of humour and a wealth of information to help with growing the seeds on his blog.  I love working in the great outdoors whenever possible and can spend hours in my greenhouse and patch if left to my own devices. I also get huge satisfaction out of selecting flowers form my patch that I’ve grown from seed and turning them into beautiful, natural, hand-tied bouquets. This part of my business really satisfies my creative side and no two bouquets are ever the same!

Are there any particular flowers that you most enjoy working with?
Oh wow, that’s a tough question. I love working with anything that has real scent - sweet peas are fabulous at the moment along with Nepeta. They both win on the scent front for me! I would add that the ones I most enjoy are those that are current in my patch at any one time.  So right now, gorgeous bright blue cornflowers and lovely lacey Ammi Majus, along with acid green Euphorbia Oblongata are highlights!

Are there any challenges in working with the materials that you use?
Oh yes, quite a few! At this time of year - slugs and snails are a huge challenge; they munch their way through everything!!  Keeping cut flowers staying fresh for as long as possible especially when using them for wedding events i.e. button holes, coursages and the like.  Working a cut flower patch also requires many, many hours of weeding, tending and staking!

Your workshop will  be taking place as part of our Vintage Fair. If you could go back to any era for a day, which would it be?
The 1960s flower power era I imagine could be quite fun. I quite fancy myself going around with a lovely floral crown on my head, a swaying floral tunic and those trousers that looked like you have a skirt from below each knee.  Oh, and some sort of fringed gilet!

Create your own Flower Crown on Saturday 2 July at 11.00am, part of our Vintage Fair. These workshops are suitable for adults and children aged 8+ but all ages are welcome. Advance booking is required. 

See more of Kim's beautiful work by following @PigPenFlowers on Instagram. 

Images: Courtesy of Kim Dawkins 


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