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Gardening

DIARY OF A FIRST TIME FLOWER FARMER

S

Paul Stickland, Black Shed Flowers

eptember was another very busy month for us here at Black Shed. The cooler weather was a blessing for the plants, Helen, Ilenia, Tabitha and me. The first rains brought a surge of fresh growth; having cut our hard-working plants back hard to save them from the heat, we saw a second flush of delphiniums, veronicas, lysimachias, mallows and scabious. This was very welcome as we kept up our demanding schedule of weddings and events. The dahlias went crazy and we had so many blooms that we ran ‘Pick Your Own’ weekends for the whole month. Then the self-sown seedlings started germinating… The next couple of years will not only be very colourful but also possibly quite random as thousands of eager seedlings jostle for position amongst our neat and well-ordered beds. I’ve been writing these Sherborne Times articles for over a year now and, although the deadlines are often challenging amidst all the activity on the farm, I’m delighted to be contributing to this excellent publication. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have visited Black Shed and said how much they enjoy reading the articles and how pleased they are to learn of all the creative endeavours that are happening in this glorious part of the world. I have a strong sense that Sherborne is on the up at the moment and we are very lucky to have a magazine of the quality of the Sherborne Times to highlight the wealth of talent and enterprise happening all around us on a daily basis. There’s a real sense of connection building in the area and it’s very welcome. It first manifested itself for me at the packed public meeting to discuss the possibility of the town being gifted a worldclass art gallery. Being aware of just how many people in this town and surrounding area care and understand about the arts, and the very positive role they can play in the reinvigoration and inspiration of a whole area, was truly thrilling. I’m really excited about the Paddock Project; it’s an

62 | Sherborne Times | October 2018

astonishing gift to the town. It will breathe a great deal of life and energy into this beautiful town and hopefully generate visitors and income at a time when the High Street is suffering from a radical change in consumer spending habits, unaffordable rents and crushing business rates. There’s a very active community among the independent shopkeepers here; we’re determined to do the best for Sherborne and knowing that the Paddock Project is moving forward is music to our ears. People’s habits have changed quite surprisingly alongside the increase in internet shopping. The rise in the importance of ‘the destination’ has been quite startling and it’s been a big part of the thinking behind the creation of our flower farm. Who would have thought that sleepy Bruton would be host to the extraordinary Hauser and Wirth gallery, that amazing world-class Piet Oudolf garden and all the spin-off benefits of a thriving high street full of interesting independent shops, pubs and restaurants? Tisbury, the genteel hub of the Chalke valleys suddenly became a focus for all manner of contemporary arts as Messums took over the spectacular, huge tithe barn, creating yet another world-class art space within a few miles of us. Maybe it’s Sherborne’s turn now. We certainly start with one or two advantages and some very good reasons to visit the town: our incredible ancient Abbey and the wealth of historic architecture that surrounds it, not one but two historic castles and their wonderful grounds, our unique and picturesque Cheap Street with its views over the Castle Estate’s beautiful woodlands, shopkeepers fighting the trends to offer something different from all those identikit towns, and some great pubs and restaurants. Why, Sherborne even has its own cut flower farm! Add all this together and it’s difficult not to see a positive future for our rather special town. Bring it on! blackshedflowers.blogspot.co.uk

Profile for Sherborne Times

Sherborne Times October 2018  

Featuring Paula Young & Julian Hill of D'Urberville, What's On, Family, Shopping Guide, Wild Dorset, Family, Art, History, Interiors, Antiqu...

Sherborne Times October 2018  

Featuring Paula Young & Julian Hill of D'Urberville, What's On, Family, Shopping Guide, Wild Dorset, Family, Art, History, Interiors, Antiqu...

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