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Fran’s business, La-Di Dardy Flowers, is based in Crickhowell, in the Black Mountains of South Wales, overlooking the River Usk. It doesn’t get much more picturesque. Fran is a believer in seasonal, vibrant flower growing and arranging. It’s been a passion for Fran for a long time, but only in the last year has she decided to make it her profession. And being a professional flower famer means having professional tools, and that’s how she became a Rhino greenhouse owner.
About a year ago, Fran started her own flower farming business and it didn’t take long for Fran to realise that she needed a greenhouse if she was going to be successful long term. And that’s how, in 2019, La-Di Dardy Flowers joined the Rhino family, with a Clay Grey Rhino Premium 10x14.
Fran’s dad, Nigel, has a Rhino too! It’s a family affair – and this is a pattern we see time and time again. Rhino owners run in families. Cross-generational love of gardening and the outdoors and being a part of the process of growing and nurturing. It runs in communities too - Nigel’s next door neighbour grows lemons in 2 Rhinos of his own as well!
Fran’s mum, Gill, was a horticulturalist and passionate gardener. And it was she who did the research and decided upon a Rhino for her own garden. Which she then put up all by herself! A lady of modest stature – 5’2 – and of not inconsiderable age. Anyone who has erected a Rhino greenhouse themselves will know that, doable though it may be, it’s no mean feat!
The decision to start her business came about when Fran was asked to do the flowers for a family wedding, and decided to take a flower farming course. Fran, together with family and friends, had spent years helping with flower arrangements for the family and the local church, but this wedding was something a bit more involved. Her intention in signing up for the garden course was to give herself some background understanding, but it quickly became far more than that. Fran came away from the course knowing that flower farming was what she wanted to do.
Long before delving into the trade herself, Fran had been a cultivator of her own garden flowers. She loved the seasonal nature of it and was conscious of the environmental impact of buying cut flowers, so preferred to grow and pick her own. Fran has worked in Environmental Management in the past and grew up on and around farms, so is conscious of her own impact on the ecosystem. The carbon footprint created by transporting flowers around the world is not something that Fran could ignore under the circumstances.
La-Di Dardy Flowers is part of the cooperative Flowers From the Farm. This organisation is nationwide, and is dedicated towards the shared growth of local flower farming and buying. It is a goal rooted in environmental awareness and a desire to improve the UK market of flower farming. As a cooperative, they are a collective of like-minded individuals that foster friendship through the sharing of knowledge. And Fran has now agreed to share some of her knowledge with us, as a Rhino Blogger!
Fran doesn’t claim to be a flower farmer in the grand scale that some of her compatriots lay claim to. She grows in her own modest garden, and believes that anyone can do the same, no matter what the size of your patch of land.
“I want to share what I’m learning with others, and show people what is possible. I want to give people the courage to do it themselves.”
Besides her budding flower farming business, Fran also hosts workshops and starting in 2020, will be writing regular blogs for us about using seasonal flowers and we can’t wait!
To find out more about La-Di Dardy Flowers, go to https://www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk/members/la-di-dardy-flowers or on Instagram @ladidardyflowers