Howe Hill Flower Farm
On the crest of a hill, behind a small deciduous woods near Kilbrittain, Co.Cork, you can find Howe Hill Flower Farm. Our farm is home to our family, some fluffy cats, 3 fluffier chickens, many guinea pigs (some fluffy too), and lots and lots of plants!
We've been growing things here all my life - my Dad used to farm the fields behind us while my Mum grew all our vegetables in the garden and polytunnels. A couple of years ago I took over the smaller of the polytunnels to grow Sweet Peas, Courgettes and Tomatoes. Then, in late 2017 a friend suggested I grow some edible flowers and herbs for her new café, I was fascinated that there may be an opening for such a wonderful product, and I was more than willing to give it a try - and so Howe Hill Flower Farm was born.
In 2018 the polytunnel became home to an array of beautiful, edible flowers and a selection of useful and tasty culinary herbs. We have a large outdoor garden which we used for more edible flowers, and wonderful, natural, cut flowers too.
In 2019 we moved into a larger polytunnel on the farm, as well as developing more of our 1/4 acre field for both annual and perennial beds. 2020 sees yet more bed development, we hope to add a dedicated propogation polytunnel and growing-on nursery area in the near future.
Who Are We?
I'm Felicity (Flicky), and with my team (family!) we run Howe Hill Flower Farm.
My first florist/horticultural job began when I was just 15 years old, working part-time in a large and busy garden centre in Bandon, Co.Cork. In 1997 I moved to Galway to study Art & Design at GMIT and quickly landed yet another part-time florist position at a very busy flower shop just off Eyre Square, I worked here throughout my college years, and as such attained an unofficial apprenticeship learning every technique and trick in the florists toolbox. When college was completed I concentrated on a design business, specializing in jewellery and bespoke millinery - flowers were always a feature or influence. I also taught various specialist craft & design classes during this time at local art schools and further education colleges - many strings to my bow!
From 2007 to 2019 I worked at a very busy retail & wedding florist, and while I absolutely loved it there were certain things that started to niggle at me - so much packaging and plastic was the first, and then realising where exactly some of our flowers were coming from and the huge environmental impact they caused. In 2014 I became interested in growing things, and found that incorporating my garden grown and foraged flowers and foliage gave my designs a unique aesthetic. In 2017 I had a small few customers for edible flowers and herbs, in 2018 I had even more, and some for cut flowers too - the gardens started transforming into a carefully planned commercial style flower farm. In early 2019 I studied the Floret course, and then boom! By May 2019 I became a full-time flower farming florist!! I am now relearning floristry - trying to be as eco-friendly as possible, studying old and new techniques with amazing and inspirational floral design tutors and my new found tribe of fellow flower farmers and flower farming florists. I think that I may be learning both growing and floral design for my whole life, but, that seems like a dream come true for me!
My husband is Mike Prior, he is first and foremost a landscape photographer, you can see his amazing work here. He is also hugely interested in gardening, and occasionally does gardening and landscaping work for other people. He is hugely involved on the farm, if there's beds to build or major landscaping works to be done he is right in there.
My mum, Lorna, worked in a commercial nurseries when I was a child, and she is my go-to woman when I need horticultural help. She also designed all our original gardens with clever planting and natural windbreaks, forming a micro-climate on our seaside hill.
My dad, Ian, mainly fishes for lobster, crab and prawns with his pals out of Courtmacsherry. But, he is also involved on the farm - he is the boss of our compost - no one makes compost like my dad! The thing about soil and compost is that the better it is, the better produce you get from it. Dad's compost is a massive organic lasagne of used animal bedding, cardboard, collected leaves and seaweed - it's created in three huge open bays in a corner of our old farmyard, on a three year rotating system. Dad also wheelbarrows a lot of the compost from the yard to the field for me, we often work as a team loading up the barrows and wheeling them down and tipping them out, it's a big workout! Recently, Dad has begun tending his own crop of dahlias in a corner of the farm, these special babies will also be used in our design work.
By supporting us you are supporting a local, enterprising family who absolutely adore everything to do with plants, nature and the environment. For this we are hugely grateful, thank you.