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Helen Fincham is like a breath of fresh air!! She breezed into our October “In” meeting pulling a handcart packed with flowers, books and an olive tree! She removed her shoes once indoors, as she says she feels more comfortable barefoot, in fact she usually goes barefoot around her farm!

Although she still owns a herd of around fifty beef cattle, she is gradually turning her arable land into flower- producing fields, surrounded by protective hedgerows, where she has fun experimenting to see what blooms will thrive and which ones are more difficult to grow. Everything is done naturally, Helen does not use man-made fertilisers or pesticides. She sees aphids as food for ladybirds, and she composts everything that she doesn’t otherwise use for her arrangements and displays. 

“Everyone should have the chance to appreciate flowers!”, she said, “even if this means we have a single wildflower in a jam jar on the worktop, or a rose floating in a saucer of water. There is no need to buy expensive bouquets!” 

Her philosophy and way of life is to cause no damage to the environment, but to be a part of the natural cycle of life. She pulls up weeds as she finds them, but some she will leave as they can be a protection for some of her plants. She is a qualified florist, but uses her qualifications to suit her own style. She completely disapproves of the cut flowers available in supermarkets – they have many air miles and large carbon footprints attached to them, plus which they are very expensive!

Helen believes in using only seasonal flowers and foliage; she has no greenhouse so her plants grow in the season for which they were designed – none of them are forced under glass or in polytunnels. There is enough variety over the twelve months which means there is no need to grow things out of season. Some of her flowers she dries, to preserve them for all year-round use. 

Flowers and their environment can be beneficial for our mental health, and apart from running workshops and wreath-making courses, Helen says she would like to open her garden and surroundings to help people suffering from depression or trauma, or those recovering from a serious illness, so they can come into a peaceful and therapeutic environment to relax and leave the hustle and bustle of life behind for a while. She would also love to keep bees; apart from pollinating her flowers they would give her a valuable ingredient which would help her to make medicaments for use in alternative healing methods. 

I think at the end of the meeting we all quite envied Helen’s lifestyle, although she neglected to tell us exactly how hard she works to achieve it! If you would like to find out more about Helen, her work ethic and the services she offers, check out her Facebook page, at Fincham farm flowers

On a wet afternoon in the aftermath of storm Ciaran, fourteen of our members splashed and splooshed their way to Craft Nurseries at Ardleigh where we were given a warm welcome and enjoyed a huge variety of delicious cakes with our coffees and teas, before perusing the gift shop! A grand day out despite the weather! Come and join us for more fun times! See our Facebook page for more details. 

Sue Woolgar