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How a simple supper led me to ditch the scrubs to become a luxury flower farmer

A Northern Irish flower farm is positively blooming having seen a gap in the market for organically grown and sustainable luxury cut flowers.


Hilltop Flowers, based in the hills of East Belfast overlooking Strangford Lough, Scrabo Tower and the Mourne Mountains, is owned and run by flower farmer Angharad Maxwell whose passion for her trade is infectious.


Angharad comments: "The global cut flower industry has one of the biggest environmental impacts of imported fresh produce. Over 90% comes from outside the UK and Ireland where they are heavily sprayed with pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals to preserve them during transport. This has a direct impact on climate change, people and pollinators.”


But at Hilltop Flowers, Angharad is bucking the trend by growing seasonal, fresh, organic luxury blooms with as much scent as possible.


Angharad grows many varieties that can’t be sourced elsewhere and her flowers are chemical free, unique, freshly picked and sustainably farmed. She works with nature and pollinators to produce the highest quality cut flowers which she sells to the public and to high-end florists.


Brought up on a dairy farm in rural Wales, Angharad always loved the outdoors and farming, but her career journey initially took her down a very different path working as a senior physiotherapist. But ten years ago, a simple gift from a friend sparked the idea for a complete change of career.


Angharad said: “A friend arrived for dinner with a bottle of wine in one hand and the most beautiful scented, hand-tied bouquet I had ever seen in the other. She had picked the flowers from her back garden and I realised that I  was growing all the same blooms and more  in my own garden. And so I started picking flowers to make bouquets to give as gifts to family and friends.”


As she began growing more and more flowers, she bought flower farming books and attended cut flower courses, all with the intention of just growing more blooms for her own use.


She continues: “I had the opportunity to take part in a workshop in the London studio of Belfast born, royal florist Shane Connelly which opened my eyes to the scope of the British flower industry.


“Friends kept asking me to consider growing flowers professionally but with a job I already loved, a guaranteed monthly income and a young family, it just wasn’t an option.”


However, in 2021, a change in circumstances would see Angharad take stock and reconsider her future career.


“The hours I was working no longer fitted with family life. I was expecting my third child and my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer, all of which led to the realisation that I needed a job that would be more flexible.”


So she started  planning her flower farm, by attending more flower farming  courses, creating sowing and planting schedules and visiting flower farms in Wales and England.


In 2022 the opportunity arose for her  to rent half an acre of land and half an industrial polytunnel, and so Hilltop Flowers was born.


Angharad continued: “Since then, I’ve been digging, planting, sowing, investing in infrastructure and selling luxury cut flowers to customers including those doing DIY wedding flowers and wholesale, to high-end wedding florists.


“We also advise and teach people how they can plant a garden full of flowers, which they can also pick for themselves.”


As a former physiotherapist, the physical and mental health benefits of gardening is something Angharad is passionate about. "Whether you're new to gardening or an old hand, whether you’ve a garden or a balcony, anyone can learn how to grow beautiful flowers that can be enjoyed outside or cut for a jug or vase."


With all elements of her floristry grown on site – focal flowers, fillers and foliage – Anghard has big plans to continue expanding  each year with more and more planting taking place. She has invested in her own industrial polytunnel where more luxury roses will be grown undercover. She has also invested in unique peony varieties to increase her stock of high end blooms. The future is looking rosy for Hilltop Flowers!


Available for: written articles, (magazines/blogs/journals), speaking events, podcasts, monthly gardening/flower farming columns, television, photoshoots for brands/products. Professional photographs available for use in publications about Hilltop Flowers.


For further information please contact:

Angharad Maxwell at Hilltop Flowers


Mobile: 07732 080371 


We are currently selling to an exclusive network of clients - to join, please email us or use the contact form. 

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