A FLOWER farm near Builth Wells is flourishing after deciding to diversify a few years ago, but with the future of the original land in mind.

Farmers and the growing need to diversify into more modern techniques to sustain their businesses is nothing new. In fact, it has become a case of adapt or die in the last few decades since the onset of milk quotas introduced in the 1980s, the BSE crisis of the 90s, the foot and mouth outbreak in the early 2000s and now Brexit leaving farmers concerned about even more hardships to come in the future.

But, whereas many landowners have moved into popular schemes like holiday accommodation and tourism, sport or outdoor activities, green energy initiatives or chicken meat and egg production, Aimee and Luke Powell are seeing their budding flower business begin to blossom.

Mynydd Epynt Flower Farm is based in the hills of Maesmynis, just outside Builth, in the shadow of the Epynt mountain range, which holds such significance in local and Welsh history as a whole.

Talented baker Aimee, who used to run a café in town, set up the flower farm at the couple’s 140-acre Cilarddu sheep and free range egg farm in 2018. And while it is a way to subsidise their income, Aimee admits getting involved in the flower business is also aimed at sustaining it for their family’s future and that of the land.

“The idea is to diversify the farm to make sure it’s going for the next generation,” said Aimee, 37.

“Most farms have diversified into self-catering accommodation, I wanted to do something which I could keep working the land and included growing.”

That has involved transforming a fraction of the farm, which includes around 500 sheep and 12,000 hens, into flower beds. “I have turned some of the sheep pasture over to a flower farm, using about half an acre so far.

“I started experiencing with some raised beds in the garden which is about a quarter of an acre and have this year expanded with more beds for more flowers. I grow everything from seed and use organic practices although I am not organic certified.”

Things are looking rosy for the flower-growing family, with Mynydd Epynt Flower Farm now part of a nationwide initiative called Flowers from the Farm – an award-winning membership association championing artisan growers of seasonal, scented, sustainable British cut flowers.

“We are a network of British flower farmers which number about 1,000,” added Aimee.

“We pay a yearly membership for the privilege of being affiliated. For my membership I get support, advice and listed on their website. I grow seasonal flowers with the environmental impact in mind, as shop-bought flowers have a massive carbon footprint.”

Flowers from the Farm is a scheme that has even gained the royal seal of approval. The Duchess of Cornwall revealed earlier this year her passion for creating bouquets as she celebrated the efforts of UK flower farmers.

Camilla spoke about her love of flower arranging in a video message to mark the 10th anniversary conference of Flowers from the Farm.

An avid gardener and flower arranger herself, the Duchess praised the work of Flowers from the Farm in bringing the joy of British flowers to people unable to meet over the past year during coronavirus. At her side was a vase brimming with fresh spring flowers supplied by third generation Cornish flower farmer James Cock – like Aimee a Flowers from the Farm member.

The duchess told the conference: “Over the past, challenging year, there have been few things that have had the power to cheer us up as much as our native flowers.

“Even when we were unable to meet, we could send one another bouquets – and, in doing so, celebrate those we love.

“And though we were unable to enjoy many of the arts we could all be inspired by this country’s glorious flowers and try our hands at creating our own arrangements – happily one of my favourite hobbies.”

The conference saw hundreds of UK flower farmers join in online for a day of celebration in February, coinciding with the launch the 2021 growing season.

For more information on Mynydd Epynt Flower Farm or to order flowers, visit their Facebook page, ring Aimee on 07967 821887 or email a.powell064@gmail.com.