Zen and the Art of Flower Growing

Kealin Ireland Uncategorized

We held a training course recently – “Establishing a Cut Flower Business”. Eight enthusiastic participants from as far away as Clonakilty and as near as Belturbet.

All the course participants had some level of experience or expertise. One woman from Mayo is a tutor on an organic horticulture course; another grows and sells vegetables at her brother’s market stall; one woman – a solicitor – grows flowers on her allotment in Dublin.  Sometimes she cuts the flowers for a wedding or to supply a local shop. Mostly she just tends and cuts the flowers for herself. She told me that she works long hours in her legal practice and she regards her time in the allotment as an escape from her hectic life. She describes her time there as ‘Zen like’ and, this summer, during the long warm evenings, she said she found it difficult to drag herself away, even at ten o clock.

I identify so well with what this woman told me. While our flower business can be demanding, the time spent outside, cutting flowers, is often a surreal experience. Curlews flying overhead, hares ducking and diving down the lane, dozens of butterflies on the verbena and the constant chatter and song of hundreds of birds in the woods and hedgerows around us. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of it all. Mindfulness without the effort.

Of course, we now have the cooler and shorter winter days and there’s not a lot of hanging around in the flower fields. But whooper swans fly over the fields on their way to the lake and come to think of it, swans are fairly Zen like themselves.