Earlier in the year, I had a request (via Flowers from the Farm) to be open for the Guildford and surrounds Heritage open days. It was very conveniently on a weekend i'd been planning to have an open day anyway, so i said yes please, and we set too finding all about the heritage of cut flower growing in this area.
My current field has only been pasture according to parish records and maps, almost certainly because we're on the North slope of the downs, and the water flows away. However down in the valley in Ripley and Send and the surrounding areas, we found information about crops that had been grown in the late 19th and 20th Century.
Cornflowers were a main crop grown to be shipped up to London for gentleman's buttonholes. Thanks to Clare Mccann at the Ripley History Society, she found us details of accounts from Local residents who remembered which fields the Cornflowers were grown on.
We were also told that the flowers went up to town from Clandon Station, on a passenger train, so they had to be loaded very quickly.
We heard from several older residents that they thought that Dianthus and Carnations had been grown locally as well. Certainly there are Glasshouse remains around that could have been used for those purposes, but the nursery that we were told about in Bookham grew Auriculas.
It was while I was researching this that I found out about the historical meaning of the word "Florist"