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About The Moorland Flower Company

Hi, I’m Mary and I run The Moorland Flower Company on the edge of Dartmoor with my sidekick Monty the Golden Retriever and with the support and intense patience of my husband Andrew.

My inspiration

I started my interest in gardening and wildlife when I was a young child as my Grandfather used to walk me to the local park every morning and talk to me about all the birds, trees and plants and together with my Ladybird guidebooks we would sit, and he would patiently teach me about them all. I remember spending afternoons as he taught me in the old wooden greenhouse how to grow tomatoes and propagate dahlias. Only recently, after I started growing cut flowers when researching his history did I find out that before he lived with us, he had a large garden in another area of Plymouth where he used to grow cut flowers and wrap them up and take them to Plymouth station to go to London to sell- it’s obviously in the genes.

Grandfather and Mary Marshall giving a talk

My background

My background otherwise has been far from agriculture, but I have never been defined by one career and have pursued my interests in many directions. I left Plymouth to go to Manchester University to study Medicine and stayed several years to come back to my roots in Devon having missed the Moors and the coast of Devon and Cornwall where I loved to sail. I became a rural GP on the edge of Dartmoor for over 20 years bringing up my 2 daughters and as well as my day job I also wrote for magazines and carried on my yachting interests being an RYA Medical Instructor and also with the Marine Safety Agency instructing Round the World Sailors having to deal with medical emergencies at sea with basic medical equipment and supplies.

Starting out

I had a small garden but was fairly unsuccessful with it as I was not able to spend the time it required to do it justice- I was however quite successful with giant carrot production not wholly appreciated by my children at the time!

Although not flourishing, I found working in the garden very relaxing and so when I moved to a bigger house with a large vegetable plot my interest was reborn. Soon the vegetable patch was taken over by the growing of thousands of sweet peas and ammi majus, I discovered my passion for tulips, anemones and other gorgeous blooms which became stronger and stronger. Although I had a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding medical career there was a longing to spend more time in the peace and tranquillity of the garden and so I took a leap of faith and took early retirement to pursue interests more floral.

Self-taught

I am mainly self-taught via books and the internet but gained tremendous insight and knowledge from Floret, an American flower farm that started from scratch and embarked and completed their full course. I have also gained and shared knowledge being a member of Flowers From the Farm – a group of over 1000 diverse flower growers all over the UK who share knowledge and expertise with a spirit of collaboration and not competition.

The Moorland Flower Company today

I am now to be found mainly in the garden, greenhouse or poly tunnel, thriving on my passion for growing seasonal flowers using organic principals, and with Mother Nature producing seasonal blooms which have the added benefit of feeding the local bee and butterfly population. When not growing, I can also be discovered in our barn teaching workshops with guest florists, on wreath making, flower arranging and growing your own cutting garden, invariably accompanied by very calorific but fabulous food by our local caterers (white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake being the most requested speciality).

Monty the dog, sitting in Bluebells