The Fortune in flowers

Posted on: 9th March, 2018

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Up on a hill in a field overlooking Glandore Harbour, where there used to be cows, now flowers grow. This is where Ruth Fortune sows the seeds of her trade. It’s where she watches the first cornflower of the year unfurl its petals before it joins the other untamed beauties in her romantic bouquets. It’s where she grows every flower without the use of chemicals and picks each one by hand.

The soil is fed with seaweed and farmyard manure while the plants are fed with comfrey and nettle teas.

Ruth’s flowers offer an alternative to mass-produced flowers that are flown in from places like Kenya and Colombia.

Just like the growing awareness about food miles and pesticides sprayed on vegetables, there is a growing awareness with consumers about where flowers come from and how they’re grown.

A new association, which Ruth is a member of, Flower Farmers of Ireland, is hoping that members will work together to support each other and promote seasonal Irish-grown flowers.

If she’s not hard at work in her polytunnels, tending to her many varieties of seeds, Ruth may be found with her head stuck in a hedgerow foraging for foliage or that little bit of wild honeysuckle that will add something special to a bride’s bouquet!

An architect by trade, she moved back to Glandore in 2013. “I wanted to move back home and I was looking for a way to make a living so was throwing about a lot of ideas at the time,” she says.

That autumn, Ruth took the first tentative steps in flower growing when she bought two 25kg bags of spring bulbs and started planting. The following spring, Ruth Fortune Flowers began to blossom and Ruth made the move from her back garden up to the farm.

“I like being my own boss. It’s challenging and you become very aware of every €10 coming into your bank account but it’s very worthwhile when you see the end results.

“I discovered I love sowing seeds and am still bowled over by how such tiny things somehow know how to turn into beautiful flowering plants,” she says passionately.

Seed sowing has now begun in earnest in Glandore – calendula, cornflower, corncockle, scabious, linaria, wild carrot, to name a few.

“My bouquets are natural, loose and unstructured compared to what you’d get in a traditional florist,” explains Ruth. “I love teaming bright colours together or pale pastels.”

If you’re dreaming about natural, romantic flowers for your wedding day, then Ruth is the person to call. She only takes on a small number of weddings each year so she can give each plenty of attention.

You will also find Ruth Fortune Flowers at Skibbereen Market every Saturday morning or if you want to place an order for a bouquet you can call Ruth on (086) 3606830 or email ruthfortuneis@gmail.com.

ruthfortuneflowers.com

Photos by Cruthu Creative

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17th October, 2018  ·  

SuperValu and AsIAm host unique exhibition in Clonakilty

SuperValu and AsIAm.ie will host a unique exhibition which will enable the entire town of Clonakilty to experience what it is like for people with autism to deal with the world around them. The exhibition, which is free to visit, will be hosted in the Clonakilty Parish Hall from 10am to 4pm on Thursday 27th September. The exhibition represents the final part of the four month journey the town has been on to becoming Ireland’s first ever fully accredited Autism Friendly Town and guests are invited to join on a ‘pop-in’ basis.

The exhibition uses an engaging “questions and answers” format as well as a series of activities to answer people’s questions and enable visitors to step into the shoes of those with the condition. This includes using sound, smells, touch and sight experiments to bring neurotypical (those without Autism) people into the world of those with the condition.

“People with autism often experience a sense of being overwhelmed and confused by what others see as normal life, and this exhibition will allow those attending to understand this more than they have done before,” according to the CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris. “Through visiting this exhibition we believe people will be much better equipped to engage with people with autism who they meet regularly in their day-to-day lives.”

Visitors are given an MP3 player which gives them an audio guide through 15 stages which allow them experience different aspects of life with autism.

Under SuperValu and AsIAm’s guidance, the town of Clonakilty has undertaken a commitment to become fully Autism Friendly – a first for anywhere in Ireland. Over the last four months Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm, and his team have been working with the entire community to receive official Autism Friendly Accreditation.

To do this the town as a whole must deliver:

Engagement and training 25% of businesses and voluntary organisations
Engagement and training of 50% of public services
Engagement and training of 50% of school communities
Engagement and training of 50% of healthcare professionals
Engagement of 3 employers
Reaching 25% of the town’s population
The town has almost reached these targets with this exhibition representing the last piece of the journey reaching and educating as many of the community as possible.

The exhibition was developed by the AsIAm Youth Leadership Team, a group of young people with Autism who act as advocates for the organisation. It is part of a larger campaign to engage young people in Autism issues which includes a social media campaign and a website, youthhub.asiam.ie

Around 1 in 65 people in Ireland live with Autism and are to be found in every community and school in the country. They apply for every type of job but are often misunderstood, excluded or left behind due to a lack of understanding in society.
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