Producer of the Month – Ann Fitzsimmons, The Uncommon Garden Company
Ann Fitzsimmons from The Uncommon Garden Company is the Comber Farmers’ Market Producer of the Month of October.
Ann tells us about The Uncommon Garden Company roots and her passion for plants.
When did you start your business?
I started the business in 2007, after finishing an HND in Horticulture at Greenmount College.
This was a total career change, having been a medical rep for 20 years, I had become disillusioned with big business and wanted something more creative.
What drove you to become a local producer?
A love of gardens and a fascination for plants drove me to become a horticulturist specialising in unusual and interesting herbaceous perennials.
Tell us a little about your working day?
In summer my day usually starts with watering! Early in the year I will be sowing seeds, later in the year propagation is more cuttings. Always there are plants to pot up, feed and weed. We are in the middle of the countryside, in a beautiful part of Co Down so nothing is much hardship. In the evenings, especially coming near plant shows or markets I have labels to make, explaining a little about the plants and how best to grow. My customers always like as much information as possible.
As autumn approaches my mind turns to planting bulbs in what I call my lasagne pots, layers of bulbs giving either a succession of lovely flowers over some months or giving a bouquet effect for a shorter length of time. These pretty pots make lovely Christmas presents. Even in the depth of winter I am pouring over the seed catalogues to find interesting and new plants to grow.
What is your personal favourite product that you grow?
My favourite product varies with the season. Currently I am in love with the feathery ornamental grasses and a particular Persicaria called JS Calient, which sports intense pinkish red flowers over red tinged bright green foliage. Just scrumptious!