‘Hidden gem’ Ripon florist turns wasteland to wonderland


Last updated Oct 2, 2020
Victoria Ramshaw started The Secret Garden and maintains it by herself.

Dahlias that smell like chocolate, pink sunflowers and bright blue poppies. It may not be what you think of when you imagine a wasteland but this florist has transformed her small space in Ripon into a blooming oasis for flowers and wildlife.

The Secret Garden, which is – as the name suggests – hidden away just off Studley Road in the city, is trying to change people’s perceptions of flowers.

Victoria Ramshaw started the project four years ago to try and increase biodiversity. Unlike other flower farms, The Secret Garden is a wave of different colours.

The Secret Garden needs 24 hours notice to pick out the perfect bunch.

Someone looking to grab a quick bunch of flowers may need to look elsewhere as Victoria needs a full day’s notice to head out to the garden and pick out the perfect bouquet.

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Victoria’s flowers don’t need any insecticides, any air miles or any plastic. She told the Stray Ferret:

“Florists are used to working with thousands of one type of flower but I don’t think it’s right. What I do is honest and natural. The people who like it really enjoy what I do. I am not here to make a big profit – I am just trying to get by doing something I love.”

The Secret Garden may have only a modest following online, but she gets great reviews from fashion designers, brides to be and those wanting to send gifts to their loved ones.

The former wasteland has been transformed in just a few years.

Coronavirus lockdown has been difficult for lots of businesses but Victoria says that The Secret Garden has seen a spike of interest since summer.

She is trying to get people to enjoy the space she has built more and more. She also plans to host photography and art workshops inspired by the flowers, the wildlife and the river.

Another one of The Secret Garden’s more long term plans is to install glamping pods and renovate an airstream caravan so people can connect with the outdoors.

This is part of the Stray Ferret’s ‘hidden gem’ series. We are trying to highlight small independent businesses. They need to be tucked away but growing in popularity with an eye-catching and unique product or approach. Send us an email with your nominations.


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