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Brilliant blooms at pick-your-own flower field in the Mearns

Kym McWilliam and Gayle Ritchie in the flower field near Laurencekirk.
Kym McWilliam and Gayle Ritchie in the flower field near Laurencekirk.

A colourful pick-your-own flower field near Laurencekirk is sure to reinvigorate your senses, as Gayle discovers​.

It’s a fabulous feast for the eyes – a sea of colourful tulips framed by the distant Grampian mountains.

These insanely beautiful blooms, planted in a field just off the A90 on the edge of Laurencekirk, are ready and waiting for visitors to pop in and pick them.

It’s a brilliant idea and a wonderful mood-boosting activity to while away a few hours, no matter the weather.

I’d driven past the flower field numerous times since it launched in 2019 and vaguely wondered what the deal was.

But it wasn’t until last week that I actually paid the patch a visit in person.

Gayle and Kym McWilliam in the flower field.

It was liberating to be able to stroll between rows and rows of stunning tulips in hues of red, pink, purple and yellow and to select the ones I wanted to take home to enjoy.

Other people were having fun there, too.

Family friendly

It was heartening to see families dropping in to the scenic spot, with one little boy emitting whoops of joy when he snipped his first flower, his proud mum and dad grinning from ear to ear.

It’s all about trust here and while members of the McWilliam family, who own the flower field, can be seen dotting around, the hope is that visitors will be honest enough to pay for their bouquets themselves.

The field is open seven days a week and payment can be made by Paypal or by leaving money in an honesty box at the entrance.

You can pick your very own flowers.

Hand sanitiser and secateurs are supplied along with instructions on which stems to pick.

Right now, you can choose from tulips, alliums and iris, with prices starting from 50p a stem.

“People can come and pick at any time of day or night,” farmer Kym McWilliam tells me.

“Flowers have come a few weeks later this year thanks to the weather but now the season is in full swing.”

Flowers start at 50p a stem.

While Kym says the flower field won’t make a fortune, she’s been encouraged to see the local community supporting the venture and enjoying fresh flowers.

Flower producers

Kym is part of a new collaborative group of flowers producers – Flowers Grown in Scotland – which aims to showcase Scottish-grown flowers and promote the concept of “grown, not flown”.

“It’s about encouraging people to buy locally, supporting local producers and reducing the carbon footprint,” she says.

“If we can chip away at the imported figure, so that even a quarter of flowers are grown in the UK, that would be brilliant.

Kym and Gayle choose a bouquet of tulips.

“If flowers like tulips, daffodils or peonies can grow in the garden, then why not grow them commercially in a field?

“Fresh flowers are so much better than ones from England or abroad that have been kept in a cold store for a month. Their vase life is much longer, too.”

Scotland’s climate lends itself to growing flowers – with high quality soil and fewer pests and less disease – yet 90% of cut flowers sold in Britain are imported, grown mostly in Africa and shipped here via Holland.

There’s something special about coming to the spot where the flowers have been planted and being able to snip the blooms in situ; things don’t get any fresher.

A view of tulips with the Grampian mountains in the distance.


And while everything is kept neat and tidy – there’s no mud when I visit – Kym says the venture is all about minimum intervention.

“We re-use flower beds and have a grass area sown for people to walk on,” she explains.

“We try to do as little ploughing and manipulation of soil as possible and hand-weed everything.

“It’s what we call regenerative farming.”

Gayle in tulip heaven!

For folk who prefer to have flowers picked for them, the McWilliams have just launched a new shop at Blackiemuir Farm which primarily sells peonies.

They also plan to open a second pick-your-own field at Brechin Garden Centre in July.

Back at home, my tulips are still going strong and continuing to delight, taking pride of place on my dining room table.

I’m already planning another visit to the flower field in summer, when dahlias, gladiolas and sunflowers will be in full bloom.

So much choice at the flower field!
A beautiful bouquet.
  • NJ McWilliam’s family farm has produced daffodil flowers and bulbs for 55 years. The family introduced the Flower Field at Oatyhill, just off the A90, in 2019.
  • Tulips, iris and allium are on offer in spring while dahlia, gladioli and sunflowers are available in summer. Peonies pop up in between seasons. The field is wheelchair accessible but dogs are not permitted. Pop in anytime and pick a bouquet.
  • Check out NJ McWilliam on Instagram or see