All these beauties cut, resting in water before 8.30am this morning. Must be time for a cuppa, don't you think? The scent of the first outdoor Sweet Peas is a treat this week as they're loving the warm weather.
How he has the energy to run in that fur coat on a hot day like this amazes me! With the forecast set to be high 20's centigrade again today, we have to be up very early in the morning to work on the Galloway Flower Farm. Then this evening we'll be cutting flowers for tomorrows orders when it's cooler.
Afternoons are for admin only this week (oh & maybe just watching a little tennis!)
Cornflowers are one of the few true blues in nature - such cheerful flowers, aren't they? Exceptionally easy to grow & long lasting when cut - they have to be a favourite Summer Flower. These little treasures are bunched ready to grace dining tables tomorrow.
Another 'garden style' bouquet delivered this morning - too windy for an outside pic today! Delphinium, Allium, Lupins, Cornflowers, Sweet William & more in the mix - 100% grown here in Galloway. #gardenstylebouquet#BritishFlowersWeek #GallowayGrown
This is the Dahlia Polytunnel - all growing fast in the recent heat & ready to be planted out.
About 500 in here - do you think that's enough?
Oh, good job there's another 50 in the main polytunnel!
I do love a dahlia in a bouquet - such a variety of shapes, colours & sizes. They're one of the most versatile families of cut flowers & so easy to grow.
This year it's going to be quite a display at the Balmaclellan Dahlia Festival!
Warm weather, long days & blooms bursting into a riot of deliciously scented colour - it has to be June at Galloway Flowers. I love having a wide choice of flowers to cut again - making up bouquets & wreaths is so much easier. Every one can be unique as each week new flowers reach their best, while others reduce in numbers. This week the Sweet Rocket, Sweet Williams, Dutch Iris & Cornflowers are stunning, Next week the first Sweet Peas in the tunnel & the Foxgloves should begin, & then the roses will be joining the mix later in the month. They might be late this year but definitely worth waiting for.
We're busier with weddings than ever before this month & we're spotting a trend among our couples for more colour - more requests for blues, lemons with whites & bold brights such as red, yellows, purples. I'm taking this into account when ordering for next year - it may sound early but I've already ordered the Tulips & Narcissi! While this years flowers are vivid in my mind, it's easy to do as I remember which were good performers, loved by Customers - & which were less so...
Last Autumn we invested in many new Peony plants as they thrive here. They're such a glamourous flower for early June weddings & bouquets. The first flowers are coming now & there are some beauties, including the one pictured. It'll be some years before these plants produce a large crop & then they'll go on flowering for 35 years plus.
We sent flowers to the RHS Chelsea show to be included on the Flowers From The Farm display in the Pavilion. Leading Florist Simon Lycett generously made his London workshop space available & the flowers were arranged by a team of FFTF members. The display won a Gold Medal, an almost unheard of achievement for first time exhibitors at Chelsea. There's been lots of poitive media coverage (including the BBC coverage) & it has raised the profile of British grown flowers.
We're cutting lots of flowers now & I’ll be bringing these to Kirkcudbright Farmers Market on Sunday 24th June & to Loch Arthur Farm shop on Fridays 15th, 22nd & 29th. Bouquets, wreaths & Flowers to arrange yourself can also be ordered to collect from the Flower Farm.
Enjoy these long days especially the mornings when it's quiet, fresh & easier to get out of bed. An early morning dawdle in the garden with a cup of tea is such a lovely way to create a positive mood . As they say, remember to smell the roses...
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in June
The speed plants grow in May is breathtaking - for months it seems the field looked like rows of mud, dead sticks & horticultural fleece. Now it's almost magical how this is being transformed by lush, fresh growth & buds. It looks like a Flower Farm again as the beds fill up up with new plants & the brilliantly coloured Tulips bloom.
And it's about time too - in a few weeks, our flowers are on their way to the Chelsea Flower Show! I was beginning to think my promise made back in January to send flowers might have been rather rash. There may be a few sleepless nights ahead yet, & much fleece deployed to keep them snug, but I think it's going to be on target. The flowers will be used on the 'Flowers From The Farm' display in the Pavilion. The display will feature flowers from members (such as ourselves) of this not-for-profit network of Flower Growers from across the UK. It's designed to raise awareness of the flowers grown in the UK & encourage Florists & the public to buy locally. Only about 10% of the £2 billion spent on cut flowers in the UK each year buys British grown flowers. The other 90% is imported, mainly via the auction in Holland, & much is grown in Africa & South America. We'll be sending Nectaroscodum (see picture - formerly called Allium Siculum) to the show.
Planting continues for this season's crops - space is getting tight in the Dahlia polytunnel (I went a bit mad this year & have many, many more than previous years). I just can't resist the variety of colours & shapes available! Ken thinks I should join 'Dahlias Anonymous'... They're frost tender so we'll wait until the end of the month before planting out into their Summer beds.
Some warmer weather would be welcome of course but it must be getting better as our summer visitors the Cuckoo, House Martins, Swifts & Swallows are back. Yesterday there was even a family of newly fledged Blackbird chicks hiding among the plants - they didn't seem to know about a late Spring. Excellent to have their parents on the slug & snail patrol...
We're cutting lots of beautiful Tulips now & I’ll be bringing these & a variety of flowers to Threave Garden on Sunday May 6th (Visitors Centre), to Kirkcudbright Farmers Market on Sunday 27th May & to Loch Arthur Farm shop again on Fridays. Flowers (such as Tulips) to arrange yourself can also be ordered to collect from the Flower Farm.
It's a beautiful time of year - I hope your flowers are beginning to bloom for you too.
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in May
Just because they're easy to grow, it's easy to take the cheerful Daffodil for granted.
But they're the real convincer, the evidence Spring really has sprung as they burst into glorious bloom. Carpets of wid Daffodils under trees, ribbons of gold lining the roadside & driveways, or a bright pop of colour in a pot outside a house. Suddenly after long dreary winter days, they lift my spirits.
And this year I've invested in new varieties of double Daffodils & am so impressed. Their multiple rows of petals make them look like little roses when opened fully. The colour range is good - gold, lemons & whites. And they stand up to the weather well. What not to like?
Note to self - grow more next year!
I love Spring – now we’re past the Equinox, days are longer than nights & each morning there’s something new to admire at the Flower Farm. Like an excited kid, I do that first tour to see what seeds have germinated overnight, how much tulip stalks have grown, what new blossom has opened…
Yes, we’re behind last year but this is going to be a spectacular Spring simply because everything is racing to catch up & will bloom at once.
This is particularly noticeable with the Tulips – my careful plan for stems over a long period has long since been torn up. I planted varieties to bloom early, mid & late season. To extend flowering, I planted some of each group differently – some in pots, some in the polytunnel, others in full sun & some in shade. But the Tulips are having it their own way, racing to catch up. So when all 1200 or so bloom – it really will be the Balmaclellan Tulip Festival this year! When ready, we’ll have a bucket at the Nursery gate for you to come & choose your own & of course they’ll be on sale at the Farmers Market & Loch Arthur too.
This is one of the busiest month’s in the Flower Farm; sowing, potting on & beginning to plant out for this year’s blooms. The Hardy Annuals sown last month are being moved on into modules to protect them a little longer. The Autumn sown Annuals are all planted out & snug under horticultural fleece. The Half-Hardy Annuals such as Cosmos & Clarkia are starting off under cover so they’ll be nice & strong when they go out in late May after the frosts. Until then, space in the greenhouse & tunnels is a bit of a squeeze.
The colours of the cut flowers in my buckets is changing. Lots of yellow of course with all the Daffodils & Narcissi, but we’re seeing the first true blues (Hyacinth, Anemone, Muscari, & later in the month the Bluebells). And the pinks too – Anemones again, the Snakeshead Fritillaries & of course the first Tulips. The picture of the Fritillaries above was taken last year – they’re in bud now so should be flowering by mid-month.
But it’s not just the sights of Spring I love – it’s the sounds too. Our pond is heaving with frogs & toads, noisily croaking so hopefully we’ll have an army of helpers tackling slugs again. And the birdsong in the morning is a lovely way to wake up isn’t it? Later this month, we’ll be listening out for the Cuckoo announcing it’s arrival back from Africa.
This month I’ll be bringing flowers to Kirkcudbright Farmers Market on Sunday 22nd April & later in the month, Loch Arthur Farm shop again on Fridays.
And when we get one of those sunny, slightly warmer days, take time to wander outside in the fresh Spring air with your morning cuppa if you can – it really is a lovely way to experience the Joys of Spring!
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in April
Rosie Gray of Galloway Flowers. Artisan Cut Flower Farmer & Florist near Castle Douglas, in South West Scotland