They've been a long time coming but the Dahlias are finally blooming by the bucketful! Woohoo, I love, love, love their variety of colours, shapes & sizes.
600 tubers here now & I still don't have them all. Dahlia catalogues have already started plopping through the the letterbox though - a dangerous time to be left alone with a credit card, in Ken's opinion. I'm becoming selective though - no matter how beautiful, if experience has shown a variety not to be good in the vase or poor producers they don't earn a place on the team anymore. (Might just keep them in the garden...)
A 'perfect storm' of events slowed Dahlias down this year - some planted a bit late because of my broken arm, the cold Spring delayed planting out, then the prolonged dry weather slowed their settling in. They're a time consuming crop but so worthwhile to grow. Now I'm watching the weather forecast closely, fleece at the ready to protect them through sudden late frosts if they come. Until then, I'm cutting daily, filling Wedding & Party orders & our 'Friday Flowers' with their gorgeous variety of colours, shapes & sizes.
A huge 'thank you' to everybody who visited for our Open Weekend last month. 26 visitors enjoyed a wander through the flowers, tea & cake . The weather was even on our side... It was a pleasure to spend time & conversation with others interested in flowers. A welcome step back towards normal for us all.
The season is moving towards Autumn early this year isn't it? Crispy leaves on the ground, so many Rowan berries & Rosehips (finding their way into arrangements) & trees colouring already. While the Dahlias are fabulous, supported by the Michaelmas Daisies, Gladioli, Acidanthera, it definitely has that 'end of season' vibe here. The meadow grasses glisten with dew on spider webs in the early morning, the evenings are drawing in, meteorological Autumn has begun.
Yesterday, I ripped the Sweet Peas from the polytunnel & prepared to move more potted Dahlias in there. These should keep blooming under its protection for some time. Clearing plants to the compost heap I remember the thousands of scented stems cut this year. They've been blooming non-stop since June so I can't complain. The outside Sweet Peas are still full of flower though the cool nights this week will slow them.
Any day now the huge boxes of bulbs will arrive. As I rejuvenate beds & divide perennials in the coming weeks, I'll pop in Narcissi, Muscari, Alliums, Iris & Gladioli in between to use all the available space. Tulips wait until November (or even later if we're busy). The boxes are emptied just in time to be filled with Dahlia tubers as we dig them up to store over winter. There's a good supply of bulbs available still in garden centres so it's a good time to top up your beds with Spring colour.
As well as working outside, I've been planning the next Workshops & these are now open for booking;
I'm planning to bring flowers (including dried ones again) to Kirkcudbright Farmers Market on Sunday 26th September. If you would like to pre-order flowers to collect, send an email. 'Friday Flowers' are being delivered on Fridays plus 'Click & Collect' on Fridays & Saturdays. Order online or by telephone 01644 420407.
Fingers crossed we're treated to a gorgeous 'Indian Summer' in the coming weeks...
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in September;
Until next time,
Your Flower Links for September;
If you've ever wondered what we're growing in late August at the Flower Farm near Castle Douglas, here's a selection. In addition I cut several buckets of Dahlias & plenty of Sweet Peas.
These were cut ready to be made into 'Friday Flowers' bouquets in late August.
To order a bouquet for local delivery, book online or telephone Rosie on 01644 420407.
A 'Wildflower' Bridal Bouquet of seasonal flowers for Deidre on her recent wedding day in August near Dumfries. Wedding flowers were made by Rosie Gray, of Galloway Flowers, Wedding Florist in Dumfries & Galloway Scotland.
I adored working with this sophisticated colour palette of Champagne, Caramel, Raspberry, cream & wine with lots of greens - delicious!
And as always, all the flowers & foliage used in this bouquet were grown here in Galloway by ourselves at the Flower Farm.
Bookings are now open for wedding flowers in 2022 - more information Here
At a local Walled Garden, this made a stunning backdrop for Andrea & Allan's wedding ceremony recently.
I used 100% British grown flowers & foliage (much of it grown by us) for minimal flower miles. It was made without environmentally harmful floral foam (major cause of microplastic pollution in the marine environment).
Andrea's bouquet is pictured below.
So good to be back prepping beautiful wedding flowers here in Dumfries & Galloway!
Wow - what a weekend!
The sun shone, it didn't rain, lots of tea & cake enjoyed - thank you to the 26 visitors who visited us on Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th August.
It was a long time since we had hosted Flower Farm Tours & we thouroughly enjoyed it - a special step towards 'normal' again.
The Flower Farm isn't usually open to visitors. This was a nationwide event 'Flower Farmers Big Weekend' organised by Flowers From the Farm. Over 80 flower farms across the UK opened over the weekend.
We very much hope our visitors enjoyed a behind the scenes look at what flowers we grow & how we do it.
How welcome the rain was last week when the weather finally broke. I enjoyed cutting flowers that first wet afternoon, wet hair plastered to my head. Yes, weird I know but just so long since we've had a proper soak here in South West Scotland! I could almost hear plants sighing with relief as they lapped it up - I swear some grew visibly in a few days.
The prolonged sunshine was wonderful & fabulous for all enjoying a holiday here. It was becoming tough for the plants though. And for me - the week it hit the high twenties here, my productivity slumped.
We're on a private water supply so watch the water level closely. I watched our neighbours taking water to their animals as the burns ran dry, adding hours to their already long days. Watering polytunnel plants & those in pots added extra time for us too. I knew the lack of water was becoming serious when I found a Toad sitting in the dog water bowl by the back door...
How quickly my daily routine switches from saving precious water from the kitchen for plants, to emptying trays full of rainwater to ensure plants don't drown! The plus of the dry weather was tht the grass doesn't need cutting & weed seeds don't germinate - I suspect both of these will be on rapid catch up now!
Most outside plants are given a good soak when planted & then usually are fine here. This year, ithe prolonged dry spell slowed growth & flowering, with many showing yellowing on the leaves. Plants can't take up the nutrients they need from dry soil causing yellowing - they'll recover quickly now after the rain & a little seaweed tonic. The Dahlias began flowering really early this year & have taken a break because of the dry. I checked on them this morning & already a new flush of buds have appeared, promising to be back with a bang soon!
There were plenty of flowers in July as others came on early - the Phlox, Scabious & Rudbeckia are way ahead, the Sweet Peas have been our best ever. Others have finished early such as the Cornflowers - I'll rip them out this afternoon. My careful succession sowings went to pot as all the Nigella came at once - still plenty of seed pods to dry. It's a text book year for demonstrating how critical it is to grow a variety to be able to produce bouquets over a whole season.
And the weddings have been so enjoyable in the past month. Finally, we could flower up several big marquee weddings as well as some lovely small garden ones, & intimate elopements. The wedding industry employs so many across Dumfries & Galloway - I enjoyed catching up with other suppliers all delighted to be working again. Our Wedding Bookings are now open for 2022.
Anyhow, it's finally getting back to normal as I've started driving again. Hurray! After 5 months of being chauffered everywhere by Ken, this was quite a day. I felt as if I regained my independence, freeing so much time for Ken. Yes, I'm sad & resigned to the planned projects left undone for this year. Now I'm ready to move on.
August may be high Summer still, yet planning for 2022 is underway here. I've a list of Perennials to divide (many should have been split in Spring but my broken arm put paid to that), Biennials are growing on slowly but surely, ready to plant out for early Summer. I'll begin sowing the tough Annuals (Ammi, Cornflowers & Larkspur) for overwintering at the end of this month. Others are being left to collect seed from - they look untidy it's true & very worthwhile none the less.
For a while in early July as Corona Virus figures rose, I thought we might have to cancel the Open Weekend. Over half the tickets were booked already so I decided not to put it on social media, just in case. All is looking better now & we're going ahead!
At the moment there are 9 tickets for Saturday 14th August & 5 for Sunday 15th. It will be published on social media this afternoon so this is a last priority call to book places. Cake baking will begin, the weather forecast looks OK & we're really looking forward to this big step towards returning to our normal activities. Book Here
I'm planning to bring flowers to Loch Arthur Farm Shop & Cafe on Friday August 27th & to Kirkcudbright Farmers Market on Sunday 29th August. If you would like to pre-order flowers to collect, send an email.
'Friday Flowers' are being delivered on Fridays (not 13th August) plus 'Click & Collect' on Fridays & Saturdays. Order online or by telephone 01644 420407.
The week ahead looks like a great growing week - full of sunshine & showers. Just as well as I seem to have plenty of suggested tasks for the month ahead...
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in August;
Until next time,
I've been at it again!
These are some of the flowers I cut on a July morning, ready to prepare for Castle Douglas Farmers Market the next day.
The flowers all have a good long drink & then are ready to arrange.
These really are locally grown in Galloway, with minimal Flower Miles & are deliciously scented!
Rosie Gray of Galloway Flowers. Artisan Florist & Cut Flower Farmer near Castle Douglas, in South West Scotland. Using 100% Flowers & Foliage grown in British Isles, all year round.