Spring might be springing all around me but it feels very much 'one day on, one day off', doesn't it? There've been a few days of working in shirt sleeves. Then next day, I'm back in my thermals. No sign of even a single Swallow yet so there's a way to go...
The Tulips are definitely running a couple of weeks later here than last year - I've cut our first this week. Soon we'll have buckets of them - big, frilly cups of colour on (hopefully) long stems. To get those long stems, I'll water generously. Until they're ready,'Fancy Daffs' are the stars in my vases - such variety in one plant family. From tiny, delicate stems perfect for a bedside bud vase to tall, frilly doubles. And of course, our choice is no longer limited to bright yellows.
But strangely other flowers are ahead this Spring. Lily of the Valley emerged early (not ready to cut yet) & Magnolia is opening today. So who knows? I suppose some plants are governed by increasing temperature, others by lengthening days.
At the end of February I felt well ahead for the season, but oh how we've slipped behind in March! Ken unexpectedly spent time at the Infirmary as his Mother was admitted (home again, thank goodness). Plus cold, wet weather including snow meant planned jobs (such as 'Big Trellis' borders & beds by the workshop) were delayed. I was all set to prune roses mid-month & delayed until this weekend. Inevitably, blooms will be late but worth the wait.
It's tempting to fret about slipping projects rather than what has been done. Ken recovered the little green polytunnel this week & it's going to be so useful. This tunnel was a cheap Amazon buy, erected just before the 'beast from the east' in 2018. It more than paid for itself that week alone as we moved hundreds of overwintering plants indoors for protection.
Since then it's been used for bringing on Dahlias, toughening baby annual plants & producing generous Tomato & Cucumber crops each summer. The cover was always weak, no longer waterproof yet the frame is surprisingly strong. So with a left over piece of polytunnel sheet, Ken has recovered it. Total cost zero except for his time & a few wooden battens. So useful & looks much smarter too. Sweet Peas will be in there to acclimatise & Dahlias for 'chitting' this week...
April is a big month for seed sowing. I'll sow more batches of Hardy Annuals & Half Hardy Annuals such as Cosmos. I need the space in that polytunnel! I've been astonished by how many seed packets contain much reduced quantities - have you noticed that? Fingers crossed germination rates are high. Definitely more careful seed saving later this year.
You might recall I kept about 300 of my Dahlias in the ground over winter. I've been fretting ever since as we had the lowest temperatures here in a decade. Well, yesterday I removed the black protective sheeting & am optimistic most have made it this far. I left the beds uncovered last night for a good soak in the rain. Now I'll cover them with fleece to protect from late frosts & keep my fingers crossed.
Until next time,
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.