It’s been a kind, mild start to the New Year hasn’t it? On recent days I could almost imagine Spring is just around the corner – buds on Hyacinths & Hellebores, a few Snowdrops already blooming in sheltered spots & the Daffs shooting up fast. There are surprise flowers blooming outside & the Chrysanthemums, Garden Pinks & Anemones are still giving a few flowers each week in the tunnel. Too few for a bouquet, of course, but enough for cheery little bud vases around the house.
But don’t be fooled, it’s still too soon to reach for the seed packets & start sowing much. The days are slightly longer yet the memory of the ‘Beast from the East’ last March is making me extra cautious. Seed sown too early produces thin, light starved plants & never come to much. There’s plenty of other tasks for dry days to get your Cuttting Patch ready for 2019. What better way to get fresh air & exercise after the lazy, long festive break?
So what might 2019 hold?
Well, this is my time for planning – most of the seeds, new Dahlia tubers (not THAT many, honestly) & plants are ordered. The easy bit.
Now I need to plan the ‘where’ each plant will go to make the most of the space. This is a frustrating process rather like working out the plot for a game of ‘Cluedo’. Just as I think I’ve come up with the perfect solution, snags appear. You know the sort of thing - Professor Plum (or 2 metres of Cosmos ‘Psyche’ perhaps) in the Conservatory (third bed of the nursery plot) from June to early September – but no! I’ve got my second batch of Godetia behind it at that time. They’ll not get enough light! Aagh – back to the plan…
The plan always changes but it’s still a great help when we begin sowing so I don’t overdo it (is it possible to have too many Sweet Pea plants? Yes!) I aim for at least 2 & ideally 3 crops from every bed over a year & space is always at a premium. I must keep the blooms coming – it's no good having more than I can cut & sell one month, then nothing late in the season.
And of course, they’ll be new tempting varieties to try. Last years Chrysanthemum trial brought winners & some losers. We’ll take cuttings from the best & I’ve ordered some different ones to add in the mix for very late flowers. Also I’m trying more of the huge ‘dinnerplate’ dahlias – last year a huge white one was a big seller (especially to decorate wedding cakes). But the stems were short so not great for bouquets & vases. This year I’m trialling (just a ‘few’ tubers of each) ‘dinnerplates’ in other colours & several smaller white ones in my search for the perfect, weatherproof white dahlia.
There’s a trend for drying flowers at the moment so I’m growing many more varieties specifically for this too. Interesting seed pods & grasses have been popular recently both as fresh accents in arrangements & drying for winter use.
The planning is helped by bookings for wedding flowers coming in now, as it helps me predict the favourite flowers for our couples. We’ll be offering full service wedding flowers (romantic bouquets, buttonholes, venue flowers & more) again, as well as ‘Bloom Buckets’ of flowers for arranging by family & friends. I only take on a few weddings each week, so if you know anyone looking for seasonal, natural & locally grown wedding flowers this year, please do give them a nudge to get in touch soon.
Now this is usually where I give suggestions for jobs in your Cutting Patch for the month – but no, this is probably the shortest list of the year! Instead enjoy any dry, bright weather when you can, admire the beauty of frost on the garden & snuggle up in the warm, dreaming, planning the beautiful flowers to come…
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in January;
I found some leftover Mistletoe in the workshop while tidying up after the Christmas mayhem. Rather than just toss it, I thought I would try to 'seed' it on our apple trees. Until recently I didn't think it would grow this far north. But then neighbours told me some grows in their orchard, so thought it worth a try.
The seeds are in the berries - the vile, sticky balls have to be squashed on the branches. Utterly disgusting stuff, gloves are essential!
Now I must wait & hope - it's slow to germinate, very fickle but maybe, just maybe, we'll have our own Galloway grown mistletoe, in about 5 years 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.