February is often the coldest month of the year, & still too early for most seed sowing. Mind you, January was cold enough, wasn't it? I can't remember a year when I've spent so much time indoors. Normally, I wrap up well & find something useful to do outside. But this year, so many jobs were impossible - the ground & compost were too frozen, even to weed. Frustrating, but on the plus side, my accounts are unusually up to date. Hopefully the cold might knock back the slug population a bit too - Fingers crossed on that one...
It's been a good excuse to spend time daydreaming about warmer days, planning what to plant where, to flower when. It's pointless growing a mass of flowers for a few short weeks - if a surplus, they end up on the compost heap & take ages to deadhead plants too. So planning a succession of colours to flower from mid-March to October takes days (& in my case a lot of sticky notes). I need to think about the weddings already booked, farmers markets, events yet unknown, bouquets required & make the best guesses I can.
We use about an acre for growing flowers but it's never enough! This year we want to improve productivity further by making extra beds in some of the spare, unused corners. Often these are slightly more tricky spots (& ignored up until now for that reason). Perhaps slightly shady, close to trees or the sticky, stony soil near the bottom walls. 'Right Plant, Right Place' is the mantra for getting the best from these spots - there are plants that'll be happy there, I just need to choose carefully. There's plenty more space here to expand further but I want to fill up all the existing area first. It avoids unnecessary walking back & forth. It'll save time when cutting too as it'll be easier to track flowering stage of all the plants each week.
The other thing about spending time indoors is - time to indulge my guilty internet shopping secret. The results of my (sometimes Chardonnay-Fuelled) late nights online are beginning to arrive. No, not clothes, shoes, amazing buys on ebay or whatever guilty pleasures you may have - but more plants.
I've invested the price of a very nice weekend away on Alstroemeria plants for the new polytunnel, & they arrived last week. Of course they're an investment - how could you doubt it? I've been trialling a few varieties over the past few years & loved their long stems. They're such good producers over many months, last ages in the vase, so I need more for weekly bouquets. I'm sure Ken will enjoy looking at them far more than a weekend away...
And well, you knew I had a Dahlia habit didn't you? I admit to losing count how many are going to arrive in the next few weeks, they're just irresistible. I need a spreadsheet to track them alone. A few special ones will be started this week to increase stock from cuttings quickly & cheaply, the rest (including our stored stock) will wait until the end of the month. Dahlias can't be planted outside until after the last frosts here, so take too much space if I start earlier.
So now you know why I need yet more beds!
Our flowers are still a few weeks off (apart from Snowdrops, Catkins & Pussy Willow) so I'm bringing in flowers from growers further south each week for our Friday bouquet deliveries. The selection is increasing every week - I love opening the boxes when they arrive to see what treats we have. This week we'll have the first Parrot Tulips, to add with the Hyacinths, Narcissi & Pussy Willow. We're lucky to have these British-grown flowers so early - as they come to an end, our own Tulips & Narcissi are just beginning. We all need a little bit of Springtime just now...
We're delivering more of our 'Flower Therapy' Selections each week as lockdown continues. These are ordered for/by flower lovers who enjoy arranging flowers themselves, perhaps mixing with their garden foliage. A different selection of flowers each week, with a little foliage, all stems prepped, conditioned & ready to arrange. And unlike other 'Letterbox' flower deliveries, these are 100% grown in the British Isles, all year round. These can be ordered through the usual flower delivery page
At present, we're allowed to deliver contactlessly but not to offer Click & Collect. Valentine's Day is next week - I'll be delivering on Friday 12th & Saturday 13th February. Just thought I would mention it in case anybody you know needs a nudge about ordering flowers for next weekend.
Mothers Day is coming up fast & similarly, I'll be delivering on Friday 12th & Saturday 13th March.
Order online or by telephone 01644 420407
As well as planning the planting, I've continued working on the Events Calendar. We're both still waiting for our jabs (Ken's parents have had theirs so that's a huge relief) - this is the key to be able to open bookings. One date for your calendar is the Big Flower Farmers Weekend will be Friday 13th -Sunday 15th August. We intend to open again over the weekend along with many other Flowers From The Farm Members around the UK. As soon as it's safe to do so, we'll be welcoming visitors to the Flower Farm again.
The weather should begin to improve this month, & it's a good opportunity to get outside, breath fresh air deeply & listen to the birds singing their hearts out as they defend territories. Just taking a turn outside on a bright day lifts spirits as the bulbs are shooting up fast now.
We're beginning our sixth season growing flowers here now. We'll be trialling new varieties (such as new Dahlias, Chrysanthemums & of course those Alstroemeria) & lots of old favourites too. It's going to be a 'blooming marvellous' display!
We're looking forward to sharing our flowers & seeing everybody again very soon,
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in February;
‘Where Flowers bloom so does hope'
Lady Bird Johnson, Former First Lady of the United States of America
1912 - 2007
Until next time,
Your Flower Links for February;
Some days, I just need to know it's Spring somewhere & that eventually it'll reach me!
These bright Narcissi from the Isles of Scilly do that perfectly. A simple jug, nothing fancy, no floristry skills required but cheering up a dull corner on what feels like the coldest day of Winter.
And they smell lovely.
Intellectually I know it isn't the coldest day of course but I've been potting up Ranunculus in the shed this afternoon. Cold, damp compost on my fingers (some jobs are hopeless with gloves) & a bitterly cold wind - I'm chilled right through!
Definitely time for a nice hot cuppa by the wood burner.
And the Isles of Scilly are definitely on my 'bucket list' to visit. Maybe I'll just do a little googling & holiday daydreaming too...
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.