Tulip 'James Last' - cutting the last few today & so ending the Tulip season for this year.
I squeezed these beauties into last Friday's bouquet deliveries. Such a useful, soft lavender shade perect with pinks, with blues, with whites. And long, strong stems - an excellent cut flower.
I was wondering whether it was named simply for the Musician or because it's always the last of the Tulips to bloom (here at least).
2021 Spring is, in my humble opinion, turning into one of the weirdest of weather years... ever.
May should be a month of burgeoning growth, plants growing visibly overnight, & colourful flowers. Maybe it will yet, but the cold temperatures & prolonged dry in recent weeks are holding so much back. Now we've had plenty of rain, things are getting going but we so need warmth (& that's me, not just the plants!)
I tend to have a mental calendar in my head, knowing when plants should come into bloom. Our huge Magnolia usually flowers in the first week of May, fabulous for early weddings. This year, I cut it for a Florist on the 1st May! The little posy above was made on the 7th May last year, all from our Galloway-grown flowers. This year, the Narcissi have all flowered bang on time but I've yet to cut a stem from our outdoor Ranunculus, Aquilegia & Pinks. It shows how some flowers are encouraged by light levels (which were good in April) & those that need warmth to flower.
Back in 2018, I sent a large box of flowers to be included in the Gold Medal winning display by 'Flowers From the Farm' at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show - this year I would struggle to send the same mix. Being positive, when the flowers do start, wow, we're going to get a lot of blooms all at once.
The low overnight temperatures have slowed the germination of seedlings & their growth - they'll catch up but many haven't been pricked out as quickly as usual. We're running out of space in the greenhouses, moving trays around to ensure all get their share of light. Trays of the tougher seedlings are being moved in & out each day now so they toughen up ready for planting out in the beds. Perhaps as well because my broken arm has slowed down my bed prepping - it gives me a chance to catch up on weeding...
The Tulips are being cut now to go in the weekly bouquets, & there are some beauties. I grow unusual varieties - the doubles, the fringes & the Parrots. These are late too & keeping bouquets full until the first Peonies & Perennials bloom. The Alliums are in bud so hopefully will flower in the next couple of weeks.The mad thing about growing flowers to cut is how far into the future I must look - this week I ordered my 2022 Tulips & Narcissi to be sure I get the varieties best suited to bouquets next Spring. Talk about needing a crystal ball - how many do I need?
Ken has been creating beds in the new polytunnel - we put it up last year but didn't use it for flowers. It was packed with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Courgettes, Basil & Chillis. The beds will increase productivity & it's already planted up with plants enjoying protection from Galloway rain. Light coloured Dahlia 'Cafe Au Lait', Garden Pinks, darker petalled Sweet Peas. I'll add Zinnias in the next couple of weeks when big enough to plant. And Lettuce & Rocket is tucked in front of the dahlias - indoor space is precious & can be used until they need it!
This has meant we can move on to the old, larger polytunnel & reconfiguring the space to be more productive. As well as more flowers, the tender veg will find a space there.
Best of all, weddings are back & there are 3 this month. All smaller than planned but beautiful none the less. The first is an Elopement wedding this week - sorry can't say more as it's a secret...
The Castle Douglas Farmers Market is on Sunday 16th May & Kirkcudbright Farmers Market is on Sunday 23rd May. I'll be bringing flowers to both. I'm so looking forward to catching up with our Customers & getting back in the routine.
I was touched by the kind messages & offers of help after my broken arm - it was truly appreciated. I'm mending well, being relatively sensible about what I lift & hope to be driving again soon. It's just stupid things that are difficult now - like opening tins! Try explaining the slow service to 2 hungry cats...
'Friday Flowers' are being delivered on Fridays (what a surprise!) & 'Click & Collect' orders can be placed online & by telephone now. Order online or by telephone 01644 420407.
Hoping for some warmth in the next few weeks (& gentle overnight rain, please) to get everything growing well. The Bluebells are coming out all across Galloway so a good opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors as well as the gardens. In no time we'll be enjoying Roses, Sweet Peas & Peonies - then it'll really be like Summer!
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in May;
‘Where Flowers bloom so does hope'
Lady Bird Johnson, Former First Lady of the United States of America
1912 - 2007
Until next time,
Exhausting watching people work isn't it? Sami continuing his tradition of 'not helping' while Ken makes beds in the new Polytunnel over the weekend. I'm sure Sami thinks that edging is there just for his comfort, perfect chin height...
Anyhow, raised beds now complete, filled with lovely rich compost & ready to plant!
This tunnel is for some of the flowers that need a little extra protection from a Galloway Summer such as Dahlia 'Cafe Au Lait', scented Garden Pinks & dark coloured Sweet Peas. It'll soon fill up.
The handmade brick path isn't as extravagant as it looks - they used to be the wall between our kitchen & dining room, knocked down last year. Much too good to go to landfill...
The White Double 'Fancy Daffs' are capturing my attention this week - this one was included in a Natural Funeral Spray today. So full & frilly, like tissue paper.
All the flowers & foliage included, except a few white Alstroemerias grown in Sussex, were grown by me here in Galloway. So 100% British-grown & minimal 'Flower Miles'.
The Spray included our double Tulips, scented Narcissi, the double Narcissi, Alstroemeria, Hyacinth & white Heather. The spray was completely compostable too, & used no floral foam.
Making the switch to natural funeral flowers avoids introducing damaging microplastics into the marine environment.
That damage isn't the legacy I want to leave behind from my floristry, so prefer to work in this way. Many of the people I make arrangements for were passionate Gardeners, nature lovers or simply doing their best to make responsible environmental choices in life. It seems natural to me to recognise this commitment with natural flowers at their funeral.
I don't often post funeral flowers here, I guess we prefer not to dwell on it too much. But if you need to arrange flowers for a loved one at some future time, it might be useful to know greener funeral options are available to you.
Snakes Head Fritillary (Fritillaria Meleagris) What a little beauty!
That Mother Nature came up with this intricate chequerboard design never ceases to amaze & delight me. It's one of our most beautiful British wild flowers, isn't it?
There was a patch of these when we moved here, every year I've planted more. I let them seed & shake them about when dry too. They seem to enjoy a winter flash flood to keep the soil damp.
Now they're spreading happily, popping up in odd places. In cutting beds, by the greenhouse, even a few on the side of the road... I think the seeds must stick to the birds feet & so spread along to another area.
Anyhow, I thought a few on the mantelpiece today would be a treat to share with you in close up. They last surprisingly well in a tiny vase.
I stress these were grown in the garden & should, of course, never be cut from our wild places - sadly too rare now.
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.