Happy May Day!
The Cuckoo is calling so it's officially 'Spring Time' in my book. I might not be skipping around the maypole wearing a flower crown but am celebrating the welcome return of our flowers. The speed we move from no colour in the cutting beds (just plenty of weeds) to cutting blooms is a miracle. The Narcissi have been so abundant, undamaged by rain, they've lasted exceptionally well. Every year we've added a thousand more bulbs & now there are plenty uncut to enjoy in the garden too. What a luxury!
The Tulips are now coming on strong. Every year I vow to stop growing them as they're an extravagance (admittedly, 1200 bulbs probably is). Then they bloom & I'm smitten all over again. They're so popular in Friday Flower bouquets & for Spring weddings, I cannot resist them. The one above is a great example - starting as an egg shaped bud a week ago, now opening wide with a satin sheen. A jugful in the kitchen looks like a flock of Flamingo's flying against the white paintwork. Does any other flower fade so gracefully? I know it won't be long before a carpet of petals lands on the floor but I'll enjoy them till the last elegantly drooping petal...
For the very best cut Tulip flowers with long, strong stems I grow them close together in beds, & pull up with the whole bulb. The bulb is discarded, replaced with new stock for next Spring. It's expensive. I know many will repeat flower (some bulblets are always left behind in the bed) so this year, I'm planting many of the discarded bulbs in long grass under fruit trees. Not all will make it & any flowers in future years will be smaller, shorter (& prone to tulip fire disease). But still beautiful. From experience, the Parrot & Lily-flowered Tulips (for example 'Ballerina', 'Ballade', 'Merlot') are particularly good at returning healthily for many years.
Space is at a premium undercover just now, with seedlings growing on until it's warm enough to plant out. Dahlias fill the little green polytunnel & the main tunnels are beginning to bloom with early flowers destined for May weddings. Any day now, it'll be a snowstorm in there! The first row of Sweet Peas is planted, & now we've had welcome rain, more will go out this week. It's been cold at night still & I'm cautious - none of the tender plants will be outside until later this month. One frost & so much work can be lost.
Earlier this year I moved most of the Peonies to new beds & the first buds are appearing. It'll hurt me to do it but these buds must be removed. This encourages them to put all their energy into re-establishing roots, able to produce many more flowers long term. Peonies are long-lived & if cared for, could easily outlive me. Deferred gratification & all that...
Ken will be delighted to take part in 'No Mow May' again this year as mowing is one of his least favourite jobs! We've left large areas uncut now for 7 years & the return of wild flowers (Cowslips, Orchids, Harebells etc.) has been dramatic. Numbers of pollinators has increased too so it's a worthwhile initiative.
This month, we'll be absent from the Kirkcudbright Farmers Market - a market date change has caused a clash with a long scheduled wedding. I'll be back in June & until then, flowers can be ordered for collection or delivery on Fridays,
A few more events have been added to the Workshop calendar - the next 'Cut Flowers From Your Garden' workshop will be on Sunday July 10th. Short Sunday afternoon sessions to arrange flowers have been added too. While I was at the Farmers Market in March, Ken knocked down the dividing wall in my little workshop - woohoo! This project, delayed 2 years, has doubled the space & so welcome. Yet to be painted but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day either you know... Paint charts are being studied.
It's Bluebell season in Galloway, the woods carpeted with gorgeous blue flowers. Hopefully, there'll be sunshine & gentle rain (overnight please) to bring on the fresh growth in all our gardens as we race towards the abundance of early Summer. My favourite time of year, full of promise & the arrival of flowers unseen in such a long time. Take time to enjoy it all!
Until next time,
'A flowerless room is a souless room, to my way of thinking; but even a solitary little vase of a living flower may redeem it.' Vita Sackville-West 'Some Flowers'
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in May;
Most of the plants grown here at the Flower Farm are grown by ourselves either from seed or cuttings. It keeps our costs low & often is the only way to obtain the best varieties for cut flowers.
Perhaps we want specific colours or tall, strong stems, or extra long vase life. Some varieties are better than others for these traits.
This little Delphinium seedling may not look much here when pricked out in mid-March. But soon it'll be producing plenty of tall, frilly flower spikes.
Growing from seed is exciting as I never know exactly the colour each plant will be. Every one is an original. I'll select the best & grown on for more stock in years to come.
Will 80 be enough?
Rosie Gray of Galloway Flowers. Cut Flower Grower & Florist near Castle Douglas, in South West Scotland. Using 100% Flowers & Foliage grown in British Isles, all year round.