The colours of the Flower Farm are changing.. the golds & browns of Rudbeckia & Heleniums add a new bold, richness to bouquets after the pale, pink & white froth of early Summer. Dahlias are at last beginning to be cut in numbers this week – I’ve really missed them. Having delayed planting because I couldn’t see any market for them back in May, now as bouquet orders increase, I’m using every stem. Gorgeous blue & white Agapanthus added drama to July bouquets, now it’s time for firework colours to take over.
The cutting beds are voluptuously full to bursting – their string-sided corsets aren’t enough to hold everything in. Early morning cutting is inevitably a soaking-wet-on-my-legs experience.
But this year, I’m just letting it be. Visitors are rare so nobody else gets wet. Underneath it all, the frogs are loving their hideaway home & I trust keeping the slugs under control for me. Definitely a fair exchange of a home for their help.
More of a worry is the speed weeds are growing! Recent rain is resulting in triffid sized nettles & grass is seeding where it definitely shouldn’t. Trying to be very Zen about it as I can only do what I can do, it’s going to be a big effort this Autumn. The ‘one years seeding & seven years weeding' adage is sadly very true…
Weddings, albeit small scale, are back & I’m enjoying the creative work again. The couples hastily rearranged events at home & scaled their florals to fit. Lots of buckets of flowers have been collected for arranging at home by family & friends, & I’ve been making bouquets, buttonholes & flower crowns. (The detail above was a bouquet made for Rebecca last week) A pretty & popular alternative to the traditional Bridesmaid bouquet have been flowery Wrist Corsages. These suit an informal party, worn & enjoyed all day. It’s been so uplifting for us to see people celebrating, excited & happy, determined to find their own way through a tough situation.
Yesterday afternoon I ran out of steam after a relentless couple of weeks – several weddings, back at Loch Arthur Farm Shop on a Friday, early starts & late finishes to my days. Sometimes you just have to stop don’t you & I admit to not being good at it.
So I sat down at the picnic table & just looked at the cutting beds in the bottom field. I rarely do this. 5 years ago it was just long, unmown grass. Now, it’s certainly not perfect, or even completely tidy. But it's very productive, pumping out thousands of stems each season. And it could be much better so it's time to plan how to improve. I think I’ll remember but rarely do! These are some of my notes;
We planned to reopen for private Afternoon Tea visits this month but as Corona Virus makes a comeback, decided to delay until next year. I’ll put dates up for the ‘Plant A Bulb Lasagne’ shortly. It’ll be early November & we can work outside (like last year) if weather is dry or in the polytunnel if not, keeping a safe distance.
The ‘Flower Farmers Big Weekend’ event is August 14th-16th & it's going digital! Last year we opened our gates to visitors, enjoying it immensely despite the rain. This year we’ll be closed but I’ll post more pictures than usual on our Instagram & Facebook accounts. There are also going to be virtual flower farm tours, talks & demonstrations from other ‘Flowers From The Farm’ members around the UK on the website here;
Fingers crossed, next year we’ll be open again.
While still busy cutting & delivering flowers ready now, my head is moving a season ahead. Dawn is noticeably later, the field full of dew-spangled cobwebs & autumn tints on a few trees & patches of bracken, Sorry about the ‘A’ word but it’s coming... The Swallow chicks nesting under our porch fledged last week so will be building up strength for their long flight to Africa. I went to clean underneath the nest & was dive bombed by the parents – I think they’re going for another brood. I admire their optimism!
I’ll be bringing flowers on Friday 14th to Loch Arthur again (1-3pm) & Kirkcudbright Producers Market on the 23rd. And of course, you’re welcome to pre-order flowers for collection from here or at these 2 venues. Deliveries continue in our extended area on limited days of the week too. Ken is helping so I can make bouquets & he delivers to the doorstep. Let me know if you would like a flowery treat for yourself or a friend. Links below.
Jobs for the month ahead? Summer days only need be as hard as you want them to be. This year I’m cutting myself some slack. It’s allowed. Collect seed of favourites you want more of, are expensive or to share. Cut seedheads & flowers for drying & enjoyment over winter. Deadhead Sweet Peas & keep your display going.
Above all, enjoy being in the fresh air, surrounded by flowers, in nature. It’s officially good for us, you know.
Until next time,
Your Flowery Inspiration links;
Dawn is coming later & it's still slightly dusky when I walk down to the workshop in the mornings now.
I love to wake up with the rising sun rather than an alarm - not possible soon.
Without doubt a special time of day - birdsong, rustlings in the grass, perhaps deer standing motionless, hoping I haven't seen them. Ducks & Herons on the pond. Meadowsweet smells wonderful as the day warms up, & is much loved by bees.
These views are the area of 'rough grazing' to the side of the Flower Farm. Since we came here we've planted many new trees in some side areas (Birch, Rowan, Willow, Alder & Ash mostly). It doesn't take long for wildlife to spot a safe zone...
Last bouquet of the week, gathering up the leftover stems, just for me.
It sums up my love of the classic Country Cottage garden style in July & the botanically rich bouquets I create. I've always been a gardener, a plantswoman, first. The floristry is simply something I do with those flowers to make a living.
At every house I've owned I've created a garden full of my favourite plants, many moving on to the next house with me. The Flower Farm started because, well, I admit I was growing a LOT of flowers & people asked to buy them.
Memories of the people who gave me plants, or where I bought them, come too, making every garden more special to me than just a collection of plants.
I don't often pose for the camera, especially with my 'Lock Down' hairstyle.
But here I am, glamorously dressed as usual (!) Rushing to cut stems for 'Friday Flowers' before the forecast heavy rain.
Wish I had thought to remove the bright green gloves...
Rosie Gray, Galloway Flowers. Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
Throughout the growing season I gather brightly coloured petals & save them for natural flower petal confetti. The petals are dried carefully & mixed into colourful blends with just the right floatiness (technical confetti makers term that!) & colours for the camera to capture in that sought after 'Confetti Shot' at weddings.
Many wedding venues forbid use of paper or plastic confetti. This is usually allowed as it's completely biodegradeable.
If you would like natural Petal Confetti at your wedding, get in touch to order. It can be stored dry & in the dark until required (a dark cupboard is ideal.
All the flowers in this wee posy were grown here at the Flower Farm, near New Galloway.
Cut in the morning, given a long drink in the workshop (about 25 yards away) then arranged ready for delivery around lunchtime to Crossmichael.
Total Flower miles in production? About 8 miles I should think. Max. And the journey was shared with many other deliveries, a trip to Loch Arthur Farm Shop & my supermarket shop.
We grow most of the flowers used in our arrangements for locally delivered bouquets, Posies, Wedding, Party & Funeral flowers here in Galloway. The flowers we don't grow (mainly early & late season) are sourced from trusted growers in the British Isles. We use only flowers & foliage grown in the British Isles all year round.
When you buy from a local flower Farmer, the 'flower miles' total is as low as it can be (unless you grow them yourself, of course). Buying locally grown flowers keeps the carbon footprint low, your flowers are grown to good environmental & ethical standards (in our case, we're UNESCO GSA Biosphere certified) & it keeps your money in the local Dumfries & Galloway economy. By supporting our little Flower Farm, we spend the money earned locally when possible. In turn helping to support other local jobs, shops, post offices etc. It all helps. Thank you - your support & encouragement makes a difference.
As they say, 'Think Global, Act Local'.
A satisfying job taking cuttings from Wallflower plants needing a ruthless cutback. Many Wallflower varieties are short these days, bred for containers & small gardens. These are good tall ones, so worth keeping as their scented stems were lovely in bouquets of Tiulips & Narcissi last Spring. Not waht I planned to do of course but irrestible opportunity to multiply good plants for free...
Two pretty Country Bouquets delivered in mid-July using Agapanthus, Alstroemeria & many others. Lavender coloured Sweet Peas tucked around the edge, out of sight under the Kraft paper wrapping for a scented surprise. Flowers can be ordered online for local delivery on Fridays each week or collection from the Flower Farm at DG7 3QR.
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.