Early colouring of trees & bracken & the end of meteorological Summer, tells me Autumn approaches fast. But I don’t mind – every season is full of beauty & delights, they’re just different aren’t they? Think Brambles, Rose hips, Acorns, beautiful Seed heads… All gorgeous in a floral display. My kitchen windowsill looks like the school nature table as I display the 'bits' brought home from walks.
Shorter days mean Dahlias are finally hitting their stride & soon there’ll be luscious coloured foliage joining them in the bouquets too. I’ve missed my Dahlias so much – their variety of size, shapes & colours, their toughness means they’re always the first place I go on my morning tour to see what has popped open overnight.
With hindsight, delaying their flowering was a mistake – my panic response to the complete loss of any market for flowers earlier in the year. I regret it now, but who knew what was coming? All our September weddings are postponed & I had no idea if we would sell them. Next year, we’ll be back to full on Dahlia lusciousness here, I promise. (There are still quite a few hundred planted so probably by most standards …)
August was such a mixed month for us. Thrilling to be back at the brilliantly organised Kirkcudbright Farmers Market & Loch Arthur Farm Shop. So many regular Customers & Producers stopped to chat & catch up with their news. And more garden weddings – lovely couples simply determined to get on with their lives, celebrating their love with a small intimate group of close family & friends.
And then there was the weather – yes, I know I go on about it but seriously? We came through the windy Storms well, thanks to Ken’s excellent flower staking skills. Not one Dahlia stem was lost & even the Sweet Pea frames stayed upright. It’s very handy having a Mining Engineering Graduate around. He knows about building for strength & safety. Left to me, the Sweet Peas would have lovely wispy sticks, artistically woven – but probably be lying in the mud! Takes lots of different skills to make a business.
Anyhow, now the ground is well topped up with water so I’m hoping a little bit of sunshine & warmth will get the flowers bouncing back. A nice ‘Indian Summer’ would cheer us all up.
I’m definitely looking further ahead now, beginning planting for 2021. The bulbs arrive any day so I’m ripping out spent annuals. The beds will fill up again quickly. Creating space in the beds & in my head too for new ideas, beginning to get excited again about what we'll do next year. Half the Ranunculus & Anemones will be started off now, the rest in January to give a longer succession. Narcissi, Alliums & Muscari this month, Tulips wait until November.
And today is designated ‘September Seed Sowing Sunday’. This afternoon I begin sowing Hardy Annuals for earlier flowering next year. It’s going to be a busy year for weddings as so many couples have postponed. I’m making sure we’ve plenty of gorgeous, locally grown flowers ready for them. Our big 'Bloom Buckets' of mixed flowers are always popular for couples wanting to DIY their own wedding flowers.
Not forgetting bulbs for Christmas – if you want bowls of Hyacinths or Narcissi to scent your home, start them this month. Buy ‘Prepared’ Hyacinth bulbs – they’ve been cold treated so they’ll flower earlier. These make lovely gifts too.
So I’ve mentioned Christmas already so this is the exciting news - ‘Make Your Own Christmas Wreath’ workshops are being scheduled! The first will be at The Station House Cookery School in Kirkcudbright on Friday 11th December. The Cookery School has been approved by the ‘We’re Good To Go’ scheme to restart classes. Numbers will be limited to 8 places so we can keep to recommended social distancing practices. Places can be booked online here; https://www.gallowayflowers.co.uk/christmaswreathworkshops-dumfries-galloway.html
I’m talking to a couple of other venues so if we’re able to offer additional wreath classes, I’ll publish them on the page as soon as finalised.
’Plant a Bulb Lasagne’ workshop is provisionally set for Sunday 1st November. We’re taking guidance on safe practice & hope to be given approval soon. If you’re interested in coming along, drop me an email & I’ll send details to you before details are published elsewhere.
We’re well into the ‘Tomato Glut’ predicted last month – wonderful! I eat ‘Sungold’ cherry tomatoes like sweets as I walk through the tunnel. Zero food yards. Seriously though, they’re such a treat. Roasted with a little red pepper then garlic & fresh basil (from the tunnel of course) added, it’s a quick pasta sauce & freezes well. Next year I’ll want the space back for flowers but the extra Courgettes, Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Chilli’s grown this year are going to have a space. Somewhere.
We’ll be out & about again this month, Glenkens Food Month will see us with flowers at the morning events on Saturday 12th in Dalry, Saturday 26th in Parton. Castle Douglas Farmers Market is back on Sunday 20th & Kirkcudbright Producers Market on Sunday 27th. Flowers can be pre-ordered for collection or come along for a chat & choose from the flowers we bring along.
And we’ll continue with ‘Flower Friday’ bouquet deliveries until the end of this month. As the number of Regular Flower Subscribers has increased, we’ve sold out several weeks recently & stopped taking orders early. So please don’t leave it too late to order for those special occasions. Beyond this month, we’ll continue to offer funeral flowers & our Regular Subscription Deliveries. If you would like to order flowers, you can online or send an email – this is a busy month outside so can be quicker than the telephone to reach me.
Jobs for the month ahead; I mentioned bulbs & annual seeds already. It’s a good time to plant out Foxgloves, Sweet Williams & Wallflowers so they can build nice strong roots before winter – look out for bundles of plants at good garden centres. There’s still time to take semi-ripe cuttings of herbs such as Rosemary & Sage, plus tender plants such as Salvias, Penstemons & Pelargoniums. I overwinter these tender perennials indoors & still like to have a back up plan. And have some fleece handy – often we have a sudden, hard frost in mid-September. If we can protect our Dahlias through that, we keep them blooming usually until well into October.
Enjoy the golden, glowing days this month & begin creating your beautiful cutting garden for next year.
Until next time,
Your Flowery Inspiration links;
A new Dahlia variety for me this year, & to be honest, as the first blooms began to open, I wasn't sure it was a good 'un.
But as it opened, the colour has softened to a bright pink, a hint of yellow at the petal base & each petal has a hand painted look. Stems are long & strong, vase life seems good too.
Sometimes you just have to wait & see how flowers change over time. I think it's a keeper...
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.