An abrupt end to our fifth season growing flowers here came last week. The change was rapid - both cotton shirts & thermal leggings in the washing basket told the story as we switched from 'Indian Summer' days to overnight frosts!
We cosseted the outside Dahlias through minus temperatures for 5 nights. Finally, last Thursday, the 1st of October, we stopped. It was forecast cold again & taking time we didn't have covering plants with fleece each night.
I felt beaten, cheated to lose so many buds close to flowering. I cut every surviving undamaged stem on Thursday afternoon, filling every windowsill in the kitchen. All the colours of a Bollywood movie together - stunning! The Dahlia area is a very depressing sight for the eyes now - definitely no pictures on Instagram...
But in a strange way it's a relief too. This season has been tough, very few days not working with the flowers in some way, & relentless weather. A relentless dry Spring, relentless rain in August & the relentless frost last week. Relentless is the word I'll remember 2020 by. All our plans were overturned & yet we've found new ways to sell flowers. With care & the tremendous support given by our Customers over this past Season, we'll get through this, counting ourselves lucky. I'm not sorry though to say farewell to the Summer routines, eager now to get on with making 2021 better.
As we're past the equinox, days shorten, temperatures drop & priorities change. There are flowers blooming of course, though in reduced numbers. A few Dahlias in the polytunnel, Nerines, Rudbeckia & Michaelmas Daisies are coming on strongly. I'll supplement our flowers with more from Growers further South (mostly in Lincolnshire, Cornwall & the Scilly Isles). Our Regular Subscription flowers, local bouquet deliveries on Fridays & flowers for funerals will continue. All 100% grown in the British Isles as always. To order flowers, please give as much notice as possible to ensure I've plenty for you.
From Friday 9th October, I'll take a bucket of flowers to In House Chocolates in Castle Douglas each week, And Gillian's chocolates are irresistible too!
October is one of our busiest months outside. It's less about 'tucking the garden up for Winter' so much as getting a few steps ahead for a fast start in Spring. I would like some relentless bright sunshine to make it easier, please. The days might be shorter but my head is filled with thoughts of flowers I'll be cutting from March onwards. Seedlings sown last month are popping up nicely now & these will be the backbone of our bouquets next May, June & July.
My most important job this week will be rewriting plant labels. I've still to find a truly 'Permanent' Garden Marker Pen (pencil seems longest lasting) that withstands Galloway quantities of rain. I've just been given a set of new ones by Artline - they come with high recommendation but then they all do! I'll let you know how I get on.... Anyway, it's particularly important to label the Dahlias, names long since washed off labels written in March. I always think I'll remember which is which but by the time tubers are being lifted, I know I don't.
A huge box of several thousand Ranunculus & Anemone corms arrived, to be divided & sent on to Flower Farmers elsewhere in Scotland. By grouping together, we're able to buy special varieties not available elsewhere easily in small quantities. These 'Roses of Spring' are challenging to grow & so worthwhile, mixing in beautifully with the other early Spring flowers.
The main bulb order has arrived too & I'm running out of storage space fast. Rather than run a Bulb Lasagne Workshop in early November, I'm going to prepare colour-themed parcels of bulbs, with instructions to make your own Bulb Lasagne at home. Order a kit through the website from Sunday 11th October for a stunning display from late February to May.
Dates have now been fixed for 'Make Your Own Wreath' Workshops & bookings are now open. The dates are;
Jobs for October;
My final thought; on my office wall I've this Audrey Hepburn quote written on a card;
'To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow'
I glance at it often & smile - I think Audrey was on to something. Working soil, planting, watching seeds, bulbs or plants grow, arranging flowers thoughtfully are simple, timeless pleasures. It keeps us optimistic & looking forward. And just now, I think we all need a bit of that don't we?
Until next time,
Your Flowery Inspiration links;
So another Friday out delivering bouquets locally & it was such a treat to do so in the glorious sunshine.
After 6 nights of hard frosts, the Dahlia patch had taken a battering. It's early to lose their gorgeous, showy blooms but it was too cold to save them all. Some winters we've had less frost than in this past week!
Now we'll begin the big Autumn clean up - lifting the tubers, drying & safely storing them for next year. Weeding & preparing beds, ready to plant the flowers I'll be cutting next Spring.
There'll still be plenty of flowers though as I'll bring in extra flowers from growers further south in our bouquets.
And as well as local delivery, on Fridays, I'll be taking mixed bunches to In House Chocolates in Castle Douglas on Friday next week so you can pick up a bunch there too. A perfect treat for a friend - or for you!
Feeling Autumnal as I cut these Dahlias. A definite chill in the air, despite the sunshine & hearing Geese overhead.
Weather was forecast to be 3 degrees that night & it was our first frost of the year.
Dahlia beds were covered with fleece & made it for a few more days but by October 1st, the nights were just too cold. The show is over for another year.
The butterflies & bees were loving our fresh, locally grown flowers at the relaunched Farmers Market in Castle Douglas last month.
And judging by the feedback from visitors, the new well-spaced format at the Market Hill was a great success too.
Huge thank you to all who worked hard to make this event happen The weather was perfect too!
Another 'Friday Flowers' bouquet of seasonal blooms delivered in mid-September to a Regular Flower Subscription Customer.
Did you know I deliver weekly, fortnightly or monthly throughout the year?
A thoughtful, lasting gift as the flowers just keep on coming & change with the seasons.
Flowers are delivered fresh to the doorstep, ready to simply pop into a vase.
Delivery area includes St. John's Town of Dalry, New Galloway to Castle Douglas, Haugh of Urr & Crocketford, & over to Kirkcudbright (town) & Gatehouse (town).
To set up a regular flower subscription as a gift for a flower loving friend or for yourself, get in touch.
Perfectly Imperfect... These Tomato 'Costoluto Florentino' are often unevenly shaped but don't let it put you off. The flavour is outstanding, juicy & very productive.
This year we grew Tomatoes, Cucumbers, courgettes, Chilli & Basil in the new polytunnel rather than flowers & had a great crop from all.
Not sure where to grow them next yearwhen the tunnel will (hopefully) be needed again for Sweet Peas & Roses. Maybe I need another tunnel...
Another Bouquet full of richly coloured seasonal flowers, delivered locally in mid-September as a 'Thank You' gift. And just a gentle reminder to not leave ordering too late if you would like flowers this week.
The cooler nights & shorter days is slowing down flower production here in Galloway. We'll be bringing in extra flowers from growers further south in the British Isles to supplement our own flowers in the coming months.
It's challenging to know how many I'll need so your help is appreciated with early orders to make sure I can help you & minimise waste.
Growing Dahlias, you need to be a little bit ruthless. To get stems long enough for a bouquet, others are sacrificed.
These blooms had short stems, perfect for posy vases but not much more. So I had a bit of a play while enjoying my afternoon cuppa. They'll not go straight to the compost heap - I'm not that tough.
I'll float them in a glass bowl & enjoy their perfect symmetry for a few more days.
And yes, I do grow a lot of white & nearly white Dahlias as they're just so perfect for wedding bouquets.
Dahlia 'Cafe Rose' at the perfect point for cutting.
That's definitely pink, no filters, no trickery required.
And huge - 22 cms across! The bean can may not be stlish but gives a good comparison. These aren't going in every bouquet but I think these will be a useful addition to our selection, don't you?
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.