And we’re off!
Finally, days are long & warm enough to begin growing for 2020 in earnest! My fingers are crossed it’s dry enough too – we lost so many days last month as even simple tasks like weeding were impossible to do well.
Tasks are stacking up, all urgent, needing to be done NOW. And of course, they can’t be. So I’m just doing a little bit of everything, keeping plates spinning as best I can. A bit of rose pruning here, some seed sowing there, potting up more Dahlias in between…
If the weather is kind, I’ll lift & divide perennials such as Delphiniums, Phlox & Helenium planted in our long beds 3 years ago. It’s a big job essential to keep the plants healthy & pumping out plenty of quality stems for years to come.
On top of the Spring workload, we’ve builders in. Of course, I’m pleased it’s finally started, but oh boy, what a mess! It started as a simple kitchen refurb, added a wall removal (Kirstie Allsop would be proud of me), then a few windows, the floor taken up (you don’t want to know) then the ceiling is being improved… well, you get the picture. It’ll be worth it but the dust will take a long time to clear up. Very glad I said ‘no’ to preparing any wedding flowers this month.
And talking of weddings, we were delighted & thrilled to be awarded ‘Wedding Florist of The Year, Southern Region’ at the Scottish Wedding Awards last month. Thank you so very much to the couples who nominated us. Receiving an award is lovely but what matters most is knowing our work is appreciated enough to take time to nominate us. It isn’t always easy choosing only flowers & foliage grown in the British Isles, all year round – I hope though, we’re demonstrating it can be done well.
So what’s coming up? As well as busy growing flowers now, we start regular flower visits at the Farmers Markets this week. Castle Douglas on Sunday 15th (Town Hall this month) & Kirkcudbright on Sunday 22nd. It was satisfying giving the workshop a thorough Spring Clean & filling it up with flowers again this weekend. I’m mostly using flowers from growers in Lincolnshire, Cornwall & the Scilly Isles but a few of ours (such as Hellebore) are appearing now too. Gorgeous colours & packed with delicious scents.
Mother’s Day is of course the next big day in the Flower calendar. I’ll be making up bouquets for local delivery & collection on Saturday 21st March. I’ll be at the Kirkcudbright Farmers Market on Sunday 22nd March too. If you would like to order flowers (or drop the necessary hints) you can do so online now. Or give me a call on 01644 420407/send email if you prefer – building is making the phone a little challenging but I’ll get back to you as soon as possible (& can hear over the music!)
A popular alternative to a bouquet is a regular flower delivery throughout the season – it keeps the Mother’s Day love coming for longer. I prep up a bunch of seasonal flowers every fortnight or month, always different & then either deliver locally or have them ready for collection. Flowers can be collected from me at the Farmers Market, Loch Arthur on a Friday or here at the Flower Farm. Details & online ordering here
Bookings are coming in for the 'Cut Flowers from Your Garden' workshop on Sunday April 5th so don't forget to reserve your place if you're planning to come.
Your Flowery Inspiration links;
And keep a look out for the new season’s flowers as they appear – so many of the Spring treasures are tiny & delightful when they pop up aren’t they? After the ‘Bulb Lasagne’ workshop last Autumn I planted up a similar mix in an old bath tub by the gate – the first Crocus & Iris Reticulata started blooming this week. A lovely surprise as I had totally forgotten what went in there!
Until next time,
Last week, we were thrilled & delighted to learn Galloway Flowers has been awarded;
'Wedding Florist of the Year, Southern Region'
at the Scottish Wedding Awards in Glasgow!
A huge, really huge 'Thank You' to the Couples who nominated us for the Award.
It's lovely to win an Award of course. But what really means most is knowing couples loved the flowers we arranged for their special day enough to take time to nominate us.
Growing our own flowers here in South West Scotland, using only flowers & foliage grown in the British Isles all year round & always arranging without floral foam, isn't always the easiest path. We believe issues such as reducing 'Flower Miles', plastic use & working sustainably are too important not to do this.
So thank you for the encouragement to keep going, getting better & growing this little business in the years to come.
Finally, the days are lengthening at both ends, aren’t they? It’s so much nicer to start the day wakened by daybreak rather than an alarm & we’re almost there. Although the run of wet weather has held me back a bit, I do feel things are beginning to move outside again. The birds are definitely singing their hearts out establishing territories which is lovely to hear.
And it felt good too to sit down & write again this morning after taking a break for a few months. Last year was tough personally & as soon as the Festive season was over, I just needed a bit of time to ‘zone out’. All the R’s really – regroup, refocus & rest.
The flowerbeds here are looking pretty dreadful & weedy at the moment. It’s a bit overwhelming to know where to begin sometimes. To be honest, it doesn’t matter – it must all be done, I just need to start. On the brighter days I’ve just been starting clearing the brash, pulling weeds & spreading compost.
It doesn’t take long to see improvements – buds on Narcissi & Anemones, Snowdrops, deliciously scented winter shrubs such as Daphne & Lonicera (Winter Honeysuckle). Just being outside, thinking about nothing in particular, is guaranteed to raise my spirits & enthusiasm. Works every time for me.
We bought a second hand polytunnel & I hope we can get this in place soon. Perhaps a little optimistically I’ve already planted an early batch of Sweet Peas to go in there so we need to get cracking! What I really need is to borrow Mrs Weasley’s magic wand… it’s a big job.
I’ll begin sowing a few seeds after Valentine’s day. More Sweet Peas (the first batch are popping up nicely now) & some of the toughies like Foxgloves, Antirrhinum & Larkspur. But there’s no rush – seeds sown too early can be weak & leggy. Often they’re overtaken by seeds sown next month when the lights stronger. So although it’s tempting, step away from the seed packets…
The wedding diary is filling up nicely for this year (& even some organised couples preparing for 2021). As I talk through their plans, it’s interesting to notice a shift in colour choices. While white & green, or white, green & a touch of blush pink or blue are still the most popular, nearly half of the weddings booked this year are requesting a bright colour scheme – reds, yellows, oranges, bright pinks, often all together. These weddings are going to have a real party vibe to them. And they’re giving me the perfect excuse to trial some vivid Dahlias in these colours, all new to me.
The exciting plans for this year are to expand our events calendar for the Spring & Summer.
I’ll be at the 'Big Brew' in Dunscore on Saturday 7th March with plenty of gorgeous British flowers.There'll be an opportunity to see Fairtrade products from around the world & to meet other local producers from Dumfries & Galloway too.
Your Flowery Inspiration links;
Until next time,
Another gorgeous golden Autumn day here so I feel compelled to make the most of it. A couple of weeks ago, I would confidently told you I was on track for this autumns work. But a string of wet days & suddenly the weeding, planting, sowing & general prep for next year is slipping behind. Who needs the gym if you spend this much time bending & stretching in the garden?
Digging dahlias when they’re stuck in wet, sticky soil is a horrible job. I admit to delaying. Hopefully it's not too late yet – the frosts haven’t been too hard. We had some beauties this year & hope they’ll keep through winter. My absolute favourite ‘can’t live without’ Dahlia after this year? ‘Caroline Wagemans’ – so productive even in light shade & a gorgeous soft peachy apricot. Pretty brilliant all rounder – one to look out for your borders next year. Mind you, that’s just my favourite Apricot… I’ve favourite whites, pinks (pale, medium & dark of course!), favourite burgundies, coppers, lilacs…
When the tubers are dug, I’ll wash them & leave to dry before packing away in wood shavings till March. This seems to be the best medium I’ve found for storage – relatively inexpensive, clean to handle & compostible.
The Tulips are going in this week. I spread planting for continuous cut stems from March to mid-May. I select a mixture of varieties, some early & some late season. Then each variety is divided into groups – some in the polytunnel for extra early blooms, some in full sun outside & others in part shade. Although wedding bookings are coming in, it’s difficult to predict the ‘must have’ tulips for weddings next Spring. I like to have options!
Using 'everlasting' or dried materials is a hot floral trend right now & social media is full of inspirational Autumn wreaths. Over the summer I've been carefully drying & storing a large selection of flowers, leaves, seedheads & more. As well as using in my own Autumn wreaths, I held back a generous stock to share at the planned evening workshop at the Frothy Café in Dumfries last week. Unfortunately to the horror of both Café owner Lucy & myself, the venue was double booked! I'' reschedule in the New Year.
But there are plenty of other opportunities to try your hand at some floristry in the next few weeks. We’re getting all Christmassy making wreaths in Dumfries (Frothy Café again – definitely booked), New Galloway (Cat Strand) & in early December. Details & online booking under the 'workshops' tab or by clicking on links above.
And I’ve opened up the order book for Christmas wreaths, garlands & Scilly Isles Narcissi for December delivery. Order online or drop me an email if you prefer.
We’ll be at the Christmas Fair at the Cat Strand, New Galloway on Saturday 23rd November & Kirkcudbright Farmers Market on Sunday 24th November. I'll be bringing Christmas wreaths to order plus some of our dried flowers.
Your Flowery Inspiration links;
Until next time,
Most of us prefer not to think too much about our own funerals. And that can make an already difficult time more challenging as family & friends struggle to choose funeral flowers as a final gift for you.
Feeling emotional, choosing a style from a catalogue is how most people have to do this. Another item ticked off the lengthy list of arrangements to be made.
Part of the difficulty is we don't know what else could be available or how much it might cost. Sometimes the traditional arrangements offered, while beautiful, may not be in a style you feel reflects the person you loved.
Funeral flowers, in my humble opinion, should start with the person you knew & loved. What did they love to do? Their favourite flowers? Colours? Were they a lover of the great outdoors, the natural world, their garden perhaps?
And if they were trying to live a natural, 'green' life as best they could, it seems ironic to give funeral flowers arranged in non-biodegradeable plastic, cellophane & floral foam. Many natural burial grounds don't allow funeral tributes using these materials to be left at the graveside.
So I offer an alternative. Natural flowers & foliage, mostly grown by ourselves here in Galloway. Always 100% grown in the British Isles, all year round. Arranged simply in an informal 'garden style' & 100% compostible, if required.
We've incorporated many personal touches - the wheat for the Farmers wife, the blue ribbons for the 'Queen of the South' fan, the Sweet Peas because it was her favourite flower, the cones & larch for the forester... And if you would like flowers from your loved ones garden included, I'll do my best to do so (subject to quality, of course).
Some examples of arrangement shapes are pictured on our Funeral Flowers page. If you would like something else, let's talk & we'll see what might be possible. Funeral flowers are, should be, personal, unique, chosen for that special person.
The way I arrange natural funeral flowers is not everybody's style or taste. But if you feel it would be the right choice for the one you cared for, get in touch by telephone or email.
Telephone; Rosie Gray on 01644 420407. If I don't answer, please do leave a message. I might be outside working (we grow most of our own flowers), out on a delivery or just not able to put a bouquet I'm making down quickly enough to answer. I'll return your call as soon as I can.
Yes, yes, I know it's early but our Christmas Wreath workshops are booking up fast.
Come along & make your own plastic-free wreath from natural foliage & decorate it with lots of lovely trimmings.
Always a fun, relaxed way to start the festive season.
At the Cat Strand Arts Centre, New Galloway on the 5th December & the Station House Cookery School, Krkcudbright on Friday 6th December 2pm start.
All materials provided. Further information here. You can book online here or send me a message to reserve your place. Telephone Rosie on 01644 420407.
Loving the gorgeous Autumn colours of these Squash in the Autumn sunshine a few days ago. To keep well they need to be 'cured' in the sunshine - the skins will harden & protect the tasty flesh inside. Delicious in soups, curries, roasted...
Reminds me how special the golden Autumn days are - I must make time for a walk in the woods to kick up some leaves!
A very satisfying 30 minutes or so last week spent collecting up a few Acer leaves & placing them in the flower press. The fiery colours re just appearing & I want to capture a variety of shades.
So a couple of sheets a day this next week should give me that selection.
When dried, I'll make them into some unique greetings cards.
Pressing flowers is a simple pleasure - it makes me stop & really LOOK at the details in each leaf or flower, appreciating it's beauty.
Thoughts of Spring here as bulbs are arriving by the box during last couple of weeks.
Always good to have something to look forward to isn't it? I could do with a run of dry weather to get them planted.
On Sunday 3rd November, Join me to plant your very own 'bulb lasagne' in a large pot to brighten up your view. You'll layer a selection of different bulbs to give a continuous display from mid-February through to May (depending on weather).
Everything you'll need is supplied & I'll show you what to do, step-by-step. Details & how to book on the workshops page here.
Autumn arrived here this week. First frosts knocked out almost all our Dahlias overnight - a full two weeks later than last year, so I know we've been lucky. It was well forecast so I spent the afternoon before the frost hit cutting dozens of Dahlias so we could enjoy them at the 'Autumn Glory' workshop - I couldn't bear not to!
Our fourth growing season here is now coming to an end. It's been a good one overall - not too hot, not too dry, the flowers have bloomed well & we've cut thousands of stems. I'm getting to know this piece of land better & what plants are best suited to certain positions which helps.
In previous years, Ken & I made great efforts to extend our season by protecting flowers from the cold & growing late varieties in the polytunnel. This enabled me to continue offering locally grown bouquets (with added flowers from Lincolnshire & Cornwall) right up until Christmas.
This year, we decided to stop protection from 1st October - & that was the day of that first frost! Although we've flowers here, the variety is reducing. So our local bouquet deliveries will cease until March 2020 (Mothers Day weekend) when our flowers are blooming profusely again.
I'll still be delighted to prepare flower orders for you for parties, weddings & funerals of course, & will bring additional flowers from British growers in the Scilly Isles, Cornwall & Lincolnshire. Get in touch early for these orders to ensure I have the fresh flowers required as we don't carry stock.
This allows me to shift focus & time from cutting & delivering bouquets, to planning ahead for next year & our busy Christmas season. The seedlings that will bloom for weddings next May & June are popping up nicely now. Soon they'll be ready to plant out in the beds. I'm tripping over boxes of bulbs so must start planting these! The Ranunculus & Anemones are on my list too for this week, Narcissi will go in the ground next but the Tulips will wait until November. This reduces the risk of the nasty disease 'Tulip Fire'.
We ran our first evening workshop at new venue The Frothy Bike Cafe in Dumfries last week & really enjoyed sharing Autumn flowers & foliage with the group. The schedule of workshops until the end of the year is now launched & bookings open.
Dumfries; We'll be meeting for short & very relaxed 'hands on' evening flowery sessions, at the Frothy Cafe on Whitesands. 6.15pm - 7.45pm Email me to reserve your place.
New Galloway & Kirkcudbright; 'Make Your Own Christmas Wreath' workshops in early December.
We’ll be at Kirkcudbright Food Festival on Sunday 27th October. I'll be bringing our own dried flowers as well as fresh. Also flowers to arrange yourself by the informal bunch or bucket (pre-order by Monday am & collection only) are available on Fridays & Saturdays this month.
Your Flowery Inspiration links;
It's a great month for admiring the autumn colour on the trees, the berries & perhaps drying a few interesting seed heads to fill your vases. Enjoy kicking up the leaves too!
Until next time,
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.