Soft, Vintage colours in these dried Hydrangea flowers, saved from last Autumn.
After a request for 'interesting dried stuff to paint' from a local Artist, I've been having a sort out today of the leftovers. These came as a lovely surprise.
They're interesting as you never quite know what colour they'll be when dried.
I'm looking forward to seeing the results in watercolours soon!
Note to self - save more Hydrangeas for drying this year...
Moving on to Winter Whites this week after taking down the Christmas brights - I like it when indoor colours reflect outside. Most of the year, that means green but in the last cold snap, these Narcissi 'Paperwhites' reflected the snow through the windows. Deliciously scented too!
The snow is finally melting today & the garden green again. To be honest, after the snow it looks rather beaten down & muddy out there. Fingers crossed we've not lost precious plants - the heaters were on in the greenhouses as night time temperatures plummeted, hopefully all is safe. Most vulnerable are the Eucalyptus plants outside - they're still young & it isn't unknown for hard frost to cut them back to the ground, or worse.
It’s already getting that little bit lighter in the evenings, isn’t it? While there’s still cold & wet weather to come, changes appear daily in the garden as this month passes. The beds look lifeless – but pull back a few wet leaves & you’ll find stirrings beneath. A few Cyclamen flowers, shoots on the Narcissi & Snowdrops, buds appearing on the Hellebores & fancy Primula grown from seed.
Best of all is the scent from winter shrubs - the Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera Fragrantissima) wafts it's heady perfume around on a gentle breeze. It doesn't last many days indoors, still a few stems on my desk this week, helped me work through accounts. It's one of my 'Desert Island Shrubs' planted in every garden I've owned. I was delighted to discover a nice mature one by my office window when we moved here.
January is a strange month at the Flower Farm. I'm itching to get started with a list of jobs longer than my arm, yet the big freeze has frustrated me at every step since Christmas. I want to make new beds for annuals & shrubs - impossible as both compost & ground is frozen. The greenhouse windows & polytunnel need a good scrub to let in maximum light, & seed trays are piled up awaiting washing prior to sowing too, But the thought of wet, cold hands last week didn't thrill me, so it's left undone. It's early yet but these practical tasks make life easier later.
So planning & prepping is all I can do until the ground thaws fully. And planning isn't easy for any of us just now, is it? I put together a Flower Workshop programme of new events & planned to launch it today in this Newsletter. But all the carefully planned dates for March & even April look a bit optimistic now. The work is done & I'm sure we'll have a better understanding in a few weeks time. I'll put the information up as soon as the situation is clearer &bookings can be made.
This week, we've again been talking with several of our Wedding couples, revising plans. Some are facing their third changes. All I can do is grow flowers, guess at the most popular colours & know there'll be plenty of flowers when required. 'Flexibility' is becoming my new middle name as large weddings become small garden weddings & even elopements. Interesting to see how these small weddings are evolving, becoming very special & perhaps more individual.
And whatever might be happening out there in the world, there’s plenty to look forward to in the cutting garden this year. All our new Dahlia tubers are ordered, many tried & trusted favourites plus new varieties too. This year I've invested in a large stock of Chrysanthemums - shock, horror! I know they've been out of fashion. I've been dabbling with these quietly over the last couple of years. Once past the dull 'petrol station' bunches & supermarket horrors dyed blue (& even covered in glitter), I've come to appreciate their beauty, longevity in the vase & range of shapes & colours. Many bloom very late too, keeping quality stems coming after the Dahlias have been hit by frost. By the end of 2021, I'll either be smitten with a new obsession or they'll be dumped!
These are lean weeks for British cut flowers, making every interesting stem more precious. I bring in boxes of deliciously scented Narcissi from the Scilly Isles & love mixing them with evergreens & interesting stems such as coloured Cornus, Twisted Hazel & Willow.
Current restrictions limit us to deliveries at present (no Click & Collect yet). Our Regular Subscription flowers & flowers for funerals will continue as normal. Local Bouquet Deliveries will continue on Fridays 22nd January & 5th February. 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 - volumes are low at this time of year usually & I order only what is required. Order online or by telephone 01644 420407
Usually I end with a list of jobs for the coming month - this time, there are several don't do's instead! Make the most of the bright days when you can, wrap up warm & enjoy the beautiful frosted garden & landscape.
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in January;
‘Flowers always make people better, happier & more helpful; they are sunshine, food & medicine for the soul.'
Luther Burbank, American Botanist Plant Breeder
Until next time,
Your Flower Links for January;
This December has been our busiest ever for Christmas Wreath orders - thank you so much to every one of our customers, your support has been so appreciated this year.
Every one of the wreaths I make is made by hand & unique - a blend of natural textures, conifers, evergreens such as Hollies plus berries, cones, heather, mistletoe & more. They smell wonderful!
Most of the foliage used is grown here in Galloway - this used to be a conifer nursery so there's a wide range of different trees & shrubs that I can use. Additional foliage (& this year Holly Berries as our bushes were stripped early) is brought in from elsewhere in the British Isles.
The wreaths are made on a wire ring, covered in moss - I NEVER use floral foam as it's a significant cause of marine pollution & not recyclable/reusable/compostable. Finally the trimmings requested such as berries, cones, ribbons & cinnamon sticks are added for a festive touch.
In addition to decorating local homes, this year our Christmas Wreaths have been sold online & sent countrywide!
This splendid bough of Mistletoe berries is all one piece - the tree bough on which it's been growing has been cut through so it could be removed. This Mistletoe was grown in the UK but not by me. It does grow in some old gardens here in Galloway & I've been trying to get it established here on my apple trees for several years. It's very slow...
Mistletoe has many myths & legends but it's association with Christmas (& stealing kisses!) is probably a Victorian invention. This year we'll be trying the elbow bump instead perhaps...
I'll be breaking it up into smaller pieces, adding to my handmade Christmas Wreaths - another shape, another texture to add into the rich mix of foliage included.
Apologies for the bad hat - all I can say is that it's warm & fortunately the Fashion Police rarely visit the Flower Farm up here on the Hidden Road near Balmaclellan...
Well, I wasn’t expecting that… was my thought as I looked out of the window on Friday morning to see snow. Yes, it was forecast but it looked as if we would miss it. Only an inch or so, just enough to look scenic & all gone by lunchtime. I HATE driving in deep snow & nobody is coming to grit this road… Was it a warning from Mother Nature of what’s to come this Winter? Or just to remind me why I don’t take bookings for December weddings? The shovel, spare wellies & blanket are back in the car, just in case.
December is a hectic month of Christmas wreaths, garlands & more as we near the big day. Freshly cut conifer in my workshop smells wonderful, mixed with the delicious scent of hand cream slathered on my hands – wreathmaking is a very tough job for fingers! It isn’t time to stop yet but I’m ready for our first break since February.
And Christmas Wreaths are being delivered earlier than ever before as it seems many need a bit of Christmassy colour. Our natural wreaths last well, given a regular spritz of cold water. This year I’m sending wreaths by post (many as gifts) – the furthest is on the way to Cornwall!
Fashion in wreaths changes year to year & Instagram has a continuous parade of stunning ones. This year the wild, ‘foraged’ look is still very ‘on trend’. Many include dried elements such as teasels, grasses, bracken & everlasting flowers. Richly textured Conifers in multiple varieties is a big trend (fortunately this used to be a conifer nursery so there’s plenty here to snip). And trimmings are lighter, more natural too – lots of cones, berries & smaller ribbons or streamers in many colours (I’ve even made a couple with rainbows of colourful ribbon streamers). I’m being asked NOT to put bows on lots of wreaths this year. Fashion is fickle… at the end of the day, every wreath I make is unique & we can choose whatever makes you happy.
When planning the Wreath Making workshops this year, I had doubts if we would be able to do them. But we did! Last week at Ernespie Farm Centre, Castle Douglas (a fabulous new Café, shop & garden Centre – well worth a visit) we were fully booked. A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who came along – I’ve missed working with groups this year & loved seeing the gorgeous creations at the end of the evening. Thanks also to Fiona at Ernespie for encouraging me to be brave, get back to some kind of normal & to D&G Council, for sound, practical advice on how to do it safely. On Friday 11th, I’ll be at the Station House Cookery School in Kirkcudbright for another workshop. If you would like to come along & make your own natural wreath, there are 3 places left as of this morning. Book Online
And now we have a process, I’m putting together an Events calendar for 2021, ready to launch in early January. There’ll be some growing, some floristry… Is there anything you would like to do? Email me with your suggestions please…
Children worldwide are opening doors on Advent calendars, counting down the sleeps. Instead, I’m counting down the days to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Once this landmark date is past, I’ll be looking for every extra minute of daylight in the evenings. There’ll be many long evenings to come poring over seed catalogues by the warm wood burner through December, January & February - but we’re on the way.
This year I was caught out with a sea of too many white flowers – perfect for the scheduled weddings that didn’t happen. Much less popular for the bouquet deliveries we had to switch to as events took over & we had to adapt our entire business, fast. Next year, there’ll be a lot more colour in the flower field! Definitely looking forward to that… (Don’t worry wedding couples, still plenty of white for you!)
The deliciously scented Narcissi from the Scilly Isles are delivered direct to me from the Scilly Isles every week this month. I love them in generous jugsful in the kitchen, the hallway, often mixed with evergreens such as Eucalyptus or in little dainty Posy vases grouped on windowsills, beside my bed, all over the house. My absolutely favourite winter flower. To order yours for Christmas, please let me know quickly as demand for the ‘Paperwhites’ is always high. Almost all of my preorder has been reserved & if I need to order more, I must do so this week. Order online or by telephone 01644 420407 for local delivery or collection.
If you would like a small wrap of a bunch or 2 (they’re a lovely gift), these can be collected from the Flower Farm. A small quantity of wraps will be available from InHouse Chocolates in Castle Douglas too.
For the next few months, our bouquets & chocolate shop posies will be filled with flowers 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.
Jobs for December;
Thank you for encouraging us to keep on going & growing our natural, seasonal flowers. And warm wishes to you & yours for the Festive season, a healthy New Year & spectacular Cutting Patch in 2021!
And the last word this month?
‘Where Flowers Bloom, So Does Hope’
Lady Bird Johnson
Until next time,
Your Flower Links for December;
Perfect flowers for a Snow Day - deliciously scented Paperwhite Narcissi, grown outside naturally in the Scilly Isles. Boxes of these are sent direct to me from the Islands for maximum freshness.
These little wraps of 20 stems make a lovely 'wee minding' gift at this time of year. And of course you could just treat yourself!
These wraps are available for collection from the Flower Farm on Fridays.
To order larger quantities to decorate your house at Christmas or as a gift, order online here or telephone 01644 420407. Local Delivery available or collection.
It's a while since I showed my face on the Blog - with lockdown hair etc. probably as well!
So I thought I would say 'Hi!' from our Flower Farm near Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway in South West Scotland. I'm Rosie & together with my partner Ken we cultivate many, many varieties of flowers & foliage at Galloway Flowers.
We're coming to the end of our 5th growing season here & it's the time of year when we're looking forward into 2021.
Planning what to grow, what not to grow, filling the events calendar (& right now I need a crystal ball for that) & how to develop as a business.
We use our flowers in our floristry - for weddings, funerals, special events & local bouquet deliveries. We take our flowers to the Kirkcudbright & Castle Douglas Farmers Markets & to Loch Arthur Farm shop in the summer months.
We supply flowers by the bunch & bouquet for keen flower arrangers to make their own arrangements for DIY Weddings, family parties & church decoration.
I admit to being a bit of a plant geek. Always have been, ever since I was a toddler. And while following a career, I always came home to my garden & allotment, knowing it was 'my thing'. I loved to spend time there. Sadly, horticulture & floristry have never been particularly well-paid careers, despite the high skill & knowledge required.
Gradually though, my 'side hustle' began to take over for me & Ken was keen to move nearer to his family near Castle Douglas, so here we are...
These handmade Willow Hoops trimmed with natural foliage, berries & cones are among my favourite door wreaths to make this year.
As always, every one is unique, & after Christmas the foliage can be composted plus ribbon & hoop reused. So far orders include wreaths decorated with cheerful ribbons (like this one), tartan, natural hessian, a multicoloured rainbow of streamers & of course, no ribbon.
What trimmings would you choose?
To order one for your door or perhaps to send as a Christmas gift, message me or order online. Wreaths can be collected, delivered locally or sent to UK mainland.
A bit of sunshine made lifting Dahlia tubers so much easier. Every year I plan to have this job finished by mid-November, but somehow it always takes much longer.
A few days of rain (& we've certainly had that!) & I slip behind.
These nice fat tubers will be trimmed & stored safely in a frost-free place till early March. It's worth the effort - it saves considerable money to do this rather than buying new stock each year & ensures I have my favourite varieties.
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.