So Goodbye January & Hello February!
While I know this is still a cold month, I'm already seeing & feeling the stirrings of Spring. Are you too?
The days are just a little bit longer at both ends now. It's easier to wake up, & there's more time to garden in the afternoons. In early January, it seemed as if after breakfast, lunch & walking dogs, the light was almost gone. But yesterday it was past 5.30pm when I came in for a cuppa. And I was ready for it!
January was my 'Get Ready' phase of planning, deciding what to grow & placing the orders. Now February is 'Get Set'. It's the month of preparing to implement those plans. Having decided what to grow, spoken in more detail with wedding couples, the picture is clearer. Now I can calculate how many plants will produce those flowers. Then it's the challenging bit - how to fit it all in the space available! Planning can be a frustrating, time consuming task but I'll be ready for 'Go!' by March.
It's a good time for doing jobs to make my workload easier in the busy Spring & Summer months.
When weather allows, work begins on the big tidy up outside. Heaven knows it needs it after the relentless Storms. The beds & paths look messy, scattered with broken sticks, leaves & pots tossed around in the wild winds. I leave stems & seed heads on most plants in Autumn, providing food for many birds & shelter for insects. But now I'm gathering them up, weeding as I go. I start with plants the slugs & snails love to munch,such as Delphiniums. The tender shoots are perfect for propagating new plants so must be protected. Once beds are cleared, a generous mulch of homemade compost will be added, feeding the plants ready for growth.
The first new Dahlias are scheduled to arrive this week. It's too early to plant them but I'll propagate cuttings. Hopefully, my tubers from last year will get through Winter safely & divide into even more plants. Though expensive, I hedge my bets buying new stock, just in case extreme cold destroys the old tubers. This year I've invested in new-to-me rust, red & orange varieties as these are increasingly requested colours for weddings. But there'll be plenty of the favourite varieties from previous years too.
The first batch of Sweet Peas have germinated well. I'll prick them out this week & if I can keep the Mice away, these will be my early crop in the polytunnel. I'll sow my main Sweet Pea crop on February 14th or soon after. As I love Sweet Peas, it's an easy date to remember!
What can I begin to grow this month?
It's too early to sow most of your seeds - wait until March for better results. If your fingers itch to start, sow Sweet Peas, Antirrhinums & Larkspur. Plus start corms such as Ranunculus & Anemones for flowers in May & June.
In the vegetable patch, Broad Beans can be started off now. Later in the month, Tomato, Pepper & Chilli seeds can be sown if you have a warm, light space for them. I planted Garlic yesterday between some of my Roses. I've read planting Garlic & other Alliums (onion family) among Roses deters Blackspot. The Blackspot wasn't bad last year but I don't know if it was the Garlic protection or coincidence. But it was good Garlic nonetheless so as good a place to grow it as any other...
What Can I Cut This Month?
The Snowdrops are pushing up so fast this week & last well in tiny bud vases of water. The Wild Daffodils here have buds on now so will flower before month end. Hellebores are budding up nicely & I've cut a few from the Tunnel already. Twigs & foliage are beautiful still, giving height to arrangements.
Bright Cornus & Willows, Catkins on Hazel, Birch, Alder, Garrya & Pussy Willow. The berried Ivy, Skimmia, Viburnum Tinus, Heathers, & Arum leaves. The scented shrubs such as Lonicera Fragrantissima (Winter Honeysuckle), Daphne & Wintersweet are wafting scent about the garden. You need just a few stems to scent a room.
I've cut a few stems of Forsythia this week as it will quickly open buds indoors. Mix with a few stems of Narcissi from the Isles of Scilly, perhaps a few Lincolnshire Tulips (hydroponically grown indoors) for an cheerful Winter arrangement. I have these available most weeks so let me know if you wish to order.
Wedding bookings are being confirmed & there are already weeks in 2024 fully booked. If you know a couple planning to tie the knot this year & who would love our locally grown flowers, the Wedding Pages can be found following the links from this page. As well as large Bespoke Weddings for Couples planning 'the whole Shebang', we'll again be supplying Couples with our simpler Wedding Packages options. These include 'Bloom Buckets' of mixed flowers for Family & Friends to arrange. Weddings are arranged from March to October only.
The 'Arrange Your Own Wedding Flowers' option is now open for bookings. This is an affordable option for Couples wishing to fully DIY their wedding flowers.
Mothers Day is very early this year - Sunday 10th March. Bouquets of colourful British-grown flowers for local delivery & collection can be ordered online now.
And you can, of course, telephone me on 01644 420407 if you prefer talking to a real person rather than ordering flowers online!
Workshop Dates are on the website & I'm receiving bookings already for the first dates. So far,
Jobs for February:
Until next time,
And the last word this month?
'There is always in February some one day, at least, when one smells the yet distant but surely coming Summer'
Gertrude Jekyll (1843 -1932 Horticulturist, Garden Designer & Author)
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.