The new year of growing cut flowers has begun for us, slowly to start with but underneath the snow, there's a lot going on. Gently pull back the snow & dead leaves, the Tulips & Narcissi are growing well. We've planted over a thousand new Narcissi this winter so it's going to be quite a show!
Most of our work was indoors while it's been snowy but the plants are quietly growing away out there. The days are beginning to noticeably stretch now so in February we begin preparing the outside growing areas too.
The stars at the moment are the winter flowering shrubs - these are some of my 'desert island' plants I wouldn't want to be without. A large Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera Fragrantissima) grows near my back door. A rather plain green shrub for most of the year but In the past few weeks, is really earning it's place. This often delights me with a powerful waft of scent on the late night breeze when I take the dogs out for their final stroll in the dark. Just a few stems are a treat to enjoy in a bud vase on my desk & I often pop them in a bouquet too.
The Hellebores are full of buds now & a fabulous cut flower. They have a bad reputation for flopping though & many florists are wary of using them. The trick is to let them mature before cutting - so enjoy them in your garden now & then later this month, enjoy them in your vase too. Most of my Hellebores were grown from seed given to me in a tiny envelope over 25 years ago by the Great Aunt of a friend from my primary school days. Over time, I've picked out & increased the better colours - they're still called 'Auntie May's Hellebores' though! So many of my favourite plants remind me of people - somehow those names are easier to remember, aren't they? So we have 'Terry's Fuschia', 'Mrs Jefferies Geranium', 'Peter Roberts' Blackcurrant' to name just a few...
A large box of new Dahlia tubers arrived on Friday - I'll start a few of them (new varieties) off this week so I can increase the number of plants quickly & cheaply from cuttings. But most ( & last years saved stock) will wait until the end of the month. It's too cold here to plant them out until late May & they take up so much space.
All the seed has arrived now - & my fingers are itching to get sowing! A few of the toughies can be started in trays this week - more Sweet Peas, Larkspur, Foxgloves for late summer, fancy Primroses for next year & Antirrhinums. Unless you have somewhere warm & light to grow tiny plants on, hold back with the tender seeds such as Cosmos. It's better to sow small batches, often, over time to keep the continuity of flowers coming.
And if you're in need of a flowery treat, I'm bringing in deliciously scented Narcissi from the Scilly Isles by courier each week now. So if you would like to order some for yourself or a friend, let me know by noon on Monday each week. They can be collected from the Flower Farm on Fridays & Saturdays. Email Rosie
The diary is beginning to fill with bookings for wedding flowers so if you know a couple looking for locally grown flowers for their special day, do suggest they get in touch soon. We’ll be offering full service wedding flowers (romantic bouquets, buttonholes, venue flowers & more) again, as well as ‘Bloom Buckets’ of flowers for arranging by family & friends. I only take on a few weddings each week, & the busiest weeks book early.
We begin our calendar of events around the region on Saturday March 2nd when we take part in the 'Big Brew' event at Dunscore during Fairtrade fortnight. There'll be an opportunity to see Fairtrade products from around the world & meet local producers from Dumfries & Galloway. Do come along & say 'hello' if you're coming along.
If the weather is kind, there are many gardens open in the next few weeks for the'Snowdrop Festival' & they're definitely worth visiting. Be inspired by the sight of the first Spring flowers, the sun on your face & sound of birds beginning to mark out their territories with song!
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in February;
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.