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;
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.