January is a quiet month at the Flower Farm - after the hectic pace of Christmas, it's a treat to be slow, snuggled up indoors with the log burner going. That sounds rather lazy but I've learned to value the break, nobody can go full tilt forever. 'Burnout' is very real, whatever your work & the past 3 years have been unprecedented here. The long days of Summer will be back soon enough & we want to be ready.
There's plenty to do, of course - the unseen behind-the-scenes work essential for any business. The accounts deadline looms, time with excited wedding couples, & planning what to grow, when & where all season long.
I'm not a big goal-setting, 'new year, new you' kind of person but will spend time looking back over the past year. It's helpful to spot trends, to plan next steps in that context. To recognise what worked, where tweaks & additions are necessary & just as important, what to 'stop doing'.
As new plant & seed catalogues arrive, it's easy to keep adding 'more' to my growing list - the trouble with being a plantaholic! So many tempting varieties, new colours... But to allow more space for the very good, or to try something new, something must drop off the list too. There simply isn't space or time to do it all. So I've been ruthlessly reviewing flowers I don't use much.
Just because 'everybody else grows it' doesn't mean I should. Not everything thrives here. If I don't much like a flower, I rarely include it in bouquets/arrangements.
Astrantia for example - I use every single stem produced of the pink, ruby & silvery-white varieties. But there's another white patch, hugely prolific but the flowers always looks grubby, so I never cut it. It's going! Something else can go in the precious sunny metre or so it takes up in a cutting bed.
And there are others in my sights too...Cleome are off the list (smelly & spiky), a couple of Roses (can't cope with heavy rain & horribly prone to blackspot). I love Godetia but it produced too little last year, a couple of Dahlia varieties in less favoured colours, a red Achillea that grows faster than any other & I just don't need that much! Some will be moved to the garden for the Bees (I'm not that good at ruthless). Others I'll simply not sow or propagate again.
And on those precious dry, even sunny days, the 'to do' list is as long as my arm.The polytunnels & greenhouse await a good wash & tidy to let maximum light in. Seed trays & pots need cleaning & organising ready to use, the compost heaps turning.
It's already getting a teeny bit lighter each day, isn't it? So it's tempting to start sowing seeds (social media is full of it) but I recommend caution. Sown this early, seeds struggle for light, becoming thin & stretchy. Seeds sown in early March quickly catch up, even overtake, the early starts. This month, I'll start a few Sweet Peas (most sown in February), Larkspur & Antirrhinum. Everything else can wait.
For my vases, it's thin pickings this month, making every stem extra precious. The Hazel Catkins & coloured Cornus stems are lovely - I've a bunch in the kitchen this week. The scented shrubs such as Lonicera Fragrantissima (Winter Honeysuckle) & Daphne fill the garden with heady scents on gentle breeze days. If you planted Narcissi or Hyacinths in bowls, you'll be pleased as you bring them indoors now.
But in just a few weeks, the Snowdrops will be carpeting the grass again... The cutting beds look lifeless today but gently pull back the leaves & mulch, there are stirrings beneath!
This is a busy month for wedding bookings & if you know a couple planning to tie the knot this year, the wedding pages can be found by following the links from this page. As well as bespoke wedding flowers for couples planning 'the whole shebang', we'll again be supplying 'Bloom Buckets' of mixed flowers for family & friends to arrange themselves. The most popular Summer dates book quickly & I can only take on a few weddings each week.
I’ve begun putting together an Events calendar for 2023 & booking is open for the first dates. So far;
Doubtless there'll be more cold weather to come, so enjoy any dry, bright weather if you can, admire the beauty of frosts & snuggle up when it's cold. Dream & plan for the beautiful flowers that will come!
Until next time,
Jobs for January;
'What good is the warmth of Summer, without the cold of Winter to give it sweetness' John Steinbeck (American Writer)
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.