June hasn’t exactly started off ‘flaming’ here in Galloway – it’s probably best described as ‘good growing weather’ today. And to be honest, I’m happy with that. It’s a big month for weddings & I’m counting on our plants for plenty of strong, gorgeous stems for our couples. I would just like it sunny every Saturday for those weddings please!
The Chelsea Flower Show is a treat to visit, always full of inspiration & I’m guaranteed to return with a long plant wish list every time. This year wasn't an exception with the trend for a natural look, with wild, green foliage dominating the show gardens. Geums, Heuchera, Lupins, Cow Parsley & Ragged Robin were runaway favourite plants with the designers & reflected in floral design trends too. I admit to a splurge on a dozen new Lupin plants, all different varieties & brought them back on the train! This time next year I’ll know which make the grade as good cut flowers. And there are a few more items on the wish list...
As well as our own Galloway-grown flowers, we’re enjoying fabulous Peonies & Stocks from the Lincolnshire growers now. These have appeared in many of our recent bouquets & popular at the Farmers Markets. Although we grow Peonies, our plants are only 3 years old so producing small numbers of stems still. Stocks take a lot of space & this year I’m using my precious polytunnel beds for more early Sweet Peas. These delicate flowers don’t travel well & locally grown Sweet Peas retain the true scent for which they’re famous. Our first were cut on the 23rd May, & the outdoor crop should start later this month.
British Flowers Week is from 10th - 15th June so look out for press coverage of British Flowers. Over 90% of the cut flowers sold in the UK are imported from overseas (especially Africa & South America) so this week reminds people that top quality flowers are grown in this country too, By buying locally grown, seasonal British flowers you'll fill your vases with the freshest blooms, grown to high environmental & ethical standards.
Here at the Flower Farm, the beds are full of promise now – Rose buds are swelling, Alliums & Sweet Williams coming into flower & Dahlias shooting up too. I seem to whirl from one task to the next as there‘s much to keep on top of. Long days encourage growth so a key job here this week is staking to keep stems straight. A windy gust can snap stems in an instant so it’s worth spending time on this before necessary.
It’s a good time to plant Gladioli – yes, I know they conjure up images of Dame Edna, may seem a bit old fashioned, gaudy or even brash … maybe all those things. But I’ve a soft spot for them as they’re great for plugging the late August/September gap in the border & vase. They’re easy to grow, tolerate close planting & relatively inexpensive – what not to like? There are new hybrids in fabulous shades including dwarf types. My favourites are Murielae (formerly called Acidanthera, small & deliciously scented), ‘Green Star’ (green), ‘Chocolate’ (very tall, deep maroon flowers) & ‘Halley’ (small flowers, cream). The bulb catalogues often suggest planting early in Spring for June & July flowers. I find them more useful later to mix with bold late summer Dahlias, Rudbeckia & Asters so always hold some back to plant now.
We’ll be at the Producers Market in Castle Douglas again on Sunday 16th June & at Kirkcudbright Farmers Market on Sunday 23rd June. If you need a flowery fix before then, I'll be making up bouquets & wreaths to order as usual for collection or local delivery. Also flowers to arrange yourself by the informal bunch or bucket (pre-order & collection only) are available on Fridays & Saturdays this month.
Your Flowery Inspiration;
Here are a couple of links for you;
Until next time,
Rosie Gray of Galloway Flowers. Artisan Florist & Cut Flower Farmer near Castle Douglas, in South West Scotland. Using 100% British Flowers all year round.