May is a beautiful season at the Flower Farm as plants grow away at great speed. After recent rain, sunshine (& a bit of hail) I swear the plants visibly grow overnight! Fat new growth on the peonies, early perennials shooting skywards & blossom on the fruit trees – fills my heart with optimism as I look forward to all the flowers on their way now.
It’s a bit like ‘musical chairs’ though as I juggle plants in the covered space available. The Hardy Annual plugs (including Sweet Peas) sown early in the year are being planted out now. Tulips have finished & been replaced, but Ranunculus & Anemones are going strong, too good to pull out yet. I need their space for planting more plugs!
And in the greenhouse & polytunnel, trays are endlessly being moved. These seeds need the heat mat… those seedlings need a dip in water before they dry out... dahlias still too tender to go out & take so much space… Aagh! I’ve more protected area than even last year but it’s a challenge this month.
Nights can still be cold here so I’m cautious with tender plants such as Cosmos & Dahlias. Soon I’ll begin toughening them up by bringing them outside for the day & taking them back in at night. They’ll be planted out at the very end of May, if the weather is kind.
This is a good month for sowing seeds as they'll germinate quickly. These later plants keep colour coming here until late in the season. This past few days I’ve started off yet more Sweet Peas – they’re always popular & I like a few for late Summer weddings & parties. I’m growing even more grasses, seed heads & other flowers for drying this year too as this is a strong textural trend. They’re popular in bouquets, wreaths & even weddings at the moment.
Some of the best flowers for cutting (& often leave big gaps if cut from a home garden flower bed) are the traditional British Perennials. Over the last couple of years I’ve increased my stock, growing many from seed or propagating from a few plants. These provide good long stems including Geum, Alliums, Campanula, Scabious & Astrantia this month, next month it’ll be the Delphiniums, Lupins & Achillea taking the starring role. Most appreciate staking to keep them standing tall in wet & windy weather. A little time on this now saves much time later, avoiding the loss of beautiful blooms just as they’re about to flower because of a sudden summer storm.
As well as practical growing tasks, I’m preparing for June weddings, traditionally the busiest wedding month of the year. Some of the less glamourous tasks such as washing all the vases so they shine, cutting ribbons & more are jobs to do ahead of time.
Over Winter we applied for the UNESCO Biosphere Certification Mark - & proud to announce we’re one of the first awarded it! It was a rigorous, thought provoking review of our environmental policies. This is a special, sensitive place for flora & fauna so we take great care to look after the wildlife we share our home with. Admittedly though, we’ve not been terribly good at telling everybody else about what we do. So this process is the start of communicating our story better. In a nutshell…
Planning is gathering pace for our 'Big Flower Weekend' event on 15th – 18thAugust. Over 100 UK growers (all members of the ‘Flowers From The Farm’group) will be opening their gates for flower farm tours, flowery themed workshops & more! We'll be hosting a 'Flower Farm Tour' & a 'Tour plus Posy Making Session'. Still trying to sort out the practicalities so details of how to book your places will be in this newsletter next month.
Your Flowery Inspiration;
Here's a couple of links for beautiful new ways to use dried flowers.
Enjoy the lengthening days, hopefully plenty of sunshine & perhaps planting up your own Cutting Patch if you can!
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.