Started cutting foliage for our handmade Christmas Wreaths. It's this mix of evergreens & conifers that makes every wreath I make unique.
The exact combination of textures & shades plus the trimmings added (like berries, cones, ribbons etc.) is never repeated. There so many shades of green! The blue-greens, the golden-greens, the limey-greens...
All wreaths are made to order & can be collected, delivered locally or posted to UK Mainland from early December.
It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas...
A tad worse for wear, this wreath has seen a lot of weather since I hung it on my workshop door last December. Wind, rain, frost, a little snow & hot, hot sunshine (remember that?)
In that time, as the foliage dried & colours changed, it's become more than a wreath. Now it's habitat, home.
I noticed a tiny wren roosting in here last February, on a wild, stormy night. She (or he) flew from the wreath as I opened the door, switching on the lights. This has happened often since when working in the workshop after dark, so I left the wreath all year.
But last night I jumped out of my skin as 4 tiny wrens flew out, fluttering around my workshop! Now a des res for Wrens it seems.
Wrens like snuggling up together for warmth & commonly roost together in tree holes. They seem to get under the wreath foliage, just to the right of the cones - perfect for them. A warm natural moss base, under the foliage & north facing eaves, nice & dry.
If you would like to make your own Natural Wreath to decorate your door, join me at a 'Make Your Own Wreath' workshop in December. There are a couple of places on the workshops in Castle Douglas & Kirkcudbright. All socially distanced of course.
I can't promise you a roost full of Wrens but you never know...
I've been spending a little time each day clearing my phone of photo's - you know all those weird out-of-focus shots, pictures of knees & the floor(no, maybe just me who does that) & of course all the 'why did I bother with that one?' shots.
It's freeing up plenty of space & best of all, reminding me of all the flowers cut, arranged & delivered this year.
This little Posy from May was full of cheerful, happy Spring flowers, just perfect as a little 'floral hug' during lockdown for a birthday celebrated alone.
And it reminded me not to be too ruthless with my weeding. Forget Me Not's seed everywhere here, I often complain about them being weeds.
But in Springtime, I love them & enjoy having masses to cut...
The wood opposite has turned from Autumn Golds to Winter Browns, making me acutely aware of the changing season. Still beautiful – I see further through the curvy trunks, often spying Roe deer further in. Colourful leaves on the ground & I couldn’t resist gathering different shapes for the flower press. Long dark evenings are an opportunity to use them for special handmade cards, gift tags & such.
This Autumn seems to have been spectacular – perhaps the trees kept leaves later, until last weekends storms. Perhaps I appreciated being out & about in the golden light, enjoying reflections in Loch Ken on still days as I went about my deliveries.
We spent several hours raking leaves last week. It’s a precious compost additive & best done before they become wet & slippery on paths. But I’m not sure it looks as if we’ve started! So many more seem to have fallen in the past few days. Hard warm work but enjoyable when the sun shines.
The pace is slower at the Flower Farm this month, less urgency & a chance to catch my breath before the Christmas wreathing rush begins. The Dahlias are blackened by frost so we’ve started lifting them. One of the least favourite jobs of the year – easiest to do while the soil is dry as cold, wet, muddy tubers are horrible to handle. I try to get them all out as they’re expensive & more likely to survive until next year if I do.
Every daylight hour is precious, especially on dry days. Weeding is a huge job this month – they really got away from me in the wet August rain & I’ve catching up to do. Then the ground can be given a good mulch with compost & planting Tulips & Hardy Annuals out can begin. These are the crops for cutting next April through early June & it’ll be good to see them underway. When planted, I’ll fleece them to give protection from cold nights & wind.
This winter, we’ve decided to change the large polytunnel layout. Long term it’ll be more efficient so I’m planting less in there than usual. And we want to knock down the dividing wall in my little workshop making it larger too. Social distancing is going to be with us for a while so more space for visitors is needed. Sounds so simple but both will take us hours to do.
My workshop became a bit of a dumping ground this Summer, if I’m honest. Without regular weddings requiring floristry space (& visitors!) it became more of an embarrassingly scruffy potting shed! I’m intrigued to see the tidy potting sheds of Monty Don or Carol Klein on ‘Gardeners World’. All those neatly stacked (washed) trays, pots, swept floors, tools on hooks, no cobwebs… how do they do it? Maybe mine will be like that next year…
This Autumn has been a poor one for berries – few on the Hawthorn & Rowan trees. The Fieldfares stayed only a short time before moving on & birds are already flocking to the nut feeders. And the Red Squirrels are eating us out of house & home at the moment! Our ‘regulars’ can be identified by their slight variations in colouring & yes, somehow they end up with names...
Now the long dark evenings are here, I’m making wreaths with dried flowers stashed away all season. I’ll bring some along to the Farmers Market in Kirkcudbright on Sunday November 22nd & the Christmas Market in Castle Douglas on Saturday 28th November. These make lovely Christmas gifts, weighing little & easy to send by post. If you would like me to make one for you in a particular colour scheme, let me know.
Almost all of our flowers are harvested now. For the next few months, our bouquets & chocolate shop posies will be filled with flowers from growers further South (mostly in Lincolnshire, Cornwall & the Scilly Isles). Our Regular Subscription flowers, local bouquet deliveries on Fridays & flowers for funerals will continue. 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.
Christmas Wreaths can be ordered for delivery from week commencing 30th November. Order online or by telephone.
The 'Make Your Own Wreath' Workshops are bookings fast. The dates are;
Jobs for November;
The growing year gives us a feeling of continuity, always something to look forward to. Plant a flower, watch it grow & you know something beautiful is on it’s way, soon. With a little planning, as one flower fades, another takes its place. It keeps us optimistic.
Last month I finished with my favourite gardening related quote. So many commented on it, so here it is again.
'To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow'
November can seem a dark, damp, sad month in the garden some days, the end of the year is close. But it isn’t at all. Plans made now, bulbs, shrubs, trees planted this month will bring pleasure next year & beyond. This is the beginning of your gardening year too & there’s plenty we can do to make 2021 a better one.
Until next time,
There's something so very satisfying about an afternoon spent weeding - unlike so many domestic tasks, I can really see where I've been!
A few weeks ago this bed was packed with the last of this year's Cornflowers, left for the Honey Bees to take the last feeds from their nectar.
In the next few days, it'll be crammed full of specialty Tulips, scheduled to be cut mid-April to May next year. The growing year doesn't stop.
That's one of the reasons so many people have come to love gardening, I believe, in this difficult year. It keeps you looking forward, always.
Plant a flower, watch it grow & you know something beautiful is on it's way, soon.
With a little bit of planning , as one flower fades, another takes it's place.
Admittedly the scale of my Tulip planting (& weeding) is more than you might want to take on. But planting up large pots full of inexpensive bulbs is a great way to start. A big splash of colour by your front & back doors, perhaps to view from your favourite window, or on your balcony would be a wonderful treat to come.
Sadly we had to cancel our scheduled 'Plant a Bulb Lasagne' workshop this year, but hope to be back with it next Autumn.
For now at the end of a golden Autumn afternoon it's time for a cuppa & a soak. I feel like I've been playing 'Twister' for too long. And there's still plenty of weeding to do tomorrow...
Chrysanthemums have been out of fashion for a while - associated too much with the supermarket (even dyed blue & covered in glitter - horrid!), the Garage forecourt or perhaps sad associations with funeral arrangements.
My Father grew them when I was a child & that green, leafy smell brings back memories of hot afternoons tying stems to stakes in an instant. I thought they were a bit of a faff to grow to be honest (MUCH preferring the bright Dahlias) & largely ignored them.
Until now. I forecast a change is in the air...
I've experimented with Chryanthemums in recent years on a small scale & beginning to appreciate their qualities.
In the meantime, enjoy these beauties from expert growers in Lincolnshire. They've been included in my bouquet deliveries & chocolate shop posies in recent weeks. Stunning hey?
Enjoying these Autumn treasures , on the Nature table that my kitchen windowsill is becoming. Gourds, Hydrangea, Bracken, leaves, Helichrysum flowers for a pop of colour...
Sometimes a quiet, lazy day is forced on us by wild Autumn storms, nothing entices us outside. And it's a perfect way to recharge after non-stop busyness of recent weeks.
Wouldn't these gorgeous, richly-coloured Autumn details make the most perfect table decor for an Autumn wedding or party? Get in touch if you think so too - dates available to book for Autumn 2021...
Sometimes the timing is just right, the stars align & well, last Friday I got really lucky with mine!
This might not look an inspiring, instastyle picture but oh, so pleased with this haul of fresh cut birch.
While delivering a bouquet to a regular subscription customer, a few houses along I saw tree surgeons busy, piling up branches from a tree that was coming down. Well I just had to stop & ask didn't I?
Birch is perfect for making natural wreath bases, adding a touch of wild texture, supporting flower stems - so many uses. Now I'm ready for dark evenings indoors, making wrreaths for Christmas...
Maybe you need to be a flower farmer florist to be so excited about a heap of twigs?
While most of our Dahlias outside were blasted by hard frosts in September, these few have still been producing a few stems every week. I planted them in the polytunnel to be sure of Burgundy blooms for a late October wedding - special request from the Bride. And they made it for the big day!
Now these last few are adding a splash of colour to our 'Friday Flowers' bouquets.
The speed we go from cutting Dahlias by the bucketful to a handful is rapid. I
m missing them already & it's time to pore over the cataloues to plan 2021.
What new beauties can I add? Which varieties should I grow more or less of?
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.