One thing about flower farming is that you are always having to think ahead about what you need to do now in order to grow fabulous flowers for the future. Of course, I’d like to say ‘plan’ rather than ‘think’, and yes, I do plan to a certain extent……but if there’s one thing that 2018 has taught me is the absolute truth of Burns’ phrase, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…..”.
I’ve blogged about Chenies Manor before, but it really is one of my favourite places, and right on my doorstep in South Buckinghamshire. Last weekend, they held their annual tulip festival and it didn’t disappoint. Despite the completely bonkers weather of the last few months, and it being the hottest May Day on record, the tulips were bearing up well. Mine on the other had, after a very long wait, were over in about two weeks this year!! Anyway, I won’t prattle on any longer, here are some pics of some really gorgeous tulips. Continue reading A Visit to the Chenies Manor Tulip Festival
I love visiting open gardens to get new ideas about what I can be ‘sewing and growing’. I recently had the pleasure of going to Forde Abbey near Chard in Dorset. It is a beautiful place, combining diverse and vibrant planting with moody and intriguing statues and design.
Spring can be a funny time for flower farmers. The initial rush and blooms of the daffs, hyacinths and tulips has been and gone, but it’s too early for the biennials. Therefore, it was with some trepidation that I decided to participate in a local artisan makers and designers fair (the Amersham Artisans) in late April, knowing full well that I might have limited flowers to sell.
I’m a firm believer that boundaries and constraints bring with them the most innovation and opportunity, and a quick assessment of what I had growing a couple of weeks ahead of the event made realise I would need to approach this differently to make best use of what I had. So rather than just sell flowers as I usually do, I decided to create a bold floral arrangement that would get people talking and interested, showcase British seasonal blooms at their best, and create something that quite frankly, I wouldn’t do every day! Continue reading How to make a Peacock using Seasonal British Flowers….
At the end of March, I had the pleasure of visiting Keukenhof in the Netherlands – home of vast expanses of stripey tulip fields. I’m sure you’ve all seen the photos – endless lines of vivid reds, yellows and pinks. It reminds me of the stripey carpet in the Clarks shoe shop in Leeds where I was taken as a small child to get my new shoes. Me being small…and the shop being big….it was a new and wonderful linear land….
Last November, I did the seriously back-breaking job of digging two long trenches in my new allotment that obviously hadn’t been dug over for several years: pulling out all of the weeds, and filling it up with lots and lots of lovely tulips. At the time, it felt HARD!! And one had to wonder whether it was all going to be worth it, toiling with my spade in the icy Chiltern air. Continue reading Tulipmania 1
It’s been quite a while since I last updated my blog, not least because so much has been going on!! I got a new greenhouse last autumn which I have been busy pottering around in, and sowing endless trays of seeds ready for this spring and summer. Christmas came and went in a cornucopia of festive wreaths and decorations. I’ve been working with florist friends on weddings and events. And I think most exciting of all, I’ve now been able to extend my growing space out substantially so that I can grow many more flowers, with much greater diversity that I was able to last year. So, yes, a lot to catchup on!
It’s that dahlia that time of year again…… All those midnight excursions into the garden with my torch and chopsticks to remove slugs finally seem worth it as my cafe au laits bloom into their giant fluffy and dishevelled loveliness.
But my garden dahlias are nothing compared to the dahlia show I went to last weekend at Chenies Manor, Buckinghamshire. It was a glorious Bank Holiday Monday with the sun beating down on hundreds of dahlias of all shapes, colours and sizes. Chenies Manor itself is a beautiful building, parts of it dating back to Tudor times. It’s the sort of place I would love to gambol around the gardens in a floaty lace dress accompanied by a chap playing Greensleeves on a lute to me. Nice slice of Victoria sandwich too!
I’m actually going to not go on too much about it because, as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words, so I’ll just show you a lot of stunning dahlia photos instead. Enjoy!!
I have been a little tardy in writing this blog for bluebell season has been and gone near me in Buckinghamshire. However, whilst they were in full bloom, I did get the chance to raid my garden and bring some of these beauties indoors. We have blue, white and pink ones although I chose not to use the pink ones in this arrangement. Continue reading One hundred years on…and you still make me smile