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Garden Loving at Forde Abbey in Dorset

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.

Continue reading Garden Loving at Forde Abbey in Dorset

Tulipmania 2

A couple of weeks ago, I posted Tulipmania 1, where I described all the tulips I’d planted last year. With tulip season now pretty much over, I thought it worth writing its gripping sequel, Tulipmania 2, and providing a few pics of them all in their glory…

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How to make a Peacock using Seasonal British Flowers….

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….

A visit to Keukenhof

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….

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Tulipmania 1

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

Spring Bulbs are here

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!

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A day full of Dahlias at Chenies Manor

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!!

A Fistful of Dandelions – a haunting tale of floral snobbery

When I was at primary school, I had a friend who lived up the road from me – let’s call her Debbie. I used to walk home from school with Debbie every afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day in May, and it was also her birthday. I’m sure that I (or rather, my mum) must have bought her a present, but I can’t remember what it was, probably some Mr Men knickers which were all the rage in the early 80s. But what I do remember was that there were masses of yellow dandelions everywhere, and they were particularly abundant on the central reservation of the dual carriageway that we had to cross to get home. Continue reading A Fistful of Dandelions – a haunting tale of floral snobbery

One hundred years on…and you still make me smile

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

A flower arrangement to make you smile

Last weekend was the first time I’d been able to get out and collect a bunch of floral goodies completely from my own garden. There’s a real mix of colours and textures out now and actually the arrangement I created here says more Summer to me than Spring. Hot reds and yellows, coupled with deep blues remind me of the circus and is probably not my usual style. But you know what? It’s bright, it’s jolly and it’s fun!!

Continue reading A flower arrangement to make you smile