As many of you know I sell my flowers at Snape Maltings Farmer's Market which is held the first Saturday of the month. So 1st Feb and March, then 5th April and 3rd May....On Saturday as I am not cutting flowers yet I have pretty bunches of Narcissus from The Isles of Scilly and I am mixing these with Hazel catkins. I also have baskets of Crocus coming into flower.
Hopefully by March I will be cutting my own Narcissus. If you would like an email to let you know what I am bringing to the market please send me your address and I will contact you in the week before the market.
It is a really buzzing farmer's market with lots of lovely producers selling meats, vegetables and baking.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Winter colour using British grown seasonal flowers can be a challenge but I would recommend:-
Forced bulbs of Paperwhite Narcissus, Amaryllis and Hyacinths. Next year I plan to grow a wider range of indoor Narcissus and Hyacinths as these have proved extremely popular this year. I grow on a small scale and don't have a heated greenhouse which in any event is not really very eco friendly just to force bulbs into flower early!! I do manage to force bulbs in the consevatory.
Dried flowers and seed heads. I dried my own Alliums and Poppy seed heads this year with good success and have found a fabulous supplier of local dried flowers in Winter Flora.
Flowering shrubs, including Viburnum tinus, Winter Honeysuckle and red stems of Dogwood also look stunning together and fragrant.
True winter flowers include Hellebores and Snowdrops which are starting to appear and they will last a little cut and in water especially the Hellebores but in truth they look so magical in the garden that it is hard to cut them!
Today I have been sowing Sweet Peas. I have already got autumn sown plants in my unheated greenhouse. These are largely heritage varieties which I have grown for several years for their wonderful scent.They include:-
Almost Bl;ack ( Modern Grandiflora)
Matucana (Heritage) Painted Lady (Heritage)....usually the earliest to flower
Edward of York (Heritage)
April in Paris ( Modern Grandiflora)
Anniversary ( Spencer)....usually the latest to flower
I also planted a sowing of Painted Lady and Edward of York in December and they are also doing well.
I have decided to try a sowing of Spencer varieties now and then a few more in March.
So today I have sown:-
I germinate them in the conservatory for warmth and then grow on in the unheated greenhouse.
I have bought my seed from Owl's Acre Sweet Peas in Lincolnshire and also Sarah Raven. Both have great websites with lots of information.
I will keep you posted as the season progresses.
Reading up about Sweet Peas I have decided Henry Eckford is my new hero. He worked as a gardener at the turn of the century and on retiring at 65 set about producing Sweet Pea varieties from the naturally existing Cupani and so we have the beautiful Painted Lady etc. Spencer Sweet Peas were then bred by the Spencer family's gardener.
I am hoping for a bumper crop this year!
I hope you all watched The Great British Garden Revival on BBC 2 last Monday. Rachel de Thame was looking at British cut flowers. It was a lovely programme and I think you can still catch it on I Player. It was so good to see someone championing our beautiful home grown blooms. Flowers are part of our culture and history and it does seem quite amazing the way this has been out sourced. Most shop bought flowers are now grown abroad in Holland, Ecuador, Columbia and Kenya, sold to the Dutch Flower Auction and finally sold on to the UK wholesalers, retailers and then customers. What a long way to travel. The varieties sold have become very restricted, often without scent and of entirely uniform size and shape. All very uninspiring. I am part of a small but increasing number of florists who grow their own and buy locally, reconnecting with our local floral heritage. There are some real advantages to this:-
So please next time you buy flowers ask where they come from and who grew them. Ask for British flowers and enjoy their beauty and scent for yourself.
I have been sorting through the garden photos from last year and came upon this spring picture. I went out to inspect all the pots of bulbs today. The Crocus, Tete a Tetes, Reticula Iris and Dutch Iris are all peeping through. Can't wait!
The weather was quite mild today, not sure what happens from here?? I have had to repair the cold frames and the greenhouse once so hopefully not too much more wind please.
Anyway this week it is all back to normal with Twelth Night tomorrow. My job list this week looks like this:-
Start getting compost onto newly dug bed,.
Sow more Sweet Pea seed,
Order more Sweet Pea seed,
Clear out greenhouse ready for more Sweet Peas,
Yes it is all about Sweet Peas....will let you know how I get on.
Happy New Year!
I have been having a lovely rest after a really hectic December and my thoughts are now turning to the cutting garden. I have a few pots of forced bulbs left....a very few. Then come the pots of Snowdrops, Crocus, Reticula Iris, dwarf Tulips and Tete a Tetes. Then the first crop of cut flowers which will be the early Narcissus. I already had about 400 to 500 Narcissus in the cutting patch but a further 450 have been added, mostly scented varieties. Then I have planted Anenome de Caen, English Iris, Ranunculus, Tulips, Sweet Rocket, Sweet Williams, Wallflowers, Alliums. Forget Me Nots and Stocks, Already in for Summer are Lilac, Ammi, Cornflowers, Lupins, Delphiniums, Honeysuckle and Roses. Waiting in the greenhouse are Sweetpeas, Dahlias, Larkspur and Gladiolus. There will be more....so watch this space! Obviously there is no guarentee that everything will work, there is no accounting for the British weather. However whatever my hopes are high for another year of beautiful flowers.
There are more exciting developments a foot some so early in the planning I will let you know later. What I can tell you now is that my husband is digging out a large new bed for even more flowers, I have weddings already booked through the year and shortly wil be sending out my first newsletter with information about what is going on in the garden (what is growing, what isn't but should be and what I am making). My lovely son is home from uni and he and my equally lovely daughter have set up my facebook page so you can also follow events on facebook and twitter. I just need a few more hours in the day!
Wishing you all a great flowery 2014.
My story in flowers started as a child growing a tiny patch of London Pride Saxifraga...also known as Whimsey or Look Up and Kiss Me! Fast forward to 8 years ago when I started a City and Guilds training in floristry. I qualified as a florist and then to deepen my growing knowledge and skills I trained in horticulture as well. I trained under a WRAGS scheme at Darsham Nurseries and at Somerleyton Hall. Developing a passion for both growing and designing/arranging British garden flowers, I planted a cutting garden. Having become increasingly concerned about where and how flowers are grown, coupled with a love of British grown flowers. and natural styling, I now specialise in growing and using beautiful British grown flowers to make romantic natural designs. for weddings, events, gifts and much more.