We have been on a little road trip. This included a visit to the cutting garden nestled within the kitchen garden at Chatsworth House. It was fabulous to see another cutting garden and one of such beauty. The garden is laid out for function and beauty which, in that iconic setting is what is required. Here at home this is also what I am aiming for although on a much smaller and less grand scale! The garden at Chatsworth still glowed with autumnal colour and taking centre stage were Chrysanthemums.....must do better next year. With Cosmos, Dahlias and Verbascum all still performing well. The team grow on clay as opposed to my sand and being that much further north and west....( you can't get any further east!) the conditions are much damper. I love kitchen gardens and this filled all the senses with not only the colours in the autumnal light but also the smell of dampness and bonfires that pervaded the air. The cycle of garden life. I love the fact in a kitchen garden, the plants are grown for a purpose....edible or decorative.
Back home I am still cutting Dahlias and this week had a lovely autumnal Southwold wedding. There is something really magical about my really local weddings. On Saturday morning I met the groom on the prom, taking in the scene on the beach whilst the bride was getting ready. It has been a glorious weekend here in Southwold with sunshine and even people swimming in the sea! It was another all British flower wedding with my Dahlias and Julie's Zinnias. As we move into winter proper I will have to use flowers from larger growers who grow more under glass but I am forcing Paperwhite Narcissus, Amaryllis and Hyacinths and bulb planting is still ongoing here. Running a cutting garden is a continuous cycle and if you miss a stage you are left with a picking gap.....sometimes unavoidable but not desired!
We are starting to go deep into Autumn. The colour palette is changing and the weather getting colder and wetter. This marks the start of planting in the garden for the year ahead. We are planting bulbs....Muscari, Hyacinths, Fritillaria, Narcissus, Alliums, Iris....the Tulips will wait until November. Also perennials Geums, Achillea, Aquelligia, Lupins....This is coupled with tidying the garden, mulching the beds. Sowing Sweet Peas....the hardy annuals being tucked up in the greenhouse to over winter. As we move into winter there will be Rose pruning and cutting back and mulching the Dahlias. If the weather stays mild there will be Dahlias for a few more weeks and we are still making and delivering gorgeous Autumnal bouquets. Weddings continue until until Christmas and we are planning for these along with making plans for wreath making workshops for the festive season and starting to force bulbs for Christmas bouquets and beyond. We are keeping the sunflower heads waving in the breeze for the birds and this morning our breakfast was disturbed by a Blue Tit foraging in the Jasmine.
Meantime I am enjoying the bounty of the season, there were Quinces on the market this week, along with every type of locally grown apples. I love Russets with their golden skins. The chimney sweep will soon be making his annual visit and wood will arrive for the wood store which has been cleared this week in readiness for it's arrival.
The sea is noticeably choppier with real waves and the nights are drawing in. The heating is on for the odd hour here and there to take off the chill. This morning A came to collect Dahlias for the harvest festival. Simple seasonal pleasures.
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.