Today we woke to a proper frost....what luck we put the Dahlias to bed yesterday! So today we have continued to tidy up, sorting through all the vases and other props we have for weddings. This was followed by sending out a bouquet by post to London. The bouquet included my Paperwhite Narcissus, Freesias from Guernsey, Heather from Cornwall and Alstoemeria from Sussex. I send my bouquets Special Delivery and my boxes are beautifully looked after by the lovely staff at Southwold Post Office. Then late afternoon a Bride and her Mother arrived to talk wedding flowers for next Spring. it is so thrilling that people seem genuinely interested in using British grown flowers for their weddings and events.
I grow here on a very small scale but quite intensively. I grow small quantities of flowers all year round. I try to grow things which are more difficult to source either varieties or colours, which I can add to my bouquets to make them really special. One of the huge benefits of using British flowers is the scent. Which is so different to most imported blooms.
Through the Winter the things I grow include Amaryllis, Hyacinths and Paperwhite Narcissus, then moving into Spring Hellebores, Grape Hyacinths, Scented Narcissus, Tulips, Alliums, Iris, Wallflowers, Hesperis, Sweet Williams, Foxgloves. For Summer we have Gladiolus, a few Roses, Hydrangeas and Peonies, crops of Cornflowers, Cosmos, Marigolds, Nigella and Sweet Peas....as we move into Autumn, Dahlias, Grasses and Chrysanthemums.....This isn't everything we grow but gives you a flavour. I buy in from other local growers and then further afield from other British growers and use British grown flowers all year round.
Below is a little gallery of things I have grown in the cutting garden.
Today we have been tidying in readiness for our Christmas workshops. A huge task after such a busy wedding season. There is more to do! In addition we have been making more wreaths and a sample table decoration. Today we have Ranunculus, Paperwhites and Freesias. My Paperwhites, Ranunculus from Cornwall and Freesias from Guernsey. I am not sure if we will be able to get Ranunculus for Christmas but it would be great if we could. In the afternoon this was followed by putting the Dahlias to bed with a thick covering of straw. We are lucky here that we tend not to get really heavy frosts but a sharp frost is forecast for tomorrow and we always mulch the Dahlias in a thick protective blanket of straw. Finally this evening I am giving a talk to the village gardening club.
Below is a little gallery of my Dahlias....roll on next year!
This week I am posting on behalf of Flowers From The Farm on Instagram and so I will be blogging each day. The idea is to show what a week is like here at The Garden Gate Southwold. I started the day by making a sample foraged Christmas wreath. I love making wreaths. I particularly like using garden foliages to create a really wild natural look.
I grow on a very small scale but quite intensively. Monday is a growing day. Today I planted about 5oo Tulips, 200 Muscari and 100 Iris. I have 250 Alliums and 200 Narcissus still to plant. We have planted about 3000 bulbs already and these are the last. It is always a lot to do in the autumn but so worth it in the Spring. This year I have planted different varieties of Muscari, Alliums, Iris, Narcissus, Scilla and lots of Tulips. I am also trying Fritillaria. I make bouquets and decorate weddings and events, so I plant with this mind.
Then at the end of the afternoon I drove to Hillcrest Nurseries where Julie is cutting her foliage and filled my car with Holly, Ivy, Firs etc. I have a large Holly tree and Ivy but it is great to use the different Firs that Julie has at her Flower Farm.
The thing about growing my own Tulips is I can have lots of different varieties and colours not available from the larger commercial growers. In addition to being able to pick on demand and the added benefit that my flowers are much kinder to the environment, with zero air-miles. I have planted more varieties than I can print here but if you follow my blog and social media feeds I show pictures of them as they come into bloom. Below are a few pictures from last year.
My Christmas Workshops are now confirmed and dates are on the website ...Christmas and Workshop pages. Some of the dates are already getting booked up, so please book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. These workshops are such fun and really start the Christmas season off. I like to keep numbers small so everyone gets plenty of guidance. This year I am adding a new venue, The Harbour Inn in Southwold, where they have log fires and a lovely cosy atmosphere. It would be great if you could join us either to make a wreath or your Christmas table flowers. The workshops also include some tasty seasonal refreshments and at The Harbour Inn there is the chance to stay on for a meal after the workshop if you fancy making an evening out. People enjoy the workshops if they come with friends, but many people come on their own and leave having made friends.
In keeping with my British/Local Flower ethos, I make my Christmas Wreaths with British Moss, and British grown foliages. I have a large Holly tree and lots of Ivy which I cut, I go to Julie's flower farm near Norwich and collect Fir foliage and cones. In addition, I have a delivery of Mistletoe from Herefrordshire. As it is all gathered in, the scents of Christmas waft through the house! "Bringing in the green" has long been a tradition for British Christmas celebrations and perhaps even further back in folklore. It brings scents and beauty into the house. A wreath on the door, says "Welcome" and "Happy Christmas" and "We celebrate Christmas here".
Tuesday 6th December 6-8pm Wreath Making at The Harbour Inn Southwold £45 including all materials and light refreshments.
Wednesday 7th December 9.30-12.30 Reydon, Christmas Wreath Making, make your own traditional Christmas wreath and get the festive season underway, £45 including all materials and light refreshments (Fully Booked)
Thursday 8th December and Friday 9th December 10am at Somerleyton Hall Wreath Making (This workshop costs £60 and includes lunch.
Tuesday 13th December 9.30-12.30 Reydon, Christmas Wreath Making, make your own traditional Christmas wreath and get the festive season underway, £45 including all materials and light refreshments NEW DATE
Wednesday 21st December Reydon, 9.30-12.30 Winter Flowers for Christmas, learn about cutting flowers from your garden in winter and make a winter table arrangement for your Christmas table. (3 Spaces left)
I thought you might be interested in what we grow and use through the year. Starting with what I grow and use through the winter and then over the next few posts what we grow and use through the other seasons.
If you order one of my winter bouquets or a British flower winter wedding, what flowers might I use?
Well I force Hyacinths, Amaryllis/Hippeastrum and Paperwhite Narcissus for winter flowers. These are grown undercover. I only have a very small undercover area but enough to give me a supply of these blooms through the winter. I buy in Alstroemeria and Ranunculus from a grower in Cornwall in the depths of winter and then in the early spring from a local grower in Norfolk. I also buy in other types of Narcissus and Freesias from The Scilly Isles until the early Narcissus are available from Cornwall. The gorgeous foliages come from my garden, Cornwall and Norfolk with Mistletoe coming from Shropshire/Herefordshire. I start cutting outside here in Suffolk in February/March with Narcissus, Hellebores and Blossom.
The one concession I do make, is the English Rose grower/supplier I use in the English season, also has a farm in Kenya and they grow scented garden style roses there. The farm is Fairtrade and the blooms are flown over in spare space on passenger flights, so are as eco friendly as possible. If winter Bride's would like Roses this is possible. The only issue is that I need notice as I have to order two weeks in advance, so if you are having a party or special celebration and would like some, I do need warning! The white Roses in particular look good with all the lovely lush English foliages. I will be writing a separate blog about these Roses and another about foliages.
If you would like to order a gorgeous winter bouquet please get in touch.
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.