Well here we are at the dark-at-four-o’clock season again with the promise (or threat?) of Christmas around the corner, and such short days that by the time you’ve got going you feel as though it’s time to go to bed already. I had a strict list of things to do in the garden this November and, so far, I’ve achieved one of the four big jobs. The dahlias are put to bed under a thick mulch of heavenly (my new fave toy!) Dalefoot Compost. Three thousand tulips are in. But the roses are yet to be pruned and the sweet peas aren’t yet planted in the tunnel. However we are only Wednesday (when writing this), and December isn’t till Sunday so there’s plenty of time yet. UPDATE - the sweet peas went in yesterday, just in the nick of time before November came to a close!
Hasn’t this rain been awful? It’s a mud bath out there. Today I spent a fab day today talking all things growing flowers with the delightful James Frost of Quinta de Sant’Anain Portugal. He is a man who’s really living the dream: growing wine, veg and, increasingly, flowers on an old family farm where they have holiday cottages, a wedding venue, and… I think soon will be holding floral retreats featuring yours truly! Keep an eye out for that - the phrase #flowerfarmerontour is becoming international. Poor James, though English, is clearly unused to the relentless damp of a Somerset November day. We sloshed around the garden, standing water on all the paths, and he clearly thought we’d do better running a more indoors kind of business. If you’d like a one to one session here at Common Farm, whether focused on flower farming, floristry, running a small business, or social media, do get in touch and we can arrange a date for you - though I can’t guarantee the weather.I’ve also had a great time lining up workshops for next year, lots here (see our workshops page for the list - and what a list it is!) and a nice fat list coming along for this #flowerfarmerontour. I’ll put a list of those out in the January newsletter when all the dates are confirmed (maybe including a trip to Portugal!)
So what are the jobs in the garden for December? Well, if I have succeeded in planting the sweet peas in the tunnel and pruning the roses, then December is for ordering. I’ve yet to order any seed for next year (see Higgledy Garden for my fave seed supplier,) dahlias, roses, bare root shrubs… If you are planning to order plants for next year do look at the Independent Nurseries Guide, an excellent resource for high quality suppliers of top plants in excellent condition. I’m keeping a close eye on the seedlings in both tunnels, careful not to over water, and never to water after mid day, or if a frost is forecast. And when it’s as wet as this I’m trying to keep off the land as much as possible - a footprint in this weather just makes a sump, even in better drained land than our Somerset clay.
So while you tootle through our website ordering treats for your friends and family, I too will be glued to the internet, enjoying ordering presents from all my independent supplier friends, like Lou Archer (alpacca poo fertiliser,) Netherton Foundry (amazing cookware - a gift of a lifetime,) wine from my friends at Tuscan Farm Shop and Snapdragon (gorgeous hand made crafts.) I’m determined to enjoy a completely #indieChristmas this year including books from our lovely local Bailey Hill bookshop, all kinds of fine meats from Kimbers’ Farm Shop, and more wine from The Somerset Wine Company… yes, there is an alcoholic theme to my shopping.
So have a good one all, I’ll see you in the new year.