February news from the farm
And minute by minute the light returns.
Such a relief for me. Not just because I’m not a big fan of long, dark, winter nights, but because I can really get some work done! I love that I can stop for a cup of tea mid-afternoon and then go back out and get a couple of hours more in before it’s too dark to see what I’m doing.
Slowly slowly out come the seed trays for a wash, in come the sacks of compost for seed sowing, the greenhouse is made sparkling and ready for the first big seed-sow of the year (15th Feb.)
I’ve yet to wash the polytunnels, and one of them is being used as a lavatory and snack bar by a muntjac which is fun (for the muntjac!) But if I can’t actually smell the sap rising, I can sort of begin to feel it, and that gives me energy and purpose and a great sense of relief.
THE big activity here at the farm is the work on The Project.
When we moved to Common Farm in 2004 there was a falling down barn in the field which had never had planning permission and had been mouldering on its concrete pad for twenty five years, unloved and abandoned.
We’ve always known we’d do something with it eventually, and finally we managed to get permission to turn it into a hub for Common Farm Flowers. When we came to Common Farm we didn’t even know we were going to be flower farmers, but over the years, as we’ve developed the flower growing patches around this derelict building in the middle of the plot, it has become obvious that what we could do with it is make the barn the centre of the operations here and have all the flower growing around it.
And so at last this is finally happening. Common Farm Flowers will have its own entrance from the lane, parking – even a plug for electric cars – and the cut flower patches will stretch away from the restored building which will nestle in the middle with views all around. I’ve laid the hedge we planted to hide it so that the view is clear around - you can see how I did this here.
At the moment I feel as though the whole flower farm is a bit of a quagmire, but you have to break eggs to make an omelette!
And THE big activity online has been the launch of our YouTube club.
Thank you so much to the two hundred people who’ve joined – our first club live at five was great fun and we have another scheduled for 9th Feb 5pm gmt and this time we have a focus for the session which is Planning the Year Ahead.
I want to reassure people that the YouTube club is absolutely not just for flower farmers or florists, but for anyone interested in growing and arranging flowers, whether for pleasure or profit. Click here and look for the JOIN button to find out more (but note this doesn't show up on the YouTube App, frustratingly!)
And - another reassurance hopefully - the launch of the club doesn’t mean I’m leaving all my other social media platforms: I will continue to share plenty of free content across YouTube that anyone can watch, and we’ll still be posting regularly across Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram. So please keep in touch using whichever of these you love the most!
So, here’s to seed-sowing soon. And a new layout for the farm. And continued discussion with Fabrizio re new fencing.
And there are five workshops in Feb for you to enjoy: The Flower Farmer’s Year (sold out – but new date scheduled for 8th March,) The Sweet Pea Demo 3rd Feb, The Social Media for Your Small Business workshop on 8th Feb, The Design a Cut Flower Patch Workshop on 22nd Feb, and The Dahlia Workshop on 28th Feb.
All these sessions take place online sessions and recordings will be sent out afterwards in case you’d like to see it again or can’t make the session live.
My top tip number 1 for gardening in February is to make sure that all your garden beds have had a good mulch which will feed your plants, feed the soil, encourage worms to come and work the compost into the soil so aerating it, and help prevent water evaporation during hot months ahead.
Top tip number 2 is to wait to sow seeds unless like me you can’t bear to wait any longer and have an undeniable need to get going.
Top tip number 3 is to remember to order some summer flowering bulbs like gladiolus which will give you great pleasure 100 days after you’ve planted them.
And let the sap rise, and minute by minute the days lengthen, and another season flower soon. X