June news from the farm
Well I don’t know about you but I feel full on whirlwind here.
It’s always the way that the busiest time of year for me is between the beginning of March and mid-June because of all the seed sowing and propagating and planting out which happens at the same time as the beginning of my harvesting year in April with the wedding season upon us with an explosion of colour and creativity which will keep us dancing all summer long. And of course in amongst all this there’s the Chelsea Flower Show too!
I feel half thrilled with so much to do, and half exhausted as I realise how much I’ve over-committed. But it’s always more fun than dreary, and it’s good for one to rise to the challenges and meet them.
No two summers are the same. All springs are stressful – this one because cold, wet, and looow light levels that left me feeling as sluggish as the plants. But it is always the case that eventually the plants begin to grow on. And while I’ve been weeping and wailing about how late it all is, suddenly there’s a great catch up going on.
Roses are popping on time. The dahlia cuttings, taken a month later than I usually would have, are rooting and will only be planted out a week later than usual. The seedlings, finally being put into warm, and well-watered ground are putting on growth so fast one can almost see it with the naked eye.
And so we have summer. I’m determined to make the most of it. I will luxuriate in the sunshine, spend as much time as possible outside, be an efficient flower farmer so that I don’t miss a minute of the gorgeousness.
And of course the seed sowing hasn’t finished. I’m still sowing the last of the cosmos and zinnia seed for a late autumn flush. And I’m sowing biennial seed so that I’ll have seedlings to plant out in the autumn to flower next spring.
I’m filming most of what I do now – partly for the YouTube, where there’s masses of free content for everybody to enjoy, partly for the YouTube club where you can see all our clips ad-free and usually with a bit of extra info, where we hold regular live Q & A sessions completely driven by the clubbers who choose the topic for the week and send in the questions, and now, because I’m beginning to film my online workshops and demos so that they’ll be available at any time for people to order and download.
We have students at our workshops and demos from all around the world, and increasingly people are booking a place and then downloading the recording at a time that suits them. So we decided that I would record some of the sessions rather than hold them live, because we can then a) include the garden more and so show people much more of what goes on here at Common Farm, and b) we can keep the price down as, we think there will be less admin.
So this is an early heads up about the first trio of recordings, which will be available soon: How to cut and condition flowers from your garden, How to prepare to create wedding flowers from your garden, and How to create bridal party flowers. The idea is that you can order the sessions individually, or bundled as a group of three.
As always the sessions are designed to be straightforward, informative, and helpful on a deeply practical level. If you’re looking for floaty dresses and tinkling music look elsewhere: if you’re looking for the best, clearest, most informative how-tos on the subject of each clip then they will be right up your garden path (do see our Google reviews if you’d like to know more about how people have been impressed by our workshops.)
So there we are. The flower farm grows but we have to keep pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones to keep ourselves on our toes and reaching all the people who would like to learn more about growing and arranging with cut flowers, about running micro businesses. Only three years ago I was being encouraged to do filmed online content at all. Now you’ll find me out in the field, miked up, with my remote control filming thingymahoogy, my phone held up by a brilliant and very inexpensive (how did it take me so long to get one of these!?!?!) tripod.
Meanwhile, in other news, The Project is coming on up the field. My dream is to move the business out of the house and into the soon-to-be-roofed derelict barn which has stood in the field here since long before we moved to Common Farm. I intend the flower farm fields to slowly coalesce around this central barn. I want it all to feel a bit like the trials beds at RHS Wisley where a much posher shed makes the central focus there.
To that end we’ve spent some hard-earned cash fencing the whole seven acres here against deer and rabbit. The idea is that we can now remove some of the interior fencing, which has protected patch after patch as we created them, fencing which now needs refurbishing, and which, put up as and when the flower farm grew in a generally haphazard manner, means I have to walk much further than entirely necessary every day. Now while a little fresh air and exercise is a good thing, to be able to dance up and down the rows of roses without having to first walk half a mile to go through a gate will mean massive time saving and much more space.
So join me this June here at the farm for Fabrizio’s wildflower meadow workshop, garden tours, our three day floristry extravaganza (which can be done as one, two or three days), and lots of online demos and workshops and keep a look out please for the new recorded demos and workshops which will be landing as new products on the website soon.
And don’t forget to sow your biennials! Sowing biennials is how I commit to making a garden again each year, June 15th is the start of my flower farming year.