May 2021 News
Please forgive the tardiness of the update this month. I blame it on the weather – seems still cold enough to be putting together an early April newsletter rather than something form May!
Hasn’t it been horribly cold at night? Are your greenhouses/cold frames/windowsills bursting at the seams with seedlings too big for their pots, hammering at the glass to get out? I will admit I got so fed up with it all I took my season in my hands and planted a good deal out.
I have a new protective system: I dislike horticultural fleece as it shreds and disintegrates too easily, and Fabrizio hates the jarring white colour of something specially gardenish like micromesh. So we invested in a couple of hundred metres of green builder’s rubble mesh and made tunnels with it – MUCH cheaper than horticultural micromesh and still lets plenty of light through. The tunnels are made with hoops of cut down piping and pinned down with pig tail spikes. Fencing posts at each end of each run give something to tie it all to. The best thing about builders mesh rather than posh horti mesh is that it has a run of hemmed holes down the middle and each side so that you can pin the mesh without ripping it. And the other great thing about this tunnel system is that the whole thing can be packed away and used again and again and again.
Inside you have a nice little micro climate, like a cold frame, in which plants can acclimatise to outside, not be killed stone dead by night after night of frost, and direct-sown seeds germinate happily. This is proper Fabrizio Heath Robinson stuff and has been very effective.
Another (ahem!) bonus allowed by the cold weather causing a slow spring will be that we won’t have that hungry gap between the tulips and the roses. Our tulips are very much still going strong when normally I’d be clearing and prepping their beds for dahlias already. Luckily the dahlias are slow too, so hardly champing at the bit to be planted out as they were last year. Once again the garden reminds me that I can only plant and hope and hedge my bets in the greenhouse and that no matter how exactly laid out my flower farming spreadsheet, the weather/garden combo will give me what IT chooses and not I.
Still, the exciting news is that despite the weather, we reopen for face to face workshops next week! We've been able to add a space or two on some of them, so do check if one was previously sold out that you were interested in attending as you might be lucky and snap up the last spot before someone else does. And our popular online sessions continue through the summer with more flower filled fun to learn to do and less on the business side. Let’s play with flowers while we have them I think, and we’ll get back to business in the autumn! Though I have a chat this morning with the lovely Nicola, my colleague who helps me keep the online part of this business running smoothly, and I can feel the necessity of scheduling workshops through the autumn being one of the things she says I must do.
So do book yourself a flowery session here, whether online or in person. All the flowers we use are fresh, British grown, mostly from the gardens here (despite whatever the weather throws at us), and won’t be so different from what you grow yourselves, or might be inspired to grow in future. Increasingly I see my job as a facilitator: as a species we have been growing plants on purpose for 12,000 years, but often the instinct and confidence to do this has been eroded by modern life. And more and more research says that spending time with plants, the earth, and playing creatively with flowers is good for your mental health. So join me, here at the farm, or online, and I’ll inspire and enable you to release your inner florist and have more fun with your garden and the plants you grow.
Meanwhile our bouquets by post continue to be sent for Thursday and Friday deliveries. We do sell out, generally the previous Friday, so don’t delay if you have a special occasion to order flowers for.
And I LOVE that since my email saying I wouldn’t be taking bookings for any more laaaarge weddings, I have had a full confetti shower of commissions from people organising dinky weddings, elopements, small events, who, even with the lifting of lockdown, are sticking with the new chic of the intimate celebration. I’m so enjoying planning the flowers for these smaller events and look forward to more commissions like this for years to come. Of course if you’d like to do your own flowers for your own event then do join me for one of our workshops upcoming and I’ll show you how. Creating with flowers isn’t difficult once you’ve split the jobs into their constituent parts and thought ahead – and it’s my job to demonstrate the possibilities.
So good luck and happy digging as I always write on the fly leaf of my books when I sign them. The oak is out well ahead of the ash so I think we have a good summer ahead, and when things start to grow it will be amazing.
Ps just to annoy my children I’ve been playing with that platform of noise and splangle Tik Tok – MUCH easier for me than you tube – and if you fancy some little garden how to clips I’ve put them all up there so do have a look, and maybe even a follow if you like. Thank you!
And while we’re on the subject of social media (please don’t groan!) sometimes people are incredibly kind and give us a google review. If you’ve attended one of our workshops or had flowers from us you’ve liked then a google review is worth a great deal to the search engines so I’d be incredibly grateful if any of you had five minutes to post a review of Common Farm Flowers there - click here for the link. THANK YOU!