I'd planned to make a foliage vase today but as I was cutting I added in these Anastasia Green Chrysanthemums. I'm not really sure about them mixed with other flowers. They are quite bright but they do look good here with the greenery.
A couple of types of Euphorbia, some Penstemon foliage - which is good in a vase and is gong to be cut back in spring anyway, and Yellow Choisya.
I'm making a couple of bouquets on Saturday so I might try these green ones with the purples. I'll let you know how they look.
Last week I started to tell you about my floral journey this year. You can read about it here. Now for the second part.
Part two - Flowering
Gradually things started to flower and I had to start marketing.
I had to embrace Social Media, create my website and start Instagram and Facebook accounts. I'd never wanted to be on social media before so it was all new. Everything had to be photographed to build up a portfolio. It's also a wonderful record.
|Thursday bunches - a kitchen full of flowers in October|
Sales throughout the summer have been variable. Some weeks I didn't sell anything and felt very down and then there is a real thrill when I do sell and people appreciate the beauty of my flowers. I've sold to self employed florists, some bouquets and arrangements, some gate sales and towards the end of the summer I started selling bunches through a local village shop. Things started to pick up towards the end of summer which was frustrating as, of course, there are fewer flowers.
|I was lucky to already have this poly tunnel and here it is filled with Zinnias and Cosmos still with room for tomatoes behind.|
|A birthday bouquet|
Local florists are interested in what I am doing. Some will need persuading to convert to buying but some are already very enthusiastic and hopefully telling their friends.
I'm expanding my growing area and already have hardy annuals growing for next year. This time I'm laying down vast quantities of cardboard and covering it with whatever comes to hand. Grass clippings, straw, manure. It's going to be 3 or 4 times the size of the plot I made this year. I gave some willow plants to someone local and she is now supplying me with manure from her horses. It's karma.
I've just ordered a huge quantity of seeds as there were Black Friday sales on last weekend! Bulbs and biennials are already planted along with anemone and ranunculus in the hope of having a few early flowers.
Next is a planting plan and an assessment of the flowers I'm growing. The challenge is to produce a good mix of flowers and have a succession throughout the season. Some things can be sown two, three or even four times and I think I'll need to be ruthless about pulling things up and replanting when they have done their bit.
During April I did a two week Career Change course at Tallulah Rose Flower School in Bath. I had a wonderful time surrounded by flowers and learnt so much. They have a very relaxed, informal way of teaching to encourage everyone's individual style rather than the more formal 'we all put this red rose here' approach. This suited me and I think my own style is developing. I've continued to learn all year and am planning much more reading and studying during the winter when, hopefully, I'll have spare time. My brain has enjoyed the challenge, I was definitely stagnating.
There is plenty of help and information online amongst the community of small growers who are also nothing but encouraging.
It's been an exhilarating, exhausting, exasperating and exciting year and it's hard to believe that this time last year I had no idea I'd be travelling down this route.
Christina has asked about the flowers I've grown. That would have been an obvious thing to include but as this post is already so long, I'll expand to part three next week and include an idea of what I've grown this year and what worked.
Again, thank you for reading.