About my garden

Monday 26 November 2018

Floral Update Part One and In a Vase on Monday

Good morning, 

This is an arrangement I created for a 101st birthday table centre. It's bigger than it looks here, probably about 60cm long. The brief was that it was to have impact but also not be too tall so people could converse over it. It stars Chrysanthemum 'Avignon Pink', 'Porto Purple' and 'Saratov Lilac' I think but some of the labels have got in a muddle. There is also some Bay, Leylandii and honeysuckle tendrils. I like a bit of whimsy. 
I'm joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday. 

Cathy asked last week about my first year of flower farming so here is an update. 
I've divided this post into two as it was getting longer and longer and I don't want you to drop off. 

Part one - Growing

A bit of background for those of you who don't know - Early this year I had the chance to make a career change. The choice was to stay in my office job working for a new boss or try something new. I chose to create my own Flower Farm. 
I have a fantastically supportive husband who is right behind the venture so we started in March by hiring a turf cutter. We only had it for a day and it was hard going even though it was petrol driven. 

This is what my main plot looked like. 
This makes it look huge.I divided this plot into two with a path up the middle. 
Meanwhile I was raising seedlings inside. To be honest it wasn't very different from a normal year. I know many of you are the same and we have trays and trays of little plants waiting in the wings. By the time we get to our safe planting date (May here in the UK) our covered areas, windowsills, spare floor spaces and cold frames are full to bursting with plants which need to get into the ground. 

We had snow in March, heavy, twice and then a heatwave in April. The seedlings survived though and then I had to get them planted. 
I'd dug over my plot once but from now on I'll be using the No Dig method. I love planting out on a newly dug plot and in rows,though it does lead to aches the next day. 
Seedlings. I should stand here and take a picture every month!

I had my Winter Sunshine Sweet Peas growing in my poly tunnel. They flowered from April for three months, I think. 'Opal' was the most gorgeous colour and went to a couple of weddings. (I didn't do all the wedding flowers). I'll be growing that again as well as white. I grew other Sweet Peas outside and they were so good I couldn't keep up with the cutting. 
'Opal' and 'Navy'
One long bed viewed from the opposite end. The posts are for horizontal netting which is very effective at supporting stems. 

Summer drought, you can see how brown the grass is. Most of the landscape here does not belong to us, we just enjoy it. The nettles do.

The truth is that the second long bed was never fully dug before the drought and never got planted until late summer. However, along with things growing in the tunnel, the dahlias in my old cutting beds and these, I had plenty flowering. 

That is the first part, thank you for reading to the end. Come back next week for some more flowery pictures. 

Monday 19 November 2018

Chrysanthemum love In a Vase on Monday

When I tell people I've got Chrysanthemums flowering they often make a face. I know what they are thinking and the word does conjure up images of yellow and white petrol station flowers wrapped in cellophane. 
Let me introduce you to something a little different. 

Here is my vase with a few of my gorgeous Chrysanthemums plus some Parsley. I really have to search to find some good looking foliage to add in. 

'Tarantula Red'

'Avignon Pink'
It's hard to describe the colours in these. They are pink but sometimes have caramel or cream tones and I think get more pink as they age. 
Some of these Tarantulas have droopy stems so I've cut them for myself. Most of them have sturdy stems and last for ages in a vase. 

Staking has been difficult. Plants have grown enormous (I suddenly remember writing about this last year) and then topple over and the stems grown at odd angles which is no good for cutting. The odd kink is fine but right angles are no good. I must work out a better way of staking or perhaps pinch out more so the plants are not as tall. 
They are all growing under cover. I know some other growers have lost their plants to frost even under cover. I've been lucky. Possibly as we are quite high here. Temperatures have been right down to zero even under cover. 

Wandering the internet yesterday I found another spider type in caramel colours but I really shouldn't buy it, I don't have room...

Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what interesting things everyone has found to put In a Vase on Monday. 

Monday 12 November 2018

(Not) In a Vase On Monday - 5 years

Does anyone else make something pretty then spend 20 minutes trying to get a good photograph? Or is that just me?
I've made this little wreath/hanger to celebrate with Cathy 5 years of her meme In a Vase on Monday. Over the five years it has become very important to it's loyal followers. I joined in about 2 years ago and it was definitely one of the many factors contributing to my decision to begin Flower Farming this year. It proved to me that I loved growing and arranging flowers, and having people admire them is very encouraging. 
That said, we are not using vases this week. For one week only it's (Not) In a Vase On Monday.

I've been all round the house and these are the best pictures I could get. 

I've been making wreath bases for Christmas and beyond with anything I could get my hands on. This is Jasmine but I've also found Elaeagnus works well. I made a tiny one today for me. It's about 20cm across. I've also used some tiny pink rosebuds which I dried, dried Marjoram and some ferns which are not dried but I think might dry nicely once hung. 
The buds are wired.
Dried flowers are all the rage once more with Honesty being the most sought after. Florists up and down the country are looking for it. If I'd realised sooner I would have tried to dry more things and definitely more Honesty but then comes the problem of storage. 

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for inspiring, commenting, encouraging and holding it all together and thanks to Cathy and everyone else for adding to my endless list of plant and seed 'wants'. 

Monday 5 November 2018

Autumn colours In a Vase on Monday

We've had two hard frosts in the last week which meant the end of anything remotely tender, sadly. I've started cutting back the dahlias and I will lift them. I've read ( and watched on You Tube) plenty about whether or not to lift, and how to store and divide. There are many options and I've decided to lift them as I think they'll get a better start next year and there is the opportunity to divide and make more plants. Always good! I'm not sure where I am going to store them yet. In the past I have treated them very badly and still found the majority grew well the next year. That doesn't mean it's a good idea. 

I picked this vaseful in seconds yesterday. Chrysanthemum 'Orange Allouise', Pineapple sage flowers and a stem of Dusty Miller. This plant has so many names it's thoroughly confusing. Today I'm calling it Cineraria maritima though I'm not sure that is correct. It doesn't have the divided leaves of the more common one. If anyone has experience of growing this and over wintering, I'd be interested to hear how you got on. 

It's a lovely plant which I really recommend as it goes with many things in a vase. 

These flowers are growing under cover so I can try and prolong my harvest a little longer. I am looking at yellow roses through my window though so there are some tough plants outside still giving. 
Pop something in vase and join in with Cathy for In a Vase on Monday.