Winter to Spring update
It is a busy time at Cotswold Country Flowers HQ and with many lovely events coming up to celebrate this spring, it's a long blog but well worth the read…the finale is my six top tips to create a cut flower patch.
Mothers Day, Easter and Subscription Flowers
Let’s start with a first for me… Mother’s Day bouquets! We are all missing our Mums/Aunts/Grandma’s so much I just wanted to share the flowery love earlier than usual this year. I have some excellent suppliers of British flowers teed up to help me with top ups and I’m so looking forward to delivering the most amazing bouquets of British grown spring blooms on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th March in the Dursley, Wotton-under-Edge, Nailsworth and Stroud areas. Order books will be closing on Tuesday 9th March to give me time to prepare the most fantastic gift bouquets.
To coincide with Mother's Day, I'm also excited and delighted to launch my popular monthly subscription flowers service, a whole month early! What a treat! A seasonal bouquet can be delivered each month from mid-March right through to December 2021 if required.
Easter is hot on the heels and once again I’ll be making seasonal bouquet deliveries in the Dursley and Stroud areas on Saturday 3 April (Easter Saturday) - order book is filling up already!
Seed to Vase 2021
It's been a pleasure to meet both my Seed to Vase groups …. initially online of course. But thanks to having all fingers and toes crossed we will be meeting in person in early April (yippee!). I introduced a couple of extra free sessions, provided a starter kit, and turned into a Vlogger (whatever next!) with a series of YouTube videos. Together we have shared the excitement and anticipation of the growing process – starting with sowing hardy annuals. The Whatsapp group is already resounding with squeals of delight.
We have lift off!
After several weeks of tooing and froing I ticked off another technical milestone with the launch of my online shop for dried flower products. The dried flower wreath-making kits were a hit, and I sold lots as Christmas/birthday presents or lockdown craft activities. There are still a couple left; they include full instructions - oodles of flowers, of course - together with a YouTube video
The 2021 wedding season was looking busy, with most from last year deferred. However, not surprisingly many couples have had to rethink their plans once again - the next few weeks will be critical to see when it will really be possible to safely meet in large groups to celebrate such a special day. One of the advantages of growing my own flowers is that I can service all sizes of weddings including “micro-weddings''. Different tiers and lockdowns have affected everyone's wedding plans, and I just want to help as much as I can. Definitely, something to look forward to as another heavy shower of rain batters my office window!
I’ve already got several dates listed for my popular Garden to Vase workshops together with Cut Flower Growing days, Pick Your Own Flowers and Garden Tours sprinkled into the mix. Numbers are limited and places are filling up quickly already as lockdown rules are relaxed. They make great gift “experiences” which are all the rage now.
Softening tricky times…
I have found it enormously gratifying and a privilege to provide a very bespoke and personal service to prepare beautiful, biodegradable farewell flowers all completely British. It is always such an honour to be entrusted with the role of florist for a funeral and I now have a dedicated page on my website. There is no more fitting tribute to a garden-lover than a wreath or arrangement of flowers that celebrate the best of spring in the garden and I love to incorporate a few sprigs or stems from the family’s garden (if it’s possible) to make the tribute even more personal and relevant.
Spring is here!
I must confess that I did a happy dance this week as I noticed the first of my tulips appearing. Last year, the voles munched their way through my whole crop... a mere 250 tulips! This year, I've chosen a different location, and it's looking promising. Together, with the Snowdrops and Narcissi, which are starting to bud-up, I have an optimistic spring in my stride!
I've taken these first spring steps to start sowing hardy annuals like Corncockle , Cornflower, and Ammi Majus, to name a few. Still, I do need to pace myself - it really is better to wait until there are at least 10 hours of daylight (mid-Feb), and waiting until March is even better for seed sowing.
The next few months will bring…
...beautiful biennials such as Sweet William, Sweet Rocket, Honesty, and Foxgloves are looking healthy (a dangerous thing to say), and my overwintered hardy annuals – including Ammi Majus, Corncockle, and Cornflower are in the greenhouse waiting to be planted out. Ranunculus and Anemone have been in the ground since before Christmas (tough love). They have pulled through a week of icy temperatures, snow, and soggy soil. I just hope the Ranunculus will be as good as last year, or was it beginner's luck? They put on an excellent display last April, remember the gorgeous temperatures we had, and as for the Anemones, well, this is their second and final chance to wow me!
Meanwhile, the greenhouses are filling up with small trays of recently germinated seedlings which started out life in the warmth of my kitchen. Some have also been transplanted into modules of anything from 15 to 40 cells to grow on without competing for space.
1. Stock up/collect growing kit, e.g., peat-free compost, gravel trays, seed tray inserts or small yoghurt pots,
labels, permanent marker, save loo roll holders (for Sweet Peas), supermarket fruit trays, mushroom crates…. the
more resourceful, the better!
2. Buy hardy and half-hardy annual seeds, e.g. hardy such as Cornflower, Calendula, Cerinthe, Sweet Peas, Clary Sage and half-hardy such as Cosmos, Helichrysum, Annual Phlox you may even want to add some biennials (which don't get sown until June) to be on the safe side. Seed stocks are already running low. I use Chiltern Seeds, Higgledy Garden, and Seedaholic
3. Sow small quantities of hardy annuals from now until May, and half hardy annuals from mid-March onwards, in a well-drained compost (I use a mix of peat free compost and perlite) in small supermarket trays. Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite and put the whole tray in a sealed bag, and put in a warm room to germinate. Remember to unseal the bag as soon as seeds start to grow and move to light a position a day or two after germinating- ideally a greenhouse or cold frame.
4. Transplant seedlings into individual pots/modules (e.g. small yoghurt pots) when large enough to handle
5. Divide established, late-summer flowering perennials to create more plants.
6. Order dahlia tubers and store in a dry, dark place - do not pot up until April
Happy growing, and keep safe!
Until next time,