July is still hot and they are saying it will get hotter, I am already struggling in the heat and so are my flowers, the water bill so far is much larger than normal. However there are a number of plants thriving in the heat, I have never had such a glut of raspberries and tomatoes and the Zins and chillies in the tunnel are thriving. however I am finding a lot of flowers come up and go over really fast due to the heat where I could enjoy a glad or sunflower for a week they are going over in days. I am having to resort to getting up at 4 or 5am to work and then going in and then coming back out again and working till 10:30pm to say I am tired is an understatement, plus the stress of trying to find outlets to sell, to complete my circle of the project is always on my mind, so far I am making colourful compost, but this year is all about construction and testing so if I can find a few outlets for sales that would be great.
There has been lots I have done wrong this year and I really dont mind that at all, to fail is to learn and think about what I can do better on. I have studied a lot and been on courses and considered what others do and then work out what is best for me and I cant wait to try again and tweak some bits in the day to day running. In the mean time I am working on my style and I really am going down the no foam rout after I found out that it isn’t bio degradable, so I am working on arrangement styles with more plans to diversify later next year.
I was very lucky to be asked to provide flowers for one of our school councillors who was stepping down after a very long career at the girls school so we made her a rather large bouquet almost the size of Ella. It was great seeing the councillors face as she received it, the light in her eyes was just fab.
August is becoming unbearable hot ever day, so much so any plugs and seeds I buy through the post are dying before they even get to me, it must be tough on those big companies who are selling these things, I have also lost 60% of my dahlia crops my beautiful David Austin roses have failed, at this rate I might have to consider growing tropical plants, but they would not make our winters and they are already predicting another long hard winter like the one that just passed, so thank goodness I found myself a little treat in a brick a brac shop and vintage heater, give me this kind of thing over a handbag any day.
August is another of my kick starts for my tunnel to turn into a plant factory as I sowing and potting on bi annuals ready for the following year. There is so much construction work going on in the garden and I am doing it 90% myself and hubby helps when he is able and wants to and I have a dear friend who loves gardening but doesn’t have one of her own and enjoys sowing seeds for me, leaving me to get on with digging and grunt work. There are lots of new beds going in plots and sorting out and feeding the soil ready for all my little plugs to grow in. August seems even in the heat to have flown by and this bouquet represents the end of Glads and the start of what Dahlias I have. the sweetpeas are finished and I am thinking how much I do not appreciate them, they are labour intensive for a bloom that only lasts a few days and is always covered in thunder bugs and I am really thinking about not doing them any more.
Dahlias are slowly showing more of themselves and the ones I have I am happy with, as I spent a long time thinking about collections and how they go together but I really need another year to grow the tubers on plus replace the missing 60% that failed. Another glut from the garden with all the heat has been plums my freezer is full and I am going to have to make some tarts and crumbles to get through them all in the winter when I’m not out in the meadow. I am also busy planting out lots of plugs into new beds, hardy annuals that need time for roots to establish and I cant wait to clear old beds and restructure into my new way of doing things.
As September draws to an end my teddy bear sunflowers are making a show of themselves and they are glorious so tactile looking and very eye catching. talking of eye catching I do love a big and blousy display.
Another plant that has done well this year has been the hops I have never seen them so good before and loved using them in arrangements. It really has been a tough month and I have been physically tired going to bed when the girls go to bed, along with all of the above I have mentioned I have been hand digging huge long trenches 5 just for daffodils 125kg of daffs !!! am I have even started on narcissi’s and tulips. If all this flower farming fails I would make a great grave digger and I have the muscles to prove it.
I have been thinking about diversifying and also trying to offer a little meadow life of what I grow to my customer base I want to grow so I am trying to sell the bulbs I use, it has been really interesting seeing the difference in quality and how the public are blissfully un aware of quality differences, when I first started selling the feedback I got was that bulbs could be bought cheaper as a reason not to buy my bulbs and yes that is true they can but the difference is quality, the person saying this had no knowledge about size of bulbs and thought all bulbs of a name type would be the same everywhere and they just are not. I have bought bulbs from big brand companies in the UK and also at farmers markets and then compared them they were all small meaning small flowers some were squishy meaning they were old or dying inside, many looked like they had been stored from the year before as all their skins had come off leaving bald bulbs again all that energy inside the bulb would make for a not such a successful bulb. My thoughts are if you are investing in your garden then you need to see a return on that investment, I need to guarantee strong healthy flowers from bulbs that are successful as you can see from the picture my bulbs are huge compared to what’s out there in the market, my bulbs are so full of energy many of them have loads of babies on them too, I have some plans to see if I can interest people in my bulbs for teh sake of 5p why would you not choose the bigger bulb !!!