The start of this week saw levels of excitement reaching fever pitch here , Well alright maybe not quite that high but I was certainly a bit more excited than usual. There were two reasons for this. The first was that I was due to attend a workshop entitled "grow your own cut flower patch", and the second, I was waiting delivery of a new piece of gardening equipment.
Wednesday morning dawned, quite literally, and I was up and out of bed with a spring in my step. A 50 mile drive on narrow roads awaited and it was pouring with rain, but nothing was going to stop me getting to the workshop. My destination was Common Farm Flowers , in Charlton Musgrave, Somerset. I had first heard about this business, growing and selling British flowers, and its owner, Georgie Newbery, on Twitter. Georgie is one of a growing number of UK flower growers. Their aim is, to decrease the number of miles each bouquet of flowers travels, before it reaches your home, and encourage us to buy british. The variety of flowers available to us is astonishing, but most of us will only ever buy whatever the local supermarket is selling.
Regular readers will be aware that I had some success using one of my veg beds for flowers this summer. Now I was hoping to try and improve on this summers efforts and plant for year round homegrown flowers.
I arrived to be greeted with a beautiful willow heart on the side of the farmhouse.
The day was as wonderful as I had hoped. We were a diverse group of potential flower growers with varying levels of skill. Georgie was a great teacher, full of enthusiasm for her subject and very knowledgeable. We spent the morning sat around her huge wooden table, learning about soil and seeds and what to plant when. All accompanied by pots of tea and homemade flapjacks.
Then lunch was announced, so into the kitchen for beetroot and goats cheese tart with salad and a cheeky lunchtime glass of white wine. The conversation with the other ladies and 1 man was wonderful. Graham, the sole gentleman present turned out to be the gardener for a beautiful property in Somerset called North Cadbury Court. Its a very old house, which you can rent for house parties or weddings. They are working hard to replant the gardens and want fresh flowers for the house.
Anyway after lunch we went for a walk outside, now as this is a business, the flowers are grown to be cut and sold, so I wasn't expecting to see loads of stuff in bloom, and anyway being October, not much flowers now.
I was wrong, the most glorious beds of Dahlia's I have seen for ages were swaying gently in the breeze.
I was very jealous of the huge new polytunnel currently under construction.
and next summers flowers were already growing in a coldframe.
I left that afternoon feeling like I had actually done Ok this summer, but armed with lots more knowledge to make sure next year my bed produces even more.
Next time you are out shopping and fancy buying a bunch of flowers, think for a moment about how far they have travelled and then go home and plant your own flower patch, its far more rewarding and ultimately a whole lot cheaper.
There are other workshops at Common Farm so have look at the website which I linked to at the start of this blog ,and get yourself along to one. If its too far for you, there are other British flower growers all over the Uk doing similar things and you can find one near to you on The British Flower Collective website.
And now the second thing causing excitement. I had seen a fancy new piece of kit on various gardening websites this summer and had been hankering to buy it for myself, so finally I decided I should. What is it I hear you asking your computer screens... well hold onto your hats... I bought myself a new Hoe!
A Hoe.. I can hear you say. Well not any old Hoe. Its the Sneeboer Royal Dutch Hoe. The Rolls Royce of the Hoe world. As I type this I am beginning to realise how sad I am becoming, but I really was excited about this, all the blurb claimed that it would make my life easier to remove and collect weeds from my beds.
Friday morning arrived and so did the Hoe from Harrod Horticultural a rather nice online garden store.
It was soon unpacked and outside in the greenhouse for closer inspection.
The reason it is special is because of the pointy bits on both edges of the blade. It makes it easier to uproot the weeds with the bottom edge and then pull them back towards you with the top edge.
It also has a handle on the top to make the pushing and pulling action easier.
I immediately gave it a try in my flower patch and was very pleased with how easily and quickly it cleared the few weeds that had grown.
I think my Royal Dutch and I are going to be very happy together.
I did actually do a bit of work in the garden as well this week, well actually more like in the greenhouse. Yes it those Chillies again. I promise that this is definitely the last time I mention them this year.
I have decided to try and overwinter a couple of plants to get a head start next summer. The last of the Naga were ripe and ready to pick
Once they were picked, I reluctantly cut most of the plant back
and then wrapped it in fleece to protect it. My greenhouse is not heated, so I wanted to give the poor plant the best chance of surviving the winter.
I had also finally grown one of the rude chillies to look exactly as its proper name suggests it should.. No sniggering at the back please.
Once this one and the 12 or so others on the plant were picked, the rude chilli plant got the same treatment as the Naga
I shall give them a small drop of water once a month to keep them alive and then uncover them next spring.
Finally, the sweet peas I planted in the root trainer a couple of weeks ago are all up. After going to the workshop, I realise that I have rather overdone it again, but I shall give some away and maybe sell some at my charity shop in the spring. They have a few cold months ahead of them, so lets hope they all make it.
The cucumbers that had re sprouted continue to grow, much to my amazement, so maybe, we shall be having fresh homegrown cucumber for christmas.
Thats all for this week, hope you have all had a great week and are looking forward to another .