28 January 2021

Snowy Days



The start of this week certainly wasn’t gardening weather but I was happy to exchange that for the chance to play in the snow. It was our daughters birthday and she basically got a real life ‘Frozen’ birthday - what more could any five year old want? 


We built snowmen, we made snow angels, we sledged on our bottoms down snowy banks (ok, maybe that was just the children) and then we retreated back inside for hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Heading into Narnia.
 



However, after two days of feeling like we had been transported into Narnia, the rain arrived and the snow melted away into the cracks of the earth, leaving behind the abandoned carrot nose and sticks from the snowman as the only reminder that it had been here at all. But, with my flower-growing head on, I was glad - I was beginning to worry about my poor, newly planted out Ranunculus in the polytunnel at the patch! Luckily, I had tucked them in well with fleece and when I finally made it to the plot on Wednesday to check on them, they were still looking good! Phew!

The Ranunculus are very happy in their cosy polytunnel.


As well as enjoying some snow, I’ve also sown some more seeds this week. These have included more Sweetpeas, Phlox Drummondii  ‘Cherry Caramel’, Icelandic Poppies and two different varieties of Scabious. 


Phlox Drummondii in the garden last year.


The weather today is completely different, it almost feels like Spring is in the air - I even spotted some Daffodil buds. Hopefully it won’t be long until we will be offering our first bunches of blooms.

Lucy x

From the patch




19 January 2021

January


Dried flower arrangements can provide much needed colour in winter.

Hooray! We made it through the first few weeks of 2021. It’s been cold, snowy, wet, muddy and windy but it hasn’t dampened my flower spirits. In fact, I have been extra eager to get down to the patch - though maybe that’s because homeschooling has rendered that impossible on most days.


So it was we found ourselves down there last weekend, finally putting up the Polytunnel. We came home with icy toes but happy hearts - the patch is really shaping up. I even managed to brave the freezing rain later in the week one lunchtime to go and trim off the polythene sheet. 


Braving the rain!

This weekend, we made it back down to complete the finishing touches - wooden feet for it to stand on and a layer of cardboard on the beds inside. It’s now ready to be filled with compost - which arrived yesterday and is sat waiting patiently (unlike me!) on our drive. Soon, I will hopefully have filled the polytunnel with compost and will have planted out the first few Ranunculus. 




Also this week I have been sowing the first seeds of 2021. Probably still a tad early but it is a  surefire way to cheer you up - and like all of us, I have definitely needed some cheering! So I’ve done a second batch of Sweetpeas and Antirrhinums (Snap dragons). I’ve pre-soaked and potted up more Ranunculus corms and Anemones and also sown another batch of Orlaya Grandiflora and started off the first lot of Scabious. At the end of the month/beginning of February, I will sow more hardy annuals including Calendula and Ammi Majus.


Antirrhinum Chantilly White and Chantilly Bronze as part of an arrangement.


Calendula 

Signs of spring are also beginning to show at the patch and in the back garden - the bulbs are tentatively poking their heads up above the soil and buds have begun to form on the skeletal branches of the trees and shrubs. 


We will soon be basking in those first flowers. I promise!




Lucy and Oliver x

From the patch



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7 January 2021

Just keep digging



Happy New Year! Hope you had a lovely Christmas. There is much I could say about 2020... but I won’t. This space is strictly for flowers. A happy place of escapism and dreams of Spring! Whatever else may lie in store (frankly, a space invasion is on the cards) there WILL be flowers. So let’s focus on that.


Cold trips to the patch require refreshments.


So, what have we been up to? It’s been cold and wet over Christmas but amazingly, we did manage to spend quite a bit of time at the patch, working on one very exciting project - the polytunnel. The raised bed on which it will sit, was the first job to accomplish and in itself, is a beautiful piece of engineering by Oliver. On top of this now rests the base of the actual polytunnel, to which we need to attach the poles and finally, the polythene sheet itself. It is a mini tunnel, more like a giant cloche than an actual polytunnel - though 15ft long and 4ft wide, you can’t walk inside it and instead, have to lift it up on one side. It will then have metal legs which you can pull out and prop the tunnel up on, to allow for ventilation on sunny days. For us, this seemed like a better fit than a full polytunnel. We wanted something that wasn’t going to waft away in the first gust of wind (of which we get a lot of in these parts) but we also needed something affordable. This mini polytunnel is made of sturdy stuff but by being smaller, means it is not as expensive as a walk-in tunnel, whilst still covering a decent size.



The race is now on to get it finished. It’s first residents will be the Ranunculus and the Anemones. They are currently waiting patiently in the greenhouse but by the end of January, we hope to have them in their new home. Later in the year, I may use the tunnel for Zinnia, of which we grew in the most amazing lime green and deep red colours last year. They were slow to get going though, so they may benefit from the added warmth of the tunnel. 


Zinnia Queen Lime, Queen Red Lime and Aztec Burgundy.


Ranunculus bud, ready to burst.


In other news, the hardy annuals in the greenhouse are looking ready to burst out of their pots and on sunny days, I’ve been bringing them out to bask in the sunshine. Towards the end of this month I will be sowing more seeds - a second batch of some of those already on the go and some new varieties. I will keep you posted. 


So, here’s to all the flowers to come. I can see them already.


Lucy and Oliver

From the patch


xx

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