This week has been the first week of the Easter School holidays and what a relief it’s been. It’s meant we have had a lot of extra help from eager workers wanting to earn a little bit of extra pocket money. Lambing is over; at last all the lambs are outside playing and enjoying the sunshine and space. Our first house marten and swallow have arrived after their long journey south. There is an abundance of both frog and toad spawn in the pond and birds are busily nest building, grabbing loose bits of wool caught up in fences and straw/hay left in the racks. The horses winter coats are shed bit by bit whenever they roll and very determined blackbirds wait for that opertune moment to grab what they can, to take back to weave the most intricate nest.
The week started with the second small poly tunnel going up as we need more and more room for seeds, dahlias and to get early crops of desired flowers for orders. You may be wondering why this weeks title is called Blue Jobs. Blue Jobs are what Sue describes as boy jobs. This week has seen us doing lots of Blue Jobs with not a man in sight! GIRL POWER (I must stress that husbands have helped us in previous weeks and will continue to help but both husbands have been busy so we have had to take it upon ourselves to get these jobs done) so with saw, hammer, nails, drill, screw driver and tape measure in hand – jobs have got done, and lessons have been learnt!
Mucking the beds to keep those darn weeds down!
The dahlias we lifted from our outside pile have started to sprout and have been put in their bed outside with their own little hoop house, to keep them nice and warm and protected from any frost. Within a week or so when they have got about 2 inch’s of growth on we will mulch with sheep’s wool which acts as a weed suppressant, mulch, slug deterrent and also gives them a feed (there is some old sheep muck still attached to the wool in places, just the right amount of nutrients).
Seeds are sown regularly now to give us plenty of stock when annuals in the beds tire and need replacing with fresh stock, this year we endeavour to get this right as we always seem to get so busy we forget to sow (diaries at hand and better organisational skills – we’ll see what happens).
We are very lucky to have the most amazing Pelargonium grower near us (http://www.firtreespelargoniums.co.uk). We visited them last week to pick up some nursery stock. Once inside the greenhouses you are amongst some of the most amazing scents. We generally grow pelargoniums just for their foliage but some of the flowers last well in a vase; unique flowers not seen often in an arrangement. We have, for some years now grown Attar of Roses which has the most aromatic rose scent. Ardwick Cinnamon as the name suggests smells of cinnamon and has the most tactile leaves, Chocolate Peppermint smells of peppermint and has a flat velvety leaf with a chocolate centre, Mabel Grey has a serrated rough edge with a very strong sherbet lemon scent and Lady Plymouth has a golden variegated leaf with a citrus scent. Sadly, Fir Trees has decided to close at the end of this season and if you get chance I strongly suggest you have a look on their website as all their stock has to be sold by the end of the year.
Our second order for this week was clematis. Following Erin Benzakeins (http://www.floretflowers.com) recommendation we purchased ‘A Celebration of Clematis’ by Kaye Heafey and Ron Morgan. Wow what a book, hard to get hold of in the UK but well worth the extra effort. The only trouble we then had was narrowing our choice down, decisions to be made, not our best asset but after many hours, coffee/tea drunk, we decided on our choices and have ordered them through Taylors Clematis (http://www.taylorsclematis.co.uk). More information on these and photos will follow in future blogs.
Finally, our order of more perennial plants from the wonderful Mires Beck Nursery (http://www.miresbeck.co.uk) will arrive next week and we have promised no more spending on the plant front until Autumn!!! Unless of course its for our own gardens, for trial purpose only!!!
This week also saw our deliveries start again. It gave us chance to catch up with customers we had not seen since delivering wreaths at Christmas. Our deliveries are very popular and this year orders can be made by text, e mail or telephone whenever the mood takes you (deliveries are on Fridays/Saturdays and orders must be made by Wednesday to allow flowers time to be cut and conditioned). Some of our customers get weekly orders, some get fortnightly orders and some like a large bouquet once a month. We are very flexible and taylor each order accordingly. All flowers are left somewhere cool (a garage, porch or shed) and are waiting for when you return home.
Next week, we are very lucky to welcome Gill Hodgson (Flowers from the Farm founder) and Judy Laushman (co author of Speciality Cut Flowers and Director of The Association of Speciality Cut Flower Growers http://www.ascfg.org – photos etc will be on next weeks blog.
Enjoy the sunshine, it looks like its going to be a really nice week. Enjoy the bank holidays, sit back and admire what’s around you. Sue says I have Wendy moments when I reflect on the simple things in life, but seriously I think sometimes we all need to get off the conveyor belt of life and just sit, listen, laugh and just enjoy being here. (Wendy moment over!!!)