Bring on Spring!!

Pricking out Lavatera Seedlings

 

After what seems like an eternity not writing on this blog, today sees a return to us trying to keep it up to date with all things happening this year.  We have noticed though through following blogs of others, flower growers, as we are, start off the year with these great intentions when things start to move and inspire us in the garden.  It then sort of drifts off, as we become consumed with caring for our plants, knowing their flowers have been allocated to events to come.  We get easily engrossed with  sowing, watering, nurturing, transplanting, weeding, watering, watering, pinching, weeding, watering. But then, hooray, cutting and arranging!!!  Last year our business took off in a way we hadn’t quite anticipated.  Our own ‘from the garden gate‘ sales, farm shop sales, numerous weddings, parties and funerals with many other events besides, left us with little time for blogging.  This year though, we are going to be ‘on it’!!  Or so we hope.  We will see what prevails.  This year is already nearly full with weddings and our workshop places are filling fast.   2018 Weddings are also booking well but we will aim, between Brides and plants, as best we can, to keep this blog going.  We have extra help this year and you know what they say, many hands make light work . We don’t know whether there is actually such a thing as light work with flower production but there is so much we want to tell you about; growing techniques, what’s best to grow, harvesting and arranging.  Follow us over the coming weeks to see what is going on here at HQ, we want to inspire you all.

Today at last we see the onset of Spring and we are wanting to alert you all of the beauty of what is to come for the seasons ahead.  As flower growers, we get all excited at this time of year, our passion is about to hit full throttle and winter has seemed long.  Although we’ve been planning and plotting our growing areas, to us this bit is the drudgery, the boring bits we have to do, as with any job.  This winter period does get enlightened, however, by the seed and bulb catalogues arriving, giving us pictures of perfect blooms that we all hope to grow, our budgets becoming a little stretched with the orders that we place in anticipation of what is to come.  This week though, the sun has come out, even if briefly, and the weather has warmed enough to get going outside in earnest.

Jobs outside in the flower garden throughout Winter, although they have been tackled as and when they should, seem difficult when its freezing, when the rain blows horizontally and the soil is cold and sodden, or rock hard with frost.  A little bit of warmth is all it takes.  To feel the soil actually crumble between your fingers rather than stick to them, to have the sun on your face rather than the the biting wind and to come in from work not actually drenched to the skin.  This is when you know Spring is arriving.

By Valentine’s Day the light levels have increased enough to start the seed sowing.  This fills any grower with joy.  The seeds we ordered whilst sitting in the darkest of days can at last get their chance to thrive.  As a little tip here, if you don’t have the privilege of vast amounts of under cover growing area with additional lighting and you rely on growing the bulk of your cut flowers out of doors, don’t even bother to plant a seed before Valentine’s Day.  Those that germinate before this time will produce weak and feeble plants, the day light levels are just not high enough to result in good growth.  Be patient.  All too often, as soon as the first seed packets arrive on our doorsteps we can’t wait to see some new shoots of life and sow straight away.  This is only to our own peril and we usually end up re ordering seed to have a second go!!   By the time mid February is here though- go for it, sow, sow, sow!  Start with your hardy perennials, then in a few weeks time progress on to your hardy annuals and half hardy annuals a few weeks later still.  Save those gems for sowing such as Zinnias and flowering Basils until right at the end of the Spring season.  These guys really don’t like any temperature lower at night than 10 degrees celsius to do well, so aim to sow these at in late April or the beginning of May for transplanting outside mid June.  Seed sowing doesn’t stop there though, it continues right on until October, for all the crops to give you succession.  Whether it be more annuals, to continue your summer harvest, or sowing of biennials ready for transplanting in the Autumn or even more perennials that need to overwinter in the cold to germinate the following Spring.

Jobs for a flower grower never really stop and at this time of year there are only a whole load more to come. This year we want to tell you all about them all.

Bring on this Spring!!!…..

2 comments

  1. Caroline Rhys-Lewis says:

    Lovely read. I only “do” vegetables these days – if i can’t eat it i don’t bother to sow it. Do you grow any vege for yourselves or do u just stick with flowers? Do you recommend any blog for vege growers if you don’t have time for such things?

    • Patrick says:

      Hi Caroline, we have a small plot within where we grow our flowers that we usually grow some veggies. We always try to grow those we can store, Cara potatoes (a must for Jackets), squashes of as many types as possible, onions, garlic with the odd row of french beans and carrots in between. In the height of the season when flowers take precedence, we always find we are too tied up with picking those to remember things such as salads, mange tout and the like. We always run out of time, or they’ve gone old and stringy, or we’re too knackered!!!

      I will investigate for you on a good blog for veggie growing, but google Lucy Chamberlain, she has written some good veggie books, not sure if she blogs, but she’s a local to Colchester so makes it all the better!!

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