Discovering Magnificent Magnolia

Our second week of the school Easter holidays has been full of sunshine and you can really see the garden starting to come on a little bit more everyday.

This week I have planted out the hardy shrubs I bought earlier and have been hardening off. When I have planted new things in the past it has not been long before the rabbits have discovered them and had a good nibble! So I have decided this time there is now way they are getting to my new shrubs and have built a chicken wire cage round each one. Hopefully that will do the trick. We haven’t seen much of the rabbits over the winter but in the last week I have been watching them play on the front lawn in the evenings along with our resident pheasant. Now we will be able to see if my husbands hard work fencing around the cut flower patch has really worked at keeping them out.

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We have had some beautiful days of blue sky’s but at night time the temperature is still really dropping so I am holding off on planting out the more tender shrubs I bought. I will keep hardening them off for a couple more weeks until the risk of frost has past.

This week I have also planted some tender annuals for the cutting patch. As you can see my Zinnias have germinated already! I was also really excited to see that after many failures with growing astrantia from seed I now have some germinated too!

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I am still keen to identify all the shrubs in my garden and this week my flower of the week has to be the magnificent magnolia. I did not know what this was and a kind lady on a flower forum I follow identified it for me. It smells divine and is very pretty. In previous years this shrub has not done much but this year it has an abundance of flowers on it.

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The cutting patch is coming along and we have had some beautiful flowers this week. I got the stall out for the first time since the winter. It seems to have survived quite well. The sides have got slightly damaged but I gave it a good clean and a new coat of paint and it is all ready for garden gate sales again.

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What I have thought about a lot this week is how to find customers for my flowers. Having a stall only works if people visit it and there is not a lot of passing trade on our quiet road. I am realising growing flowers is only a small part of what I am doing and marketing them is going to be equally important. I have started to design business cards, postcards and my Facebook page for Cloudberry Flowers. I also am going to start making more use of Instagram and Pinterest.

I have enjoyed having the girls around this week in the holidays and they have been helping me in the garden. They like to water the plants at night time and I am sure end up more wet than the plants! It is lovely to see their interest in the garden  and flowers and my eldest has been starting to grow her own flowers from seed for her Brownie gardening badge.

I hope you are enjoying some spring sunshine too and the longer days to get in the garden in the evenings.

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