It has been a crazy few weeks here. So much so that my good intention to write something on the blog each week has already gone out the window! I would like to say it has been so busy because of all the things I have been doing for Cloudberry Flowers but family life has taken over! We had Erin’s 4th birthday and party last week, a poorly Kirsten off school for a few days at the same time and this week we have been looking after our friends little girls and dog while they had a gorgeous new baby. We did manage to finish painting our bedroom too. A very longstanding project that has always been put off. Next week the new carpet will come. I am so excited as we have a mixture of 3 different ones in the room at the moment!
The old carpet is going!!
Not much gardening was getting done last week when we had an important frozen cake to bake! Baking is my other love next to gardening.
Aside from all this busy family time I have managed to plant a few seeds. Mainly sweet peas as everyone loved them last year and they do smell gorgeous! I am excited to be planting all sorts of new varieties, Oban Bay, Molly Rilestone, Winter Sunshine Varities, Charlie’s Angel and Eclipse to name a few. I have been soaking the seeds overnight before sewing and if some have not noticeably swollen up I have been nicking their seed coat to allow them to absorb water. I am keeping my fingers crossed for some good germination rates. Oban Bay I am particularly interested in trying as it is meant to be good to grow in cooler climates such as Scotland.
Although it is very early in the year I have sown some other seeds. I just get too carried away with wanting to get the season going. I have limited it to Knautia Macedonica ‘Melton Pastels’ as they need some cold to germinate and some antirrhinum more commonly known as snapdragons. These are new seeds I am trying this year and I am hoping they will make good cut flowers.
In the greenhouse the ranunculus I started off in December are doing well. I really loved these flowers last year but did not plant many. I am hoping we will get some more beautiful blooms now I have so many more corms planted. They are delicate flowers a little like roses but can flower earlier in the year.
Ranunculus in the conservatory now
Ranunculus flowering in the cutting patch last July
The first snowdrop is just emerging.
The buds on the hellebores are showing too. These make really lovely cut flowers in spring so I hope you will enjoy a few from the stall when the flowers have matured enough to last well in a vase.
We have also had some snow and clear sky’s over the last couple of weeks which has been such a welcome relief to all that rain! The garden looked beautiful in the snow. If has all melted again now with exception of a slightly lopsided snowman on the front lawn. The rain didn’t stay away long either with it pelting down outside now! The snow was lovely while it lasted though.
The cut flower patch in the snow
We still have a touch of spring in the house with the girls narcissus ‘bridal crown’ they planted back in September. They truly are gorgeous and amazing that 1 single stem can produce so many flowers. They each have 4 flowers per stem now. Definitely one for the stall in future years. I planted a few of these in with the bulbs I planted outside so they may find their way into some mixed daffodil bunches in the spring.
Painting our bedroom has been a good distraction for me away from the seed and nursery plant catalogues over the last 2 weeks. I am very much turning into a seed and plantaholic! I start with a basic list before Christmas of the ones I have ran out of and new varieties I want to try. With more time after the holidays to have a good look through the catalogues my list starts to grow with the temptation of trying new flowers! I have so far ordered half my seeds from Seedaholic. I really like the information sheets they give with each seed you buy, they are good value and have a reasonable number of seeds per packet. The other half of my list is still growing and I will order them from Chiltern Seeds for the first time this year. My aim is to have ordered all my seeds by the end of January and then keep myself away from the catalogues!
Over the last couple of weeks I have also been talking to a bride about flowers for a spring wedding. This is an exciting time of year with so many lovely spring bulbs to choose from. It is also an unpredictable time as the weather can be so variable. Therefore you cannot promise particular flowers as they may not be in bloom yet or they may be past if the weather was particularly warm for that time of year. What you can promise is a mixture of beautiful homegrown spring flowers in a variety of colours that will be unique to your wedding. In years to come you may choose to grow those same bulbs in your garden and always have a reminder of your special day when you see them.
Also this week I posted a survey on my Facebook page to get some feedback about Cloudberry Flowers last season. I was unsure whether it was a good idea to do a survey as I know people are short of time and I hoped it wasn’t going to feel like getting junk mail through your letterbox and then put people off the Cloudberry Flowers Facebook page. In the end I decided to go for it as even if I only got a few responses it would help me greatly knowing which direction to take my small business next year.
As the stall is a self service one with an honesty box I unfortunately don’t get the chance to meet all my customers. I had always worried whether they could find it ok when it was tucked away in a quiet side street? I also felt I could not get across information about the stall and available flowers to my customers on Facebook easily. Facebook seems to only show you notifications sporadically once you have liked a page. It seems that you have to like and share individual posts on the page continuously to keep getting updates. I wanted to ask people were they being kept up to date regularly? I also wanted to know what flowers customers wanted on the stall so I can provide what they would like next year. The survey is still ongoing until Sunday but so far there has been a good response, so a big thank you to everyone who took the time to complete it. I now have some valuable feedback to work with. I am hoping I will be able to look through the responses and make it the topic for next weeks blog, or the week after if we run out of time again!