Autumn at Cloudberry Flowers

I was asked recently did I enjoy the time to sit back and watch daytime tv now the flowers were over for the season? This made me laugh as it couldn’t be further from the truth! Here’s a little insight into what I get up to when the flowers stop growing.

November this year was a month of very few flowers. Some years I am lucky and the season keeps going for longer. Early frosts in October this year brought the flowers to an abrupt end. Wouldn’t it be great to think the end of the flower season meant I could sit with my slippers on, feet up in front of the wood burning stove with a cup of tea browsing through seed catalogues and grand designs on in the background!

Back to reality  and it is jumpers, wellies, hat and waterproofs on and out into the garden for the muddy task of the day. Some days I find it really easy to go out and work if dressed in the right gear and other days its damp and cold and a bit of a boost is needed in the form of chocolate! It’s a physically demanding time of year and I am often working outside in cold muddy wet conditions. This week I was in the playground at pick up time to have streaks of mud on my face pointed out. I must start looking in a mirror more often! My birthday comes at just the right time and the girls get me stocked up with dairy milk for the digging and clearing to come. It might not sound much fun but I still get that buzz from clearing the perennials in the bed and finding the new growth for next year just peaking through the soil or the happy sense of peace that comes from digging in the garden with my friendly robin beside me.

 

I continue collecting seeds from the finished flower heads and press the last flowers that are still growing. The beds start to be cleared. All annuals need pulled up and perennials cut back. The annuals are then chopped into small pieces and wheelbarrowed down to the compost heap. Making good compost really helps mulch the beds next year. I never finish the job of clearing the beds before Christmas as I keep the plants in until the last flower has gone and I always start this job too late. It has also been hampered due to lack of access to the top flower patch while the building work in our back garden goes on. There will be plenty time in January as long as we are not under snow to finish the clearing and next year I will be more organised!

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The 215 dahlias I planted out in June need lifted, dried and wrapped for storage over the winter. This process takes me a few weeks as I only have enough space to lay them out to dry off in batches. I enjoyed the company of a curious robin who perched on my spade or the ground beside me singing whilst I dug. I have experimented with keeping a few dahlias in the ground over the winter but in our Scottish climate they rot. I have never lost any dahlias by lifting them and storing them.

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I have marked out my new beds in the front garden and they are ready for top soil. This involved me moving a lot of barrows of soil up and down the front garden hill. The chocolate is definitely needed here. I have got about 3/4 of the beds done now and hope to fence this new area and cover the paths with ground cover matting in January and February.

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This month I have spent some time giving talks to local groups. I spent a lovely afternoon with the Innerleithen Church Guild and then a morning with children at Priorsford primary school. I have done a few talks to adults about flower farming but it was my first time speaking with children. I was so keen to engage them with my love of flowers, nature, the outdoors and gardening. Without flowers growing I had to think of some new ideas to make my talk interesting. I took in some dahlia tubers, corms and seeds and showed the children that these very strange looking objects can grow into the most beautiful of flowers. I took with me lots of seed heads for the children to split open and find the seeds inside. They then collected these up to grow in the school poly tunnel in the spring. I love that the school has such an amazing facility to encourage a lifelong love of gardening and growing from an early age. I hope I can work more with children in the future.

Below is a picture of the dahlia tubers I brought in to show the children and a picture of what I showed them they turn into. I still find this an amazing process as they do look like a bunch of funny potatoes incapable of growing into anything.

 

Inside I have been successionally soaking and chitting my ranunculus and anemone corms. I then plant these up individually to grow on over the winter and provide early spring flowers. It is colder now so I don’t need to water as much but every week I must check and water my annual seedlings in the conservatory and also the bulbs I am forcing in the garage.

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Last week I finished the tulip planting. I have planted many of these in trenches outside in the flower patch and also some in crates. I have not tried this before but with spring weddings this year I need to make sure I have flowers in bloom. If I plant in crates and the weather is like it was this year with lots of snow and freezing temperatures I can take the tulips inside and bring them on there. Tulips are always one of the biggest financial investments of the year. The bulbs are very expensive and take a lot of work to plant. You then never have any guarantee they will bloom when you need them too. For example I did not have tulips blooming in April at all this year, they all came in May whether or not they were early or late varieties. So its head vs heart. My head says you don’t need many tulips, enough for your weddings and a few to sell as bunches as I don’t sell enough to warrant buying thousands. However the lure of the glossy catalogues dropping through my door more often than not makes my heart win. I just love tulips! I love the varieties that are different to what you might find in the supermarket, for example the beautiful fringed tulips. I can justify buying them by offering my customers tulips that are beautiful and different to what you would find anywhere else.

 

Its now Christmas at Cloudberry Flowers! I just love this time of year and I am looking forward to getting stuck into Christmas wreath making this week. There is still time to order your wreath this year, just get in touch anytime. I have been working on all my Christmas homegrown and handmade decorations to give you some ideas for something a little bit different this year. What do you get your granny, mum or auntie who have everything? I came up with making up bulb baskets as I know that plants flowering inside in January, February and March is something nice to cheer relatives up on dark winter days. My gift boxes of cards were for designed with the idea they would be great for someone who always likes to have a nice card to hand in the house to send throughout the year. What do you get for that work secret Santa present or to fill a hamper? My seed jars and mini hanging frames with pressed flowers are something small and a little bit different to give as a gift.

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Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas at Cloudberry Flowers without my sparkly alliums. I started growing this years ones this time last year when I planted the bulbs. They flowered in June and I cut them to dry in July and August. In October and November I spray them silver ready for Christmas. Great as a mixture in a vase or as a star at the top of your Christmas tree, they look fabulous.

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December will be a month of wreath making. I get the moss and all the foliage from the garden to make them.  This week I rake the moss out the ground and start mossing up the wreaths and next week I will start cutting the foliage and building the wreaths up into something beautiful.

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Last year I decorated my Christmas Day table with my wreaths with candles and it looked fantastic so I will be offering these for sale this year too. Wreath arrangements for your table dry out awfully easily in a heated house so make sure you keep them cool and give the foliage and moss a drink to prevent them drying out.

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In November I also bought a card machine so I can take card payments as well as cash. I know myself that I just do not use cash in the same way as I did years ago and if I was shopping I would prefer to use a card to pay. I hope this helps make visiting Cloudberry Flowers easier for my customers.

Looking ahead to next year I am excited by the weddings I have booked in and the growing has already started for these. It will be the start of Cloudberry Flowers 5th year and I am looking forward to having some lovely flowers back on the stall for my customers, where it all started in 2014. I have learnt so much and know the one thing missing from my job is sharing my love of growing with you. I would love to develop workshops for you here at Cloudberry Flowers. I had great intentions to start these this coming spring but building work at our house has revealed some major drainage issues that need to be fixed involving a lot of excavation of the back garden in the spring. Once I get my garden back I can focus on getting these off the ground and sharing my love of flowers and growing with you.

Have a fabulous festive season and I am looking forward to seeing you in the coming weeks if you pop into visit Cloudberry Flowers at its Christmas openings.

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June at Cloudberry Flowers

I can’t believe that it’s the first of July tomorrow and that the school holidays have started already. This past month has been a whirlwind of activities for the girls from sporting events to our local Beltane festival fun. The month has been busy in the flower patch too with lots of new plants flowering for the first time.

June started with Gardening Scotland in Edinburgh. I had a lovely day taking my flowers along to this and helping to put together our Flowers from the Farm Stand. Flowers from the Farm is a network of British flower growers who work together and have been an invaluable support to me since I started Cloudberry Flowers. I hope you enjoyed Gardening Scotland if you went along at the beginning of June.

Flowers from the Cloudberry flower garden off to Gardening Scotland

Our Flowers from the Farm stand under construction with lots of lovely flowers grown all over Scotland.

This month I have loved watching all the new flowers blooming. Here are some of my favourites that I have grown for the first time this year.

Aster snowball                                             Astrantia

    

Allium graceful                                              Feverfew

      

Sweet william                         Eryngium

     

Allium schubertii                                                       Campanula

      

Peony ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’         Allium

    

Purple cornflowers                                           Orlaya

       

Omphalodes linifolia                                       Jacobs ladder

         

Centaurea                                                            Peony ‘Mothers Choice’

          

Milk thistle                                                                           Antirrhinum

        

June meant a welcome return to the first gorgeous sweet peas of the year. They are still just coming in a couple at a time, but give them a few weeks and they will be flowering in abundance just in time for the summer weddings.

Outside on the flower patch June is a time for weeding a lot! It is also time to make sure all the stakes and netting are in as the flowers get taller and need support from the wind and rain battering them. I can see how much the patch has grown over the last year as I just had to put in a new order for more stakes and netting.

I have also planted my dahlias out now the frost risk has passed. Much to my surprise I have actually had a few blooming already. Like last year they are being nibbled so I am trying nematodes for the slugs and upturned pots with dried grass to catch the earwigs.

         

I have had a lot of black flies on my achillea this year which I have tried spraying with dilute washing up liquid and even just the hose to get them off. I think it might have worked as I haven’t seen nearly as many this week.

Inside I am concentrating on next years flowers by sewing biennials. These grow into seedlings that put down roots and leaves this year, hopefully overwinter well and flower next May. I can never have enough of these as they help fill the May gap between the end of the spring bulbs and the summer annuals starting.

Biennial seedlings just germinated.

       

This month I have started to receive more orders for bouquets, buttonholes and large jam jar posies which I have really enjoyed doing. Here are some of my favourites.

                                      

It was also British Flowers Week in June which is a celebration of flowers grown across Britain. I celebrated by leaving some lonely bouquets to find around different places in Peebles. Lonely bouquets are flowers that are left for people to find and if you do you can take them home and enjoy them. I had a wee helper to find some hiding places with me!

   

Also this month I have been making more real petal confetti. I make this using rose petals, lavender, cornflowers and any other petals that I think will work well. The conservatory is a good place to dry the petals as it is the one room in the house that gets nice and warm. I then transfer them to the airing cupboard to finish drying them. The towels have to come out of it at this time of year! Last year I started by making boxes of confetti which are great if you want to take one to a wedding to throw over the bride and groom. Sometimes you need confetti in larger volumes too, for example to fill a flower girl basket or decorate tables so I have started to make up 1 litre bags to sell too.

 

Next month is an exciting one with wedding flowers each week of July. Each wedding is different and I am really looking forward to doing the flowers for them . One of them I am especially looking forward to, as I get to be a guest! My cousin is getting married and my three daughters are very excited to be flower girls. It should be a great day with lots of Ceilidh dancing to finish with!

Magical May

Its been a very busy month and I realised the other day it had been a long time since my last blog post. I think I was a bit ambitious in January thinking I would manage every week when I spend every available moment in the garden now!  Looking back to the beginning of the month so much has changed in the garden since then and most importantly the weather has too!

By the end of April I had had quite enough of the weather. There were more high winds and it had snowed again, causing several sleepless nights. It was one week until my first wedding of the year and what was the weather doing?! I knew the snow was forecast this time and lay in bed just waiting for it to start. 1 am, 2am, 3am I kept peeping out the window and no snow. Eventually I drifted off and woke up early in the morning to a garden covered in it. It was another of those crazy mornings of me rushing out to the garden in my pyjamas and wellies to clear snow off the tunnels before the weight of it collapsed them, crushing the flowers underneath. I got there in time and all was good, my flowers were intact. I spent the morning clearing what felt like never ending snow and was absolutely determined no weather was going to affect my flowers.

Then May came along and I breathed a very big sigh of relief. Despite the wind, rain, hail, snow and cold temperatures of April I had grown some beautiful flowers and could now cut and arrange them for the wedding. Its a privilege to be part of a couples wedding and I do my best to make the flowers as special as I can. Being creative and putting together flowers in a beautiful but natural way is a lovely part of being a flower grower. This was my first year of growing many new varieties of tulip and I just loved them. The Angelique, Rosalie and Gabriella tulips were gorgeous to work with for the bride and bridesmaids bouquets, not to mention the hellebores, honesty and narcissus.

Real petal confetti from the garden filled a basket for the flower girl and buckets of flowers from the garden were used to decorate the tables. I used rosemary, hellebores, small tulips, bluebells, muscari, hebe, heather, ivy  and forget me nots for the buttonholes.

With my time taken up at the beginning of the month preparing for the wedding I had some major catching up to do in the garden. The weather had been too cold to plant out any of the seedlings in the conservatory before. The cold frames and conservatory were bulging at the seams. I couldn’t get in the door for plants and it was starting to get impossible to walk across it without standing on them.  The last couple of weeks I have non stop weeded, planted out, sewed more annuals directly in the soil outside, watered due to our unexpected and welcome week of sunshine! and sewed more seeds indoors.

I managed to get these seedlings all planted out and I can now get in the conservatory without squeezing in the door and jumping over plants!

At this time of year the work in the garden is so busy that it is hard to think of next year, it seems a bit crazy to be planting seeds for then when I need flowers for this summer. However now is the time to be planting biennial seeds which will grow, put on leaves this year and flower next spring. Hopefully the wallflowers will then be a lot better than they have been this year! Last year I wasn’t the quickest at doing this so I have started now in the hope I will get sturdier plants. I have also realised that I need to plant a lot more hesperis and honesty in the garden as I use it so much as early flowering fillers.

Greenfly have started to be a real problem to me in the conservatory. I don’t remember haven’t the same trouble last year so I wonder what has changed? They seem to particularly like my indoor anenomes and ranunculus. Any tips for eradicating them will be gratefully received!!

Robert has been hard at work in the front garden creating new beds. Some are to be for family fruit and vegetables as we have all been missing out raspberries since moving house. Some of them though are for me. When I started Cloudberry Flowers I had 2 small beds cut in the top field. I never in a million years thought I would need to venture into the front garden! Once the beds are suitably rabbit proofed they will be invaluable next year. All the beds in the flower patch were made from many hours of Robert and I digging by hand. This time we hired a turf cutter and they were cut by lunchtime! I think we may need to hire a rotovator next.

I have fenced off the shrub border near the house from the rabbits and now felt safe to plant out my perennial penestemons, lupins, delphiniums, camassia, campanula and verbena knowing that they were protected for now from being nibbled. The slugs however are another matter…..

This month I was also asked to provide the bouquets for the winners of the Love Cross, a cycling race with a twist that is part of the local Tweedlove festival. It was nice to be able to use some of the last tulips for the season in these and I felt proud to see all the winners holding them and think how far Cloudberry Flowers has come in a year.

Photograph by Ian Linton courtesy of Tweedlove

The garden at the end of May is really coming to life. The tulips and daffodils are past now and the seasons move on. This week I have come across the first alliums and cornflowers flowering. Here are some pictures of what is flowering in the cutting patch just now. I wonder what is looking beautiful in your gardens just now?

The very last of these beautiful tulips are still flowering in the garden

Beautiful aquilegia just starting to bloom now.

These beautiful miniature white flowers are gorgeous but can anyone identify them?!

Gorgeous astrantia. My first year growing it and I love it!

Another first for growing in the garden are these geums.

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Alliums just coming into bloom

The first cornflowers of the year

May for me has been a month of very hard work in the garden, possibly the busiest in the year with all the planting, weeding, watering, arranging and seed sewing that has needed to be done. May also has been the most magical month of the year so far too. To make flowers for my second wedding that I loved and was proud of, to make the bouquets for a local event and simply to see the garden transform itself from its winter sleep into the beginnings of a field full of flowers. That is magic to me.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of flowers that have been my favourites on the stall this month.

Catherine x

July in the cutting garden.

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July I thought would be a quieter month with the seeds all sown and the flowers blooming. In theory I should be enjoying my time cutting and arranging the flowers for customers and spending time with the girls on their holidays. However the Scottish weather has become quite a challenge this July and kept me on my toes!

Today I spent a lot of time staking things that had grown and now needed support, before they were battered by the strong winds we have had the last two days.  The wind I am finding is my nemesis. It is soul destroying to go out and find plants that you have raised from seed damaged beyond repair after a nights strong winds. I have come to expect this early and late in the season and now know not to leave anything to chance over the summer months either. I thought I had gone a bit over the top with my heavy duty bamboo cane order in spring but today I used the last of these to support flowers and could even use more.

The rain this month has been either absent or coming down in torrential showers, which has been its own challenge with the plants. I had been sewing biennial seeds for next year and put the young plants out to harden off the other day. My timing was very off as this happened to be a day of torrential rain and I came back to some very drowned trays of seedlings. I think after pouring all the excess water out and letting them recover they might just be ok but they have had a hard start!

On a brighter note the cut flower patch is full of flowers. Beautiful cornflowers, corncockle, sweet peas, alliums, alstroemeria, achillea, salvia, nigella, calendula and phacelia have all been stars of the show this month. I love that each week I have new flowers to put in arrangements and the sweet peas smell gorgeous!

Cornflowers and Corncockles

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Allium cristophii and graceful

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Sweet peas and alstroemeria

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Salvia

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Some flowers are still behind this year, but are starting to show signs of coming on now. These include sunflowers, stocks, cosmos and ammi. The sunflowers in particular have been disappointing, especially since it is the year of the sunflower! They have been proving difficult as the leaves keep being eaten by something and I am not sure what. However I am glad to see that despite this they are starting to grow well now and soon there should be some flowers.

July has been a great month for my new roses. They have come on brilliantly in the containers and are coming on well in the new bed too. I was hoping they would live up to their reputation for being beautifully scented and they are! Here are some of the roses blooming just now in the garden:

New Zealand and Chris Beardshaw

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Queen of Sweden

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Whiter Shade of Pale and Gentle Hermione

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I have been having an experiment this year too with a late sewing of annuals. With the weather so poor I thought we might get some better weather in the late summer and if so it might be worth sewing some seed. Whether they have enough time to mature and bloom before the frosts set in we will have to wait and see!

I have planted out some biennial seedlings to give them a start at putting down roots before the cold weather sets in. Hopefully they will overwinter well and provide some lovely colour in April and May next year.

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My next job is to narrow down my bulb order I will make in August. I have so many ideas for bulbs to grow for next spring which will look lovely in bouquets and jam jars on the stall. I have enjoyed pouring over the bulb catalogues and writing a very long list of my favourites. Now to narrow it down and remember that I will have to plant all these! I wonder what favourite spring bulbs you like to enjoy in your homes as a cut flower?

Also this month I was delighted to write a piece for the Wednesday guest blog at gardeningknowhow.com. Look out for Cloudberry Flowers on Wednesday the 22nd July.

So July has been an unexpectedly challenging month with the weather really testing me. It has at times sewed seeds of doubt in my mind and made me really question can I do this? On the other hand I have had the excitement of seeing all these beautiful flowers blooming which I grew from tiny seeds. I have had the fun of making jam jars and bouquets full of flowers which are constantly changing as new ones bloom. I have met some lovely new customers and the smile homegrown flowers bring to someones face makes the hard work and the weather all worthwhile.

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The cutting garden in June

What a busy few weeks it has been! We have had lots of visitors, school activities and the amazing Tweedlove biking festival, not to mention lots of gardening and flowers to arrange too! I have finally found a moment to stop, sit down with a cuppa and let you now what has been happening in the cutting garden recently.

Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to go to Gardening Scotland and help promote British Flowers on the Flowers from the Farm stand. Flowers from the Farm is a network of flower growers across Britain who are working towards a common goal, putting locally grown flowers back into vases in peoples homes across the country. There are about 200 of us who are members and this is growing all the time. At Gardening Scotland we met with so much enthusiasm and interest from members of the public and organisations such as the Royal Horticultural Society. I also got to meet many other fellow growers from across Scotland, which was a great chance to make new friends and share our love of British Flowers.

Back at home in the cutting garden things have not been so easy with a few blustery days and nights to contend with. Luckily after watching the weather forecast I went out and did some extra staking and made sure the tunnels were really well pegged down. I think this staking really helped and although the sweet william are looking a bit battered the rest of the flowers have come through it unscathed! Now all we need is some more sunshine to help all the flowers catch up, which are several weeks behind last year now.

On a more positive note there are things flowering in the garden! The alliums are just bursting through, the lilac is flowering and I have some calendula in the fleece tunnels. The phacelia, nigella, corncockle and cornflowers look like they will be making an appearance any day now with their buds just ready to open. The hesperis must be the star of the show this week though and will be making its way into a few jam jars on Friday!

Alliums in the garden

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The first calendula and lilac

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This weeks star of the show the beautiful Hesperis

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My dahlias have come on well in the conservatory and now it is June and the last frosts are hopefully past, it is time to plant them out. I will stake these well and hope that they survive any attack from the slugs! It is my first year growing these lovely flowers and I am excited to see everyones reaction to them.

Dahlias ready to get planted out

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I have planted out the peonies in the garden but as it is their first year I am not expecting flowers whilst they put down roots and grow foliage.

The scented flower border is coming on with the delphiniums, lavender and phlox now planted out. The hydrangeas I put out too early and they have succumbed a bit to the frost. I had thought maybe they had died but there are signs of new growth coming back now. I must remember next year not to plant out any new perennials until June as the weather is just too unpredictable in Scotland!

Last week it was great to be able to use some new flowers in my jam jar posies for the garden gate stall. My favourite had to be the briza grass which reflects the light  as it moves in the breeze and adds something that little bit different to the arrangements. I will definitely be growing more of this.

Briza grass in last weeks jam jar posies

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The next few weeks will be busy while I continue to plant out the remaining annuals, stake the plants and start sewing the biennials for next year. British Flowers Week is in 2 weeks time and we are hoping that people will come along and support homegrown flowers. There may just be a few lonely bouquets to find too!

I will leave you this week with a picture of our rhododendrons which are looking spectacular at the garden gate. Have a great week and happy gardening!

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In the cutting garden this week

In the whirlwind of looking after the girls and keeping on top of the garden it is hard to find time to just stop for a moment and to really see it properly. Today I went out in between the rain showers and had a good wander around the cut flower patch and was so pleased to see the beginnings of plants really growing! This week I wanted to share it with you in my pictures below.

This spring has felt very long and has been testing my patience as I am so keen to get my flowers blooming so I can share them with you. The cold and windy weather has meant things have been a lot slower to get established and I am sometimes envious of my fellow flower growers in the south of England who already have an abundance of beautiful blooms. It may take longer for things to get going but it is always well worth the wait. It can also mean we may have some varieties of flower still available later in the season, when they are already over further South.

I lost a few fleece tunnels in the wind last week and have been replacing these with some polythene to see if it can withstand the weather better. The plants certainly seem to be doing well under their new sheeting. Here are some nigella, briza grass and sweet william under the new tunnel.

Nigella                                    Briza Grass                            Sweet William

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I also have a single self seeded bupleurum in the tunnel which is doing really well. I have found this a particularly difficult plant to germinate from seed. So I am pleased with this addition in amongst my sweet williams! It will be joined by the others I have managed to grow on indoors this year and am hardening off just now.

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Outside I have been starting to stake my over wintered cornflowers and corncockles. They have reached a good size but are prone to damage from the wind and benefit from some support. There are different ways of doing this. I  hammered in stakes with a bit of help from my 3 year old daughter! I then placed pea and bean netting horizontally over these, which the plants will grow through. It provides good support but does make it a bit  tricky to cut the stems easily when you need them.

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My sweet peas are starting to grow outside this week after a slow start from the cold weather. Once the remaining sweet peas are hardened off I will plant these out in the garden too over the next two weeks.

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My hesperis and alliums are not far off flowering now and I am looking forward to using these in arrangements. Meanwhile the honesty is still looking lovely.

Alliums                                         Hesperis                                Honesty

image   image   imageElsewhere in the cutting garden this week the lady’s mantle is really coming on and the calendula has started to grow. My larkspur has been nibbled in places but has also started to show good signs of growth.

Ladys mantle                                   Calendula                           Larkspur

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May really is the month in Scotland where the garden starts to take off. I get so much satisfaction from spending time out there, seeing what I have grown from seed starting to develop into big healthy plants. It is one of my busiest months as I continue to sew seeds, pot on, harden off, weed and stake plants. Despite the longer evenings there still never seem to be enough hours in the day to get all the jobs done!  I hope you have enjoyed seeing how the cutting garden has been coming on and I am looking forward to seeing what will flower in the garden this week!

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A few favourite flowers

With another week of snow, ice and all the snowdrops covered up I thought I would write about some of my favourite flowers I grew in the garden last year and what makes them special!

Hellebores

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Last year was the first year I really took notice of Hellebores in the garden. It was our second year living at our new house and I had never grown them before. Unless you looked closely you might just miss them altogether as the flowers tend to face downwards and get buried behind their leaves. Hellebores in our garden are the first flowers to bloom alongside the snowdrops, a first sign of spring after a long winter. They are beautiful and make a good cut flower as long as they are conditioned well and cut at the right time. If you cut hellebores too early before their seed pods are developed they will wilt in the vase.

Philadelphus Mock Orange

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Philadelphus is a flowering shrub I just love due to its fantastic citrusy scent. It grows at the top of our steps leading to the cutting garden and as you climb them the scent just hits you. Philadelphus Mock Orange was one of the main reasons I wanted to grow flowers for other people. Shop bought bouquets were often so disappointing with virtually no smell. I wanted to grow flowers that smelled wonderful for my stall so other people could enjoy bringing a cottage garden feel into their homes.

Alliums

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I like alliums, so much so I have planted a lot more to come up this spring! They look very striking in a bouquet of flowers and provided you change the water in your vase every couple of days there should be no problem with the oniony smell associated with them. A couple of drops of thin bleach in your vase water will help too.

Roses

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I think roses have always been a firm favourite of mine. For the last two years I have had a couple of climbing roses in the garden including Dublin Bay which you can see in the picture above. As I had so few roses last year I was not able to use many for cutting and the ones I did have were not strongly scented. One of the main things I wanted to expand this year was the number of roses I had. I have created a new rose bed and also potted some in containers for the patio. All the roses I have chosen are good for cutting but also most importantly strongly scented! Some of the roses I have planted include Queen of Sweden, Gentle Hermione, Diamond Days, Chandos Beauty, Ice Cream, Caroline Victoria and Warm Wishes. At the moment they are all bare root roses just peeping out the soil and I can’t wait to see them grow and flower later in the year!

Sunflower Vanilla Ice

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Last year I enjoyed growing sunflowers as a cut flower for the first time. I had only ever tried to grow the tall varieties before with the kids to see whose could be the tallest! The vanilla ice variety produced smaller heads on branching stems which were lovely in jam jar posies and bunches of flowers. The one problem I had last year was the wind and I lost one or too plants after particularly stormy nights. I had staked them but obviously not enough! 2015 has been declared by  Fleuroselects Home Garden Association to be the year of the sunflower so I will be trying to grow a few more varieties as cut flowers for you and I will be using much stronger stakes!

Cosmos

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I loved growing cosmos last year as it just flowered and flowered! It is also a beautiful delicate flower and lasted well in a vase. I will be growing lots more of these this year and trying some yellow and orange ones for a bit of variety.

Scabious

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I grew this flower as it was a cut and come again flower and it did just that all the way to the first frosts. It starts to look good in bud but then develops into the most beautiful flower and the stems were nice and strong for using in bouquets.

Phacelia

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I really loved the look of phacelia in bouquets and jam jar posies last year and it was something a little bit different. It also has the added bonus of being able to dig it into the soil at the end of a season where it acts as a green manure!

Ammaranthus

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I grew ammaranthus last year because it was something completely different with its bright red tassels! It lasted brilliantly in a vase and produced flowers right up to the first frosts. You could mix it in with other flowers in a jam jar posies or it looked great with a few stems together in a vase on the kitchen table.

Zinnia

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Zinnias were a favourite of mine last year firstly because I really did not think I could grow them! I knew they liked the sun and warmth in the soil and being Scotland I just did not think it would be warm enough! To begin with there was very little growth and then I put them under fleece tunnels, we had some good weather and they took off.  They were so bright and colourful and lasted a couple of weeks in a vase. I am going to grow them again this year and fingers crossed for a warm season of growing so we can enjoy them throughout the summer.

These flowers are just a few of my favourites from last year. There are far too many new gorgeous annuals that I discovered to mention! It makes you want to fast forward winter so you can get growing and enjoy them again! I would love to know if you had any flowers from the garden last year what your favourites were! Maybe you can remember flowers from your childhood or gardens you have visited that you would like to see again. I am always looking for new varieties to try!