November is just around the corner, and for me this year’s growing season is coming to an end, even though there are still a few blooms to enjoy in the cutting patch thanks to the mild autumn we have been enjoying.
As a farmer, rgardless of what crop you grow, the weather plays a significant role in your day-to-day activities, as well as affecting the crops growth and harvest. When have you not heard a farmer grumbling about it. Too hot,too cold too wet, too dry, too windy etc, very rarely is it just right for us miserable lot.
The season really was a difficult one to get going, as it was cold and wet for so long. Seeds were incredibly slow to germinate, and direct sowing into cold wet soil was not advisable. When the weather did let up a bit and we thought at last things will get going it soon turned cold again. In desperation my darling husband with help constructed some mini tunnels to put over rows of seedling to help them along, it really made a difference, and will definitely be used again next year.
One of the plus sides to a late start in flower harvest is that it moved the whole season back so that I was still enjoying some of the flowers in September that would normally have been over in August. I also benefited from sowing a late cop of sunflowers for a September wedding where the bride loved the flower so much we used it in virtually all the arrangements, this ment that I was still harvesting sunflowers well into October.
I have loved the variety of occasions I have been involved in to supply flowers this year it has been a real privilege to meet and get involved with so many different people.
Some of this year’s brides have been happy to have a selection of garden flowers to arrange at the venue themselves, with the odd one having enough time to come and cut their own a couple of days before the event, which adds to the whole wedding experience. Others have asked me to arrange all their flower needs, church, venue, and bouquets etc. A huge task to complete on my own, and so this year my children have been an invaluable help. My daughters are becoming experts at conditioning flowers and arranging small jam jar posies, and even my son is showing some flower arranging aptitude.
I had two weddings in July which set me new challenges. Firstly the heat, as we experienced a heat wave and cutting flowers in a hot spell and hoping they would look amazing in a warm marquee is not for the faint hearted. It involved a lot of moving around arrangements to keep the flowers in the cool for as long as possible and only placing on the tables last minute, which when they are arrangements in tall vases is quite a task .
Then the next challenge was the mother of the bride who when she see’s the flowers in their half-finished state starts to question the flowers saying I didn’t think that was what we were going to get. Just stay calm my husband says and let her see the finished article. When she did it was all smiles and “they are wonderful” thank goodness, but it does give you a wobble.
The second July wedding was a real family occasion with every member of the family involved. I was given free rein on the flowers I coud use, as long as they were blue and white,which as a grower makes life so much easier, you just choose what is at its prime in the week before the day, and the mother of the bride even let me raid her garden for foliage, what a privilege. The biggest challenge here was decorating marquee poles with flowers. Its amazing what you can so with a strong rope and oasis. Thank goodness the family were on hand to put the flowers in place, my eldest daughter volunteered to climb the ladder to fix the rope in place, she has a good head for heights.
I have also hosted a couple of workshops this year, mainly for flower crowns. One was a surprise hen party for the bride by her bridesmaid. They had a lovely evening cutting flowers, learning how to make crowns, and enjoying homemade nibbles and bubbly as well.
Another new item I have been creating are autumn wreaths. These created an opportunity for me to get involved with Neptune, a home furnishings store in Canterbury. One of their customers was discussing wreaths with her daughter in the shop, and was overheard by a member of staff who wanted to offer wreath workshops fo Christmas, she very kindly mentioned me as shed had seen a friends wreath last year and loved it. So my next project is Christmas wreath workshops both at home and in Canterbury, there are still opportunities to join me if you like, check out the website for details.