I’ve started working on my flower field at last. I set trowel into earth for the first time last Friday (followed by Saturday and Sunday) I’ve spent most of yesterday there too. Fridays have been designated my flower farming day and I’m now working four days a week in my ‘day job’ which gives one day a week for me – plus evenings and weekends of course, when I am also tending my garden and allotment, looking after the house, and, and, and… I’m loving it!
Having a patch of what amounts to virgin earth to play with is very liberating and what scope it offers! I found it very difficult to map out on paper beforehand what would go where; I work much better when I can physically see the space and so I didn’t spend the winter months drawing up detailed planting plans. Instead I made lists of what I wanted to grow (that grew longer each time I read Erin’s wonderful blog posts, see floretflowers.com, ordered seeds and dahlias – all the time wondering exactly how I would place them all when I finally got onto the field but knowing that I should wait until I got there
I decided how long and wide I wanted my beds to be, and worked out where the sun rises and sets, and where the wind comes from; so I had a rough idea, but it wasn’t until I set foot on the earth itself that I felt I could really get going. I’m sure I’ve already made some bad decisions but I’m not moving anything and will learn from my mistakes – I’m keeping a diary of everything.
So what did I plant first? I had some Ammi ‘majus’ that Mum had grown for me which were jumping out of their pots, together with some cornflowers and autumn sown Nigella ‘African Queen’ that I’d hardened off. Nigella don’t like disturbance so these have sulked a bit since setting them out, but hopefully they will come around and start to grow. I have also planted out some Cerinthe that I sowed last year, they have grown a bit wayward and sprawling but now they are in the earth I hope they will start to flourish. I have more of everything coming along at different stages too, to give me some succession of flowers and now that the ground is starting to warm up I can sow seeds direct; I’ve erected a tunnel cloche to help the fussier ones along.
Yesterday my first batch of sweet peas went in, and I am a bit nervous for their safety. On the first weekend when the field was ‘almost mine’ it just needed harrowing, I took my parents along for a look and we flushed out a rabbit at the top of the field. As rabbits don’t come singly, but ‘in battalions’ I’ve been a bit anxious with each planting wondering whether my plants will be ravaged overnight. Last Saturday I was back at the field at 8am just to check on my ‘babies’. Since then I have noticed some casualties, a couple of cornflowers scraped out, and yesterday two ammis had been dug up since my last visit. I’m taking no chances with the sweet peas, they are expensive to lose and a lot of care has gone into raising them. So I have erected a protective wire mesh fence around them (and under them) and am hoping that this will do the trick. If this is going to be my permanent site then it will pay to erect proper fencing – and then I can sleep more easily at night.
A year ago I had a dream of finding a field to rent so that I might start to grow a flower farming business – and here I am now with the reality. Dreams can come true. So if you are an aspiring flower farmer reading this and wanting to find your own patch, don’t give up, it is out there!