A combination of a very wet day, together with all the local roads being closed for the London-Surrey cycle event has kept me at home today and to be honest it has been a bit of a relief. I’ve been so busy, combining my four days a week in my office job and spending Fridays/weekends/evenings on my flower field that I’m starting to flag a little. Fridays are now given over to deliveries in the morning, and for weeks it’s just been too hot to work in the field in the afternoons. I’ve been watering two and three times during the week, picking and deadheading – and that just takes care of the flowers. The weeds have been left to their own devices, and they have taken full advantage! But, re-reading notes I made last year at Georgie Newbery’s ‘Flower Farming for Beginners’ workshop I find the words, “accept you won’t be able to keep on top of the weeds” – and I don’t feel so bad.
That said it was a relief when a friend started, and my farmer landlord finished, cutting down the waist high mayweed and thistles that had colonised my uncultivated area of the field – it was looking terrible and I didn’t want it all to go to seed. At least now the area looks manageable again and ready for me to tackle as we move into late Summer/early Autumn.
I still can’t quite believe I’ve only been growing on the field since April. It just shows the power of annuals – their entire reason for existence is to grow and flower – give them the right conditions and they will do this in abundance for you. My main learning from my first season is to do better in terms of succession sowing next year. Everything has come in one go, flowered its socks off, and then that’s it – all gone. I have a good range of flowers taking over from each other – but I didn’t stagger the sowings of each variety well enough; with the exception of my sweet peas where I’m on the third batch with one last one still to come. If I’d staggered the sowing of Ammi, or Dill for instance, then I’d still have plenty of fillers to put with my zinnias and dahlias. But I always knew this year was going to be as much about learning as growing, and so next year I’ll be sowing smaller quantities, and at fortnightly or so intervals to extend the growing season. I’ll be helped here by having the field to grow on through the winter months meaning that I can start many hardy annuals off in the coming weeks which will help me make a good start next Spring.
I have been delighted by the response of my local customers to my flowers too. I have found three florists to supply wholesale flowers to, established a regular order for hand-tied bunches, and am just starting out supplying posies to a local craft shop. With just one day a week to make all of these deliveries this is just about the right number of customers for a beginner.
So if you are reading this with a bit of a dream of your own to grow cut flowers, and maybe make a business out of it, do give it a go – the worst thing that could happen is that you’ll end up with a house full of beautiful flowers!