This Week

more chrysanthemums

more chrysanthemums

As autumn drifts into winter, the magical chrysanthemums are still giving us gorgeous bright crops of interesting flowers.  We still have only a few plants of most of the fifteen or so varieties which we grow, and there are scores more varieties of these wonderful late-flowering hardy outdoor kinds.  We ran out of space in our main planting beds this year and in the end some of the...

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chrysanthemums

chrysanthemums

We've had our first frost, which blackened some of the dahlias and sparkled fleetingly on the grass, but it has no effect on the chrysanthemums, which are very tough and just keep on flowering.  Chrysanthemums are a hugely varied group of flowers, from the fat more tender florist-type ones (the better grown they are, the fatter they are!), to the neat little pompons, twiddly spoon-petalled...

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In which the chicks settle in

In which the chicks settle in

I know that we are a flower garden, growing flowers for cutting, and that it takes a great deal of time and energy and focus to carry the thing through and to make a success of it, and that we ought not to allow ourselves to become distracted, but these little Barbu d'Uccle chickens are just so beguiling, enganging, mild and sweet, that they are putting some of us off our work.  I make a...

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autumnal loveliness

autumnal loveliness

We wake up to swathes of mist floating across the valley, and the soft hoots of owls in the lingering darkness - autumn is here, with its beautiful soft, golden-turning leaves and clusters of nuts on the trees; its plumes of woodsmoke and dripping branches; its busy tractors and bounding squirrels.  In the garden everything seems to be rust-coloured and soft-textured.  We have lots of...

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September bounty

September bounty

So much to pick!  It is pretty late in the year and we're approaching the end of our flower-picking season, but in the last couple of weeks the garden seems to have surged up with a great wave of flowery bounty for us to pick, and we have been picking so much, and then looking back at the garden, and it still looks full of flowers...  The welcome sunshine we've been...

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endless treats

endless treats

Lovely things are coming out of the garden.  One of the very best parts of my job is that twice a week I have to pick flowers for us to bring home and test for vase life, enduring scent, and general appeal in the vase.  Almost every time the bulk of what I pick is roses - well, each variety has different attributes and a differing vase life, so I simply must try them all...

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the unravelling of summer

the unravelling of summer

The flower beds have burst their banks, and all the floral woven cloths are fraying at the edges, blooms and seed heads and grasses all spilling and tumbling and filling the garden with loveliness.  This week there are soft sweet toadflax filtering the stronger flowers all over the garden, softening the spaces between roses and lilies and phlox, and positive fireworks going on in our 'hot...

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lovely letterboxes

lovely letterboxes

This week the roses have started to put out their second flush of flowers, especially the hybrid musks and David Austin roses, and the high season perennials are in full swing.  Some of the more joyful, meadowy half hardy annuals like coreopsis and tall tagetes are coming into their own, and the walls of sweet peas just keep on billowing.  We have also been packing some seriously...

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Drying flowers

Drying flowers

Over the last few weeks, Lucinda, Emma and I have been gathering in little harvests of flowers and seed pods for drying, picking off the leaves, and bundling them up into little posies to dry in the workshop where we pack our letterbox flowers.  We've always grown things that can be dried, but this is the first year we have made it an actual part of our plan to grow them well, instead of...

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some roses

some roses

June is the month of roses, in particular of the old roses, and these are becomming our grand passion at the Flower Garden.  One great dazzling burst of bloom lasting three or four weeks is the chief gift they give us, but most of these older roses also have a beautiful softly arching habit, and very various and interesting leaves, so that they create a lovely appealling backdrop in the...

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