A week at Plantpassion - High Summer

I'm often asked what a week at Plantpassion actually consists of, so here's what the team got up to last week.

Yellow florists bucket.jpg

Monday morning started off early with polytunnel watering, and then i had 2 collections of flowers, - 1 Growers Bucket for a florist, and one Flower arrangers bucket, for one of my local regular ladies. (similar things, just for different sets of people) the photo is the Yellow themed Growers bucket.

The rest of the morning was the first of our Teenagers and the young at heart flower clubs, and Vicky, Jemima and William, learnt about vases and vessels, what flower shapes to look out for, and then had fun making a front facing vase arrangement to take home.

Tuesday morning's task was Farewell flowers to be delivered to Clandon Wood Burial ground, just down the road from us. All our funeral arrangements are made without any plastics / wire or packaging. With no chemicals used on the flowers. They are designed to be completely biodegradable, something which unfortunately most Memorial flowers aren't. These display sheafs were made up from foliage tied together with twool, and then flowers weaved through the frame to create a strong but natural finish. They included Rosemary for Remembrance, and the posy that went with them contained Sweet peas for Departure. (Victorian language of flowers)

Funeral sheaves Phlox.jpg

It was also lovely to get a message of thanks afterwards

Beautiful flowers Claire for what was a special service. Thank you.
— J S

 

The rest of Tuesday morning was made up of planting and weeding and watering, I was joined by Jennifer, my Mum and Dad, and my son, helping out. The heat ensured we gave up by lunchtime, so the afternoon was spent in front of a fan at home. Then there was an evening session back at the farm to make sure all the polytunnels were fully watered.

 Seana catching me peeking out from behind an armful of phlox

Seana catching me peeking out from behind an armful of phlox

Wednesday started early. My fabulous picking team of Seana, Liz and Laura making the huge difference from years gone by when i've had to harvest everything myself. By 9am before the heat of the day had really set in, we had a barn full ready for florist orders. 

 Our Late July haul consisted of phlox, hydrangeas, ammi, statice, cosmos, scabious, antirrhinums, lavender, achillea, larkspur, amaranthus, and the first dahlias.

Our Late July haul consisted of phlox, hydrangeas, ammi, statice, cosmos, scabious, antirrhinums, lavender, achillea, larkspur, amaranthus, and the first dahlias.

Again the heat was too much by late morning, so after a couple of florist collections, I retreated home for a couple of hours. Then it was my Wednesday afternoon trip to Farnham to swap flowers with Bella from West End farm. Working with another flower farm means we can offer local florists an even wider range (and i could top up my Roses and Achillea for this week's wedding - thanks Bella) The evening was some sweet pea picking and watering.

Thursday dawned, with more picking, and several florist collections before 7.30am. We're often the 2nd pickup after New Covent Garden Market, so i get to see what's been bought there. Then Liz and I did another quick planting session before the heat of the day set in, and i left the drip irrigation hoses on while I retreated home in front of the fan to start the first of the week's wedding preparations. 

 42 degrees in the greenhouse, and 37 degrees outside in the "shade" of the house.

42 degrees in the greenhouse, and 37 degrees outside in the "shade" of the house.

it was hugely hot, but our flowers tend to cope with higher temperatures better than imports, because they havn't been in and out of fridges. We make sure that our buttonholes and bouquets are made with well conditioned flowers, picked at the coolest part of the day, and that helps them to survive longer. Thursday afternoon was when i made the buttonholes and corsages for this weekend's wedding. Here they are, all individual around a theme mini bouquets that will sit in a jam jar until just before they are needed to keep them fresh.

buttonholes for July wedding.jpg

Then on Thursday evening I did all the preparations for the bouquet making, checking through all the flower stems, sorting and ensuring they were all top quality and given the best chance to be at there absolute peak for the Saturday wedding.

Friday morning was another early start. The Bridal bouquet, and 3 bridesmaids were finished and tied with their twool handles, and packaged in jars and boxes ready to go off with the Brides mum. The DIY buckets had their water refreshed, so they could be used straight away for displays when they got to their destination.

 DIY buckets of flowers, to a green, white and pastel theme, ready to go.

DIY buckets of flowers, to a green, white and pastel theme, ready to go.

 Bridal bouquet with all the goodies from the field and garden.

Bridal bouquet with all the goodies from the field and garden.

 Bride and her maids ready to be packaged up.

Bride and her maids ready to be packaged up.

These flowers were collected before 8am, and were off to stay in an air conditioned office for the day.

When they'd gone, i quickly cleared up the barn ready for a private workshop which has been booked for a group as a birthday present for ages.

 Intent on bouquet making

Intent on bouquet making

This group of ladies all classed themselves as beginners, most who rarely had flowers for the vase, but by the end of the session, they all made lovely individual hand tied bouquets.

 5 successful hand tied bouquets.

5 successful hand tied bouquets.

After a break for a spot of lunch, (and there may have been a quick 40 winks!) I was back at the farm in the late afternoon for a watering session, and getting together the Friday flowers. This week, it was 2 bouquets, 2 flower arrangers buckets and 1 bunch of Seasonal flowers to be delivered on my round of Horsley. (down from my high of 11 the week before :( ).

Just to prove it's not all a case of work and no play, Friday evening was a lovely party at the allotment / community garden - Grace and Flavour. I was really glad that we've got our fantastic potting shed to shelter in, as we had the first rain in ages. As keen gardeners we were all full of glee, and the evening passed very pleasantly, helped by wine and shared allotment goody snacks. (if like me you are gluten free, then Courgette slices make excellent blinis!).

While there weren't any flower orders on Saturday morning, the polytunnels still needed watering, and Saturday afternoon was a large session of emptying all the waterbutts on to the Roses and cleaning them out, ahead of the forecast full day of rain on Sunday. (they're now almost full again!)

Sunday was a rare day off as the Ride London Cycle race meant that Staple Lane was closed, and we couldn't get to the farm. Some Biennial pricking out was my only "work " for the day. However on the TV coverage there was quite a crowd of spectators in my gateway, so i'm hoping the Clandon Open Gardens sign (26th August) on the gate will get some of those spectators coming back at the end of the month. With a full day of rain, the cyclists may have been bedraggled, but the field was looking a lot happier.

So there you are, a week at Plantpassion, - Flowers for florists, events and local people from a flower field in the Surrey Hills.