What time of year are my favourite flowers available?

During a Pinterest board discussion with a Bride to be this week, I was reminded that i'm so lucky to be familiar with lots of flowers, and to know the season's that they will be available in. So in a bid to help out all those who's description of what they like is "that pink one" Here's the first of a series of posts about when flowers are in season.

The Nation's favourite flower is the Rose

If they are grown in a glasshouse or covered tunnel, they can be flowering in England by mid to late May depending on the season. and continue flowering (in bursts) until Late October / Mid November. Yes that does mean that all those Valentine Roses are imported from a long way away. The best months (meaning the months they flower the most prolifically here in the UK even if they're grown outdoors) are June, and September.

The second most known flower is the Peony

These are around for a lot less time than the Roses, just a short 3 week season for most British Peonies each year. If you want to make sure you can have a locally grown Peony in your Wedding bouquet, then the last half of June, into July is when you need to plan your wedding. If you get married in August, then your peonies will need to come from Alaska, later in the year and they'll be from the southern hemisphere, New Zealand or Chile maybe.

Wildflowers. Natural wildflowers flower en masse in a meadow, and there are different types for most of the year, but when i get asked for wildflower style, most brides are wanting smaller, dainty flowers. These may include Cornflowers, or Corncockle, or Feverfew or Nigella. 

The Early summer months of May, June and July are the best times for a wildflower theme, giving you the widest range of varieties. 

Dahlias are back in fashion now, and the wonderful range of colours mean that they are perfect for wedding flowers

Although they may start popping up in Instagram feeds from late June. They're not available in any numbers until Late July, early August, and they peak in numbers and variety in early September. They keep going though until the first frosts, so that's mid October until the beginning of November depending on your latitude.

Ranunculus. Newer to the wedding scene, but completely gorgeous are the many petalled Ranunculus. Even better, these are available at a different time of year to Roses and Peonies, with availability in spring from March through May, and for a short period from selected glasshouses in the Autumn

and last for now is the Anemone. My first few have been available in my Polytunnel this week, and they will be flowering prolifically within a couple of weeks time. With both covered and outside crops, they will be giving me blooms until the beginning of June. Occasionally i have a few blooming in November, and they are available commercially from Cornish growers with benign climates in the late Autumn.

Which flower would you like to know the natural season for? If you've an absolutely favourite flower, let me know what it is, so that you can find the best season to celebrate it in your event flowers.

Propagation for a floriferous season ahead

I love the word floriferous. It totally describes what i want from my field, tons of flowers, a field full of blooms.

To do this I need healthy plants, and plenty of them to fill all my beds

Today was one of my Grow your own workshops, and the participants got to sow seeds and take stem and heel cuttings. One of my top tips to ensure all plants are healthy, is to move them on from one stage to the next as soon as possible. This means the plant never becomes "checked". If a plant isn't halted at any point in its growing season, it will grow quickly, and flower it's socks off.

With seeds this means moving them from their seed tray to module or pot when they just have their first leaves, and before the root creates extra root hairs and gets damaged when moved.

This tray of Larkspur seedlings, became these plantlets within 3 days (sown 22/9, pricked out 19/10, photo 22/10) They were planted out on the field 2 weeks ago, after the winter in the unheated polytunnel, and they have great footballs.

For cuttings this means taking the growing medium in it's pot or module to the plant you're going to take cuttings from, The cutting is then completely fresh, hasn't had time for the sap to dry up, and can concentrate on creating roots as soon as it's in contact with the compost.

For perennials, this means splitting them - sometime Quite ruthlessly into smaller bits early in the season. Today it was veronicastrum that i was splitting. These spires of white and purple proved so popular last year, that the only photo i got of it, was as it was going out of the door in a yellow and white themed event flowers bucket.

i'm splitting each clump into 5 or 6, and potting them up. They'll be cosseted in the polytunnel for the next 4 -6 weeks during which time they'll grow a great root system in the warm compost. By late April when i need the polytunnel space for Dahlias, - i'll plant them back on the field, and with fresh root growth into the by then warmed soil, they'll grow away easily.

Tomorrow, i'm splitting more plants, including phlox, and sowing more seeds, and yes i can actually call it productive work.

Cropping this month - March

Every year is slightly different, and this bit at the beginning of the season is the place where the most changes in the shortest period of time take place. We go from being cold and wintery to there being warmth in the air and blooms on the field very quickly. This weekend was warm, so all of a sudden there are things popping out.

I don't start inviting people up to the Hill top farm until this month, as the field is mostly bleak and covered in plastic to prevent weeds through out the winter months. But there are pockets of flowers and foliage that i'm picking from.

The Anemones are budding up in the Polytunnel. - I picked a handful last Tuesday for orders and there were a few more this morning, so they are picking up, and there should be plenty in 10 days time

As well as these lovely white anemones, there are some Burgundy colour bordeaux ones coming too, and there will be more whites, blues, reds and pinks on the field soon.

The first Daffodils are flowering. We've been buying in from the Early Cornish fields, but now our own Surrey ones are catching up.

The Euphorbia is colouring up. Now this isn't everyone's favourite as some people have an allergy to the sap, but for early season burst of acid yellow, it can't be beaten. We've got the large variety Wulfenii, and the smaller Robbaie as well.

The yellow of the Kerria is just starting to bud up. It's a shrub that would take over my front garden if i let it. Luckily, my florists are great at helping me keep it under control, and the yellow stems of double flowers get well cut each year.

The hyacinths are budding up in the polytunnel. These short and short lived bulbs are wonderful in their brilliance, both in colour and in scent. - My succession planting of them this year seems to have gone awry, All the colours and all the plantings look like they will flower at once in the couple of weeks!

There is Spring Blossom poised on the trees around the field. Some kind of prunus. It's flowered between 18th March and 9th April in previous years, so i'm guessing it will come out at some point in that period.

Also in the polytunnel and just waiting to burst when there's some warmth are my poppies. In previous years i've only had bright mixed colours, but i've added to them this year with pinks and whites. Of course i don't yet have details of how quickly they will flower, or how many stems i'll get, but i'm sure they will keep me on my toes for the next couple of months and then i'll be able to let you know.

There are also lots of hellebores flowering at the farm and at home. I usually wait to cut them until the seedbeds have formed, but they have lovely long stems this year, so we may be parting with a few this month

 

and then foliage wise, - i've got Rosemary, Willow, curly willow, and the last of the season's Eucalyptus (lots more of that being planted this year), plus prunings from clients gardens.

If you're a Surrey florist wanting to get a weekly availability list emailed to you, please read about our Flowers for Florists, and sign up here 

If you want to send flowers to someone locally to East Clandon in Surrey, please read about our posies and bouquets 

If you'd like flowers for yourself and you live between Guildford and Cobham, including the villages of Merrow, Ripley, Ockham, East and West Clandon, and East and West Horsley we sell through the Crossroads Village store,(in West Horsley)  or have Flower arranger Subscriptions

Welcome to the new Plantpassion blog home

So, after 10 years of writing my blog, i've changed where it lives. It feels like a momentous occasion, and one i hope i haven't made a big mistake over.

I'm hoping with this new place on my new website, i'll be able to write even more about what's happening at the farm. Make sure you know what's flowering in my little corner of Surrey, and keep you up to date with the gardening and flower farming that i'm doing through the year. I'm also hoping i can show you more of the wonderful pictures that Emma Davies has taken over the last couple of  years. She's brave and has been up on the field in all weather's the same as me.

Trying to make sure she's taken photos of everything before i pick it, not matter how cold it is or how early in the morning. (this is the shot she got from the other end of the row)

So with a new website, and blog home, and lots of photos to show off the flowers, 2017 should be a great year for letting you know what's happening at Plantpassion. Please do have a good look round the website, to see what else we're up to, and let me know what you think. Will the new house become a good home?