Wednesday, 23 June 2010

tulips again

I just received some beautiful pictures from that early May tulip wedding. Reminding me of my love affair with tulips in all their guises and disguises.
Beautiful bride, beautiful tulips.

Profusion and confusion

The top garden here, the original cottage garden is becoming a bit of a case of "be careful what you wish for". For years I desperately wanted things to move on a bit faster, for areas to grow up and for plants to meld into each other and spread of their own accord. But by now plants have long since taken over, doing their own thing, deciding by themselves how and where they want to grow. I confess I haven't had much time to sit in the herb garden lately, so was a bit surprised to find myself almost unable to push in past the sages and santolinas at the entrance early this morning! Elsewhere the old roses are so happy this year - is it the best year ever for roses after that wretchedly long winter? But my favourite cottage plant this morning (I was going to say this week but tomorrow it m ay well be something else!) is a very pale mauve knautia that I think came originally from Charis Stockton at Abbeydore. All the knautias seem to be very happy this year, last year they sulked. I have a mystery in the main field garden, where last year I had a huge stand of white veronicastrum, this year I appear to have a smaller stand with dark purplish spires, I'm scratching my head about that one.

While I'm not burying my head in the sand that is.... Hampton Court is less than a fortnight away, less than 10 days away even, and I don't appear to be very ready. Um, not at all. I hole to get the photos I want for printing here today, and hope I then will get the designs to the printers in time for them to produce brochures leaflets and more postcards. I have been upgraded to a larger stand because of a no-show which is great as more room to spread but also means that my idea for filling the original space has now gone out of the window so I'm scratching my head about that one too. I'm trying to gather up enough old boxes to make a wall for one side, and will bring bits and pieces of favourite "vintage" paraphernalia. I was going to make a giant floral heart but fortunately discovered before doing so that it doesn't quite fit into this van! But the fantastic news is that a wonderful florist near Hampton Court is renting me space in their fridge, as the logisitics of keeping things fresh and/or returning here twice a week has been obsessing me on and off lately. Now I hope I can persuade one of my still to be sorted band of helpers to drive a van up from here midweek to fill the fridge for me. Mental notes: Hire van, organise picking, organise driver, organise rota, organise printing, do something about order forms and receipts and above all decide what sort of flowery displays to create (this decision will probably take place when picking the day before). I ummed and ahhed about hiring a mobile card terminal and probably really should have done so but as the cost of a week's hire and the necessary 18 month contract they demanded to go with it came to several days wages for one of my trusty weeders the weeds won (again). It could have been a mistake taking on a wedding the day I should be packing up to go, plus a second set of bouquets for another wedding. But then anything could be a mistake, and on the other hand it just might all work out. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

barn job

Lovely job last weekend, lots of garlanding and globes as well as big bowls and jugs and so on. It was a beautiful evening so hardly anyone went into barn and marquee where we had hung huge globes, but fabulous to be able to have the party outdoors......

I'm not good on ladders, so Veronica's lovely son Pedro was recruited as the monkey - thanks Pedro!

Monday, 7 June 2010

beautiful spires, hateful corn spurrey

I love it when the tall spires start appearing, we're doing a huge party this weekend where eremurus, delphiniums and thatching stooks are going to feature highly - as well as 6 hanging globes, 4 long garlands etc etc. It's going to be a few very long days but I'm sure it will look lovely on the day - we've got veronicas, astrantias, iris, stocks, larkspur, cornflower, sweet wills, alliums, camassia, libertias, bistorts, name a few

Does any know how to get rid of corn spurrey? I am getting really worried about it here. As some people know, it's a weed that came in here originally with green manure phacelia seed from the Organic company. I know it came with the seed, it was totally obvious, it just appeared in two perfect pillowy white patches under the phacelia originally. Now it is everywhere and I'm concerned it is spreading into neighbouring land which is dreadful as it is NOT a local weed so I am introducing this horrible defiant impostor.

Apart from that, it means here: I can't use any of our fabulous compost as it is all infected with corn spurrey seed.
Every week it takes at least two people a whole day each to clear one patch from the gardens, if I could afford it I'd have twenty people here for a day and we just might just about do it, otherwise it is a losing battle as I need labour for other things than only corn spurreying.
I can't sow any annuals direct into most areas now because the corn spurrey germinates faster than the desired seeds and smothers them.

So it costs me time, money and a hell of a headache.

things are moving on