Friday, 29 November 2013

Getting ready

Am I getting ready for Christmas or am I getting ready for spring? I am certainly getting excited about the latter - thought I agree that few people could be so excited by this as I am:

You have to look closely but it is the first of the hellebore buds! As I have added another 120 plants to the stock I'm hoping for great things. 75 new roses were supposed to be arriving today but haven't done so, but I hope they won't be too delayed, I may have all their homes dug by the time they appear.
And yesterday it was the first of the Christmas fairs. The picture's blurry, the event was huge - Symondsbury's opening hoorah at the newly done up courtyard tithe barn, cafe, etc etc. A huge project, incredibly smartly executed, a far cry from the former rustic farmstead!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Christmas Fair

I don't usually do Christmas events but this year am full on for Symondsbury this Thursday. If you're in the area do come and enjoy it. Apparently there are about 85 stalls in the newly renovated Tithe barn. I'll be there with lots of greenery and some flowers, sweet chestnut plant tags, herb and flower cheeses, green wreaths and garlands...............

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

happy clearing

Last winter I cleared several beds here and found nothing I wanted to keep - thousands of geranium plants were removed and most went to a good home to cover a bank, but also many hundreds of other unwanted uncuttable bit and pieces. In preparation for an influx of hellebores I've been clearing madly and today, underneath mounds of alchemilla, ferns, bergenia, vinca, weeds, I found a mass of still healthy lily of the valley - big hurrah - and a couple of dozen healthy looking eremurus. I certainly can't remember ever seeing either of these here in the past 30 years so they've been hiding very efficiently. Here's hoping they will now flourish. Trouble is, I needed their space for hellebores.

And 75 new roses are arriving in a couple of weeks. And there are perennials to split and more bulbs to plant..... where does time and space go to? I sometimes wish I could stop having new plans and stick to what I've got! But the hellebore plan is to replace tulips as I can't really grow them here, too heavy and wet, and i wanted something else lovely early in the year. Hellebores aren't the easiest cut flowers, but I reckon I'll perfect the art of picking and packing them to keep. I sure hope so.

I was meant to be going to Portland Oregon next week to work with the legendary florist Francoise Weeks, sadly my travelling companion and colleague got serious concussion after a window fell on her head a few weeks ago and can't fly and I felt too much of a heel to go on my own, so we'll go another time. Instead we're going to do some visiting in the UK as I had booked some time out and can't bear to let it pass. And because I'd booked house and dog sitter and certainly can't bear to let that opportunity pass!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A puff..... Thanks.

My last mail order wedding flowers of the season went out on October 25th after a horribly wet cold windy week when what was left in the gardens had to be very resolute to stand up to the battering. The bride, Caroline,  had originally asked me for a selection of flowers that just definitely were not in season, so I had suggested several times that she perhaps ought to find someone else as I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to provide what she wanted, and it would be just awful to send something that was completely off the mark. Happily Caroline persisted, but I was a little worried come the day, and the week of weather as I hate having to send anything out that may be a little damp. But it seems I need not have worried as I received this lovely email today. I'm not sure I deserved it, but it was very pleasing......

Hi Charlie,

Now I am returned from honeymoon, I want to say a very huge Thank You to you for your amazing flowers for my wedding.
The surprise element of my bouquet, the girls posies and the table flowers was one thing I was really looking forward to on the day, and I wasn't disappointed. The flowers were incredible!

They were just what I wanted; incredibly natural looking, beautiful colours and quality, and created so thoughtfully. I couldn't have asked for more.

I would like to send you some photos from the wedding (with the flowers in obviously) when I finally have them, so you can see just how perfect they were in situ.

Thank you so much Charlie for your time, your craftsmanship, your amazing flowers, and overall your patience with me.

I will not hesitate to recommend you to any friend or even passing stranger who is planning a wedding or any other celebration. Your flowers are gorgeous.

All the best, a very happy newlywed,

 Actually, thank YOU Caroline! 

A nice way to end the wedding flower year and I now don't have another wedding until New Years' Eve (challenging) then a Dorset do in mid January. I'm much looking forward to that one as the ceremony is at the divinely beautiful Abbotsbury church, and the reception at Moonfleet Manor which is a wonderful mixture of colonial, baronial and modern, right on the Fleet at the end of Chesil Beach. 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Autumn winter spring summer autumn winter spring summer

It is very definitely autumn turning towards winter here now, and as my season ends and the hecticness of sending out flowers daily is on hold for a while, I can get down to some of the tasks I need to do outside and in. And as the pace of the year changes I have found myself reflecting whether gardening should not ideally be an occupation for the young and wondering whether we should move into the cities without green demands and enjoy a hedonistic or sybaritic lifestyle when we are older? I’ve been thinking about this lately not because of laziness but because gardening is all about the future, it is about patience, waiting, planning and planting for another year, another decade, even another generation, it is the ultimate delayed gratification where all is about waiting. Waiting in awe admittedly, waiting with joy and hope and delight in what we hope will happen next. But waiting nonetheless. And as we get older how long should we wait? Should we not live in the day, the hour, the moment?

Every Maytime there is a delicious moment when everything in a garden is poised waiting to break out and shoot forward into full growth and leaf and blossom and fecundity. The greens in the garden then are both pale and bright, light, myriad, subtle many toned, buds are forming and breaking, leaves are unfurling, branches untwining and shooting outwards and upwards to clutch at the sky. Life is rushing onwards energetically, joyfully, noisily, exuberantly, rushing to its peak and rushing to its death. There is so much expectation of fruition to come. But the moment is just a moment, a perfect moment. Pause and look around for a glance too long and existential angst sets in. If you’re not careful the very joy of that perfect moment full of expectation is a sadness in its passing.

Yesterday I planted peonies for an hour in the rain, before I was forced inside completely sodden despite layers of waterproof clothing. As I planted I was thinking how glorious they should all look in 5 years time, and thinking also of all the weeding they would require while they grew large enough to cope with whatever else grows up around them. Definitely delayed gratification. Then it was too wet to spend time clearing outside so I set to planning, deciding which trees to buy for a new orchard. I may never see these trees come to maturity but it doesn’t stop the pleasure in planning or the joy of imagining what they will look like. But, and I have only recently realized this but, gardening in some ways makes life pass even faster -  I am always looking at pleasure that will come in some way in the future by imagining what will come next, by thinking that if all doesn’t work this year that’s Ok because there is always next year and the one after and so on (I hope). And by looking always into the future I feel life careening past at a swifter pace than I might now wish because I am always looking forward to something in years to come rather than fully enjoying the moment.

I do enjoy the moment too, of course. But when I’m always looking forward I do sometimes feel I’m rushing too fast towards older age!

But I’m sure I’ll be back on track in a day or two, maybe once I’ve got some of those bulbs planted that are sitting in trays in the shed waiting. Or when I’ve moved the compost heap to get rid of the bed breakfast and evening meals and snacks I’m providing for the incoming rat population. Or when I’ve sorted out the building of the new shed. Or written the article with the threatening deadline. Or the chapter of the book I have promised. Or painted a bedroom. Or dug some new beds. Or weeded the field beds where I need to move perennials. Or cleared undergrowth and mulched for all those hellebores I’ve ordered. Or cleared the wildflower patch. Or cleared the floor of the orchard or managed to pick some of the tons of apples that are currently homeless. Or re-done the website. Or sorted out photos. Or made a wood shelter. Or a thousand and one other things………………..