Thursday, 20 June 2013

In an English country ga-a-rden

Despite best efforts I haven't been on the blog for too long, apologies. It has been quite busy! In fact I have little idea what I've been up to for the past two weeks but there have been weddings, events, bouquets... and a lot of gardening. It's very exciting having a new garden as everything is both expected and totally unexpected, things are too slow and too fast. Existential angst is the order of the day, every stage is so perfect I don't want it to pass but at the same time I look forward to the next stage. Is this age? Or gardening?
In the garden it's all about roses and peonies at the moment. Greatest delight is discovering a magic rose. I have no idea which climber/rambler/scrambler she is but a beautiful and delightfully scented little yellow rose  is not just scrambling through an old apple tree but has also rooted into the cambium of the tree so the tree is now both apple and rose. She is actually growing in and from the tree, in many places. How magic is that?
How I wish I had listened when I had been told which rose here was which. But too late for regrets, everything is blooming like mad. All the roses I moved are healthy as can be, joining at least 50 established shrub roses and other old fashioned numbers. The scents are unbelievable, and each one is individual. Oh to be a perfumier. (perhaps better than a flower grower right now as the last two days have been so heavy and damp and still that all the beautiful roses were unpickable, but they will all end up in the airing cupboard slowly drying for confetti. I love going in there, it smells like heaven).
Oh and apart from roses another favourite plant is blooming like mad. Phlomis Italica, the beautiful Italian sage, how often I tried to grow it from cuttings in my Herefordshire garden and never succeeded as it was just too cold, but here it is a mass of little pink heads and silky soft felty grey leaves, gorgeous, and a wonderful addition to bouquets. Although this weekends wedding is yellow. And most of my garden is pink and mauve. Hey ho. 
I spent a whole day weeding the new field patch from thistles. But it's interesting seeing what weeds come up as bosses here, they are a different variety from Herefordshire at least. But just as vicious! I just have dills, cornflowers, cosmos and calendula out there at the moment but am about to thin larkspurs and ammis and send them out. And I have planted tulip trees, birches, rowans, walnut, viburnums, magnolias and lilacs out there too.....
Today I had a load of bottles and jars delivered by a young chap whose life history I now know and worry about. In the time it took to unload a pallet I discovered he had come down from Lancaster with his girlfriend who was escaping domestic violence from an ex. Then she found he was friendly with a woman who became her ex's new paramour so she attacked him with a frying pan and knives. He then pushed her away and was done for Aggravated Bodily Harm. She left and went back to her ex. He is now living in a rented room for £60 a week including food (sounded very reasonable I thought!) and going out with a barmaid from the local hostelry, but he finds it difficult living in Dorset as parts remind him too much of home and he gets homesick although he didn't get on with his family so maybe he's going to go and work in Dubai with his father (his "real" father he said) though he's quite happy at the moment. So now you know too!
But normally it's all about the flowers. And I am enjoying every offering and making them up into treasures for customers. I am trying to get some wedding photos to appear. Soon! 

Friday, 7 June 2013

linen and roses

I enjoy doing intimate weddings. Especially at Barnsley House and especially for Americans who often have very precise ideas. Yesterday linen bags filled with home made confetti were requested. So I carried on the theme into their chair backs and tied their buttonholes and corsages with linen too...

Cecile Brunner is quite rightly called the buttonhole rose, I'm not usually a fan of rose buttonholes but she is just such a sweetie. Having moved further south west roses are in full burst at the gardens. I am almost sad, I absolutely adore this time of year when everything is so full of promise. Then everything bursts into full bloom and there's a sadness tinging the joy.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Promise of summer

Walking up the lane this morning the smell of summer hit me, that lovely blast of heavy scent, a mixture of wildflowers, mown grass, warmth, general vegetation. And the wildflowers here are spectacular -  fields and hedge edges of lady's smock, bluebells, cow parsley and dandelions have now given way to queen annes lace. buttercups and vetches, clovers and campions, stitchworts, orchids, dozens of different grasses. Though the silage fields are sad monocrops of rye grass, with a few patches of campions and buttercups daring to creep in round the edges. There are lots of bees out and it is particularly good to see butterflies, today I spotted several little blue ones but I haven't a clue which they are.

I keep meaning to take photographs of progress but once again am camera less. I must sort this out,  if anyone has any suggestions for the best smallish but not snap and shoot camera, I'm all ears.... I did have a good Canon Eos something or other., it died, I got a lumix, I don't get on with it at all and the battery holds no charge or some reason so every time I do find it and decide to snap it won't play.

I'm hoping for photos from Lydia's wedding soon, she was the gorgeous bride who wanted guinea fowl feathers in a headdress, she said she liked wearing it so much that she didn't take it off after the ceremony as planned but kept it on all evening. I imagine it was looking a bit faded by then! This weekend was a very relaxed wedding in Bridport, rather fun to do something completely local. Next week it's Gloucestershire on Thursday, Dorset at the weekend.

Sadly three people who were coming together or the course a week tomorrow have had to cancel because of a memorial service so I'm cancelling the day - it doesn't seem much fun for just two people but as one of them is on holiday in Turkey she may turn up anyway though I have mailed her. If she does appear I have promised her a day in the garden helping with anything she would like to do, and with whatever info she wants thrown in, obviously for no charge. Somebody was shocked that I hadn't taken deposits from everyone so I am not out of pocket, but my reasoning goes like this - people pay when they have had a good day, if they can't come that is bad luck for them as well as me, if they are nice people, and they always are, and they can't come for a genuine reason they always offer to pay anyway. The three non-comers from next week offered to pay but that would be stealing as I haven't given them anything in return.

On deposits, I do need to apologise to brides though, in theory I should take deposits three months in advance and some brides do like to work that way. In practice this year any help here is going in the garden, not the house or office, as there is so much to do to get the gardens up and running here, so I am doing all the admin. And I am notoriously admin light because I am rather too busy to do everything though I do try. Sorry!

Best in the garden today - white and dark red peonies, catmint and the first campanula.


It's 2pm on Sunday. The phone goes. I run in from the garden where I'm having lunch with friends. And trip over the pup on the way and nearly go flying, but I was expecting a call and needed to answer.  It was not the call I expected but went like this (verbatim):

Caller: "Are you the flower company?"
Me: "Yes." (it seemed the easiest answer)
Caller: "Can you send flowers for me to arrive tomorrow?"
Me: "I'm afraid that isn't possible."
Caller: "No need to be rude." And she put the phone down.

Um, she phoned on Sunday lunchtime. With not even an excuse me for bothering you at the weekend or any kind of little politenesses......