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December 2015
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February 2016

January 2016

Should you DIY your wedding flowers?

We work with some wonderfully talented florists, and i'll be highlighting some of them over the coming months, but this week i've been going through the wedding enquiries that have been coming in, AND, looking back at some of the email conversations that i had with some of last year's brides, and my Question this week is

"Should you DIY your wedding flowers?"

Claire cutting sweetpeas-1

It's a big trend at the moment and Georgie Newbery's new book "Grow your own Wedding Flowers" will i'm sure encourage even more to try.

But if you have your own wedding happening in the next year or two, or you've been asked to grow flowers for your son, daughter or friend, there are a few things to take into account.

Have you grown flowers for cutting before?

If you have, and you know what date you've sown seeds, and what date they've flowered, then great. It also means that you've probably already got a greenhouse/ polytunnel / growhouse to get seedlings going in, and you've already got fleece/environmesh / cloches to protect crops, and maybe some already self sown seedlings coming up from last year.

Ammi seedlings-1

Is the Wedding in the 2nd half of the year?

Weddings from late July onwards are a lot easier to grow for.  An April or May wedding will need Bulbs and Biennials that have been sown/planted the summer/autumn before. A June or early July wedding will need Hardy Annuals, and Biennials sown the previous May to September. However from late July onwards, it is possible to sow Hardy and Half hardy annuals in the spring and have them flowering later the same year 

Is the bride willing to have any choice of flowers in her bouquet?

To get perfect flowers you need to grow lots, (think of the greenhouse full of Chrysanthemums for the showman to get 3 perfect blooms.) To get perfect flowers for a date in a year requires previous knowledge of flowering dates, and successional sowing so that there is a row of blooms at the right time. If the bride is willing to have whatever flowers are looking wonderful on the day of the wedding, then that makes things a lot easier.

White dahlia bouquet

Have you arranged bridal flowers before?

3 years after starting the flower farm, after making many bouquets each week, going on lots of workshops, and having one to one sessions with trained florists, i'm just about ready to make displays for brides on the most important day of their life. You may have arranged wonderful flowers for the house, and the church, but have you done it under pressure before?

Is your idea of an ideal evening crafting with friends? 

If you want to spend the last evening of your single life without a care in the world and with a glass of wine in your hand, then it might be a good idea to delegate some of your preparations, because the day before the wedding is when the flowers need to be made up. The more decorations you have to prepare, the higher the likelihood that it will infringe on the relaxing and enjoying time.

 

But if you answered Yes to all of the Questions, then I think you should DIY your wedding flowers, - you have a lot of ideal skills, and i'm sure you'll have lots of fun and create lots of memories doing it.

I will however leave you with a Quote from one of my last year's brides.

She had done 2 grow your own cut flower workshops with me, she'd bought a small polytunnel to protect her seedlings, and she'd been planning and planting and weeding for 9 months.

5 days before the wedding I received

"You have helped me so much with your workshops for my wedding so far I'm just hoping you can help a bit more. 

My flowers are budding if not flowering I'm hopeful I'll have some but probably not enough. If at all possible I would like to have one of your buckets of flowers to add to mine. "

and 2 days before the wedding, when we were confirming the theme for the flower bucket

"my life has become ridiculously manic!!! If anyone suggests doing everything themselves for their wedding I would tell them not too!!!!"

 

If you're ignoring this advice then here is some additional information that you may need

Plantpassion Options for DIY flowers

Growing your own flowers workshop

Gypsophila alternatives

March Seedsowing

Grow your own flowers for September wedding

Dahlias for cut flowers


Seasonal Flowers for all year round.

There are always flowers for those that want to see them - Henri Matisse

A year of flowers

I just want to say, right here at the beginning, that i'm not against imports....

Our Island can't grow all the things that we want all year round.

I love avocados, the occasional mango, and a Christmas tub of pecan nuts, and none of them grow here, - but you won't find me buying Strawberries outside of the summer months, Asparagus is a May/ June treat, Beans are just for August and September, and Apples will be soft and squidgy after February.

In exactly the same way that British Food is available all year round, Just not everything, every month. There are British Flowers available all year round.

If you want seasonal flowers, you have to be aware that you need to want what's available at that time - whatever that is.

If you want a particular flower for your special occasion, you have to either

a) have your special occasion at the right time for that flower

or

b) use an imported flower

Want to know when the right time of year is for your special occasion flower?

email me - Claire@plantpassion.co.uk

or follow my instagram , facebook and pinterest feeds to see what's in season all year round


New Year's Resolution - Paths with no weeds

Happy New Year to you.

After a full 8 days of lie ins, FAR too much food, and a lovely rest, i'm really ready to get on with 2016.

They say that you learn from your mistakes, so this year my resolution is not to put down a path without putting wet newspaper underneath it first.

I'm aiming for paths with no weeds.

Row of Asters with woodchip paths

Over the last few years, we've been refining our methods of bed building, This is our No Dig Philosophy Article and in 2015, the plastic that we put down over winter meant that we had clear ground to make the new beds in spring. - Although the mounds of manure and compost that we grew in were great for the plants, and thick enough to mean that minimal weeds came through, we made a big mistake on the paths, and just used woodchip on the soil.

By the end of the season when we removed the spent Half hardy annuals from these beds, the beds were practically weed free, the paths however were a different matter. Even in this photo, you can see grass and weeds starting to come through.

We've found that Newspaper, if soaked first, makes an excellent mulch. It's free, sustainable, doesn't cause as much compaction to the soil structure as the mypex or silage sheeting, and is easy to lay. The paths were we used it for in the perennial area have been easy to top up this year.

As the area we're growing in expands, we need to use every method we can to be productive, so i'm hoping this resolution will go a long way towards that in 2016.