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March 2013

Roses and Rubbish

It's the Equinox today, and from now the days will get longer, and the nights shorter, and my greenhouse fuller and fuller.

One of the things that signifies high summer to me is the scent and colour of Roses.

So this week, I finished planting (in the rain, so the photo was only taken half way through) 45 roses. I've no idea which varieties will be the most popular in my bouquets, so i've chosen on my own preferences, of colour and flower shape and mostly on scent.

So later this summer, I should have Red Darcey Bussel, Purple Munstead Wood, Pink Eglantyne, Cream Abaundance, Burgandy Ice, and pink Cornelia.

After 10 days of feeling rubbish with the first major cold, that has floored in years, I've been taking it Easy at Hill top farm. Not much other than the Roses has been planted, but, I have been busy aquiring lots of goodies. One man's rubbish is another's treasure, and that has really been the case for me this week.

My lovely Hairdresser Bernadette mentioned that she wasn't going to be growing her normal beds of vegetables this year, and that she's concentrating on the greenhouse. She then offered me some Canes and stakes that she won't be growing beans on any more, and when I went up to fetch them, she'd had a clear out, and I had a haul of planters, bins, supports and planting trays.

Then another Grace and Flavour regular, Michael, mentioned that his Kitchen was being replaced, so I stuck my hand in the air for anything I could salvage from that, - Unfortunately the builders were a bit hammer happy, so the units didn't make it out in one piece, but the sink will be a welcome addition to my bouquet making station.

So as March zooms by, things are coming on slowly, and now it's time for me to start seed sowing again.

Weekend progress at Hill Top farm - Men and Machines

So this weekend, there has been fantastic progress made at Hill Top farm. At times, we've had so many people helping, it's felt like a party. - I remember feeling this achey after dancing all night long too (loooong time ago).

So what have we been up to?

Turfcutter perrennial bed-1
We hired a turf cutter again, to take the surface off the perennial bed. - You may remember I put black matting over this space when we first arrived, in the vain hope that the grass would rot under the sheeting.

With mostly sub zero ( or feeling like that) temperatures for the last 8 weeks, and nothing except a little yellowing happening under the matting, Drastic action was called for. So Saturday was mostly about taking off 200m2 of turf (a 50 metre bed, 4 metres deep) and carting the turf away.

Then at lunch time, we had visitors. First Rob turned up, and gave an expert demonstration and explanation of Water Divineing. I may have been a bit sceptical, but the plumber had told me, he'd seen it in action, and it can save a fortune in digging for pipes. An hour and a bit later, He and Mum had traced all the pipes round my field, and i'm a believer, having watched the metal "wands" twirling in Rob's hands, and so now, even though I don't know where the leak is yet, - I know where to find the pipes to find the leak. - Even better, It appears Mum is pretty good at Divineing too, so i'll have to get her some coat hangers to practice with.

Then Su turned up with a trailer full of Rotavator borrowed from Grace and Flavour, and even better, took away William for an afternoon of play (much more exciting for an almost nine year old, than flower farming)

Then I had another delivery of Horse Manure. - This is one of the best presents i've had from local villagers. They've given me warm words of welcome, and the Parish Council have said they have no opposition to my Polytunnel (and have some nice words to say) But Mike Cook has welcomed me with free Horse manure, and even brought it up to the farm for me, - (donation going to Cherry Trees, as thanks for that)

Horsemanure delivery-1
On Saturday afternoon after finishing the perennial bed, just when everything was going swimmingly, the Turf cutter cable snapped.

Plans for getting the rest of the hardy annual beds finished and more turf cut for planting willows went out the windows, so instead on Sunday morning we had to hand cut the turves for willow planting, and then we concentrated on Rotavating the perennial beds.

Rotavator on perennial beds-2

My willing Labourers John and Anthony plus Dad on the shovel, carted Barrow after barrow from the Horse dung pile, and Ashley (computer geek usually desk sitting husband Extrodinaire) found a new career as a machine operator, and had to be forceably removed from the Rotavator for a cup of coffee. (He's going to sleep well tonight).

By 3.00pm I had a wonderfully crumbly, richly manured bed ready to be planted, So we put in 25 Roses, to Christen it, and Fleeced the Ranunculus and netted the Cornflowers to prevent any more pest Damage.

As is often the way when i've had a buzzing day, I was still going when I got home, so when the stew for this evening was one, I cleaned out the chicken, pruned the Autumn Raspberrys, and weeded my salads.

I'm ready for the Stew and glass of Red now, - hope your weekend went as well..

And if you've got plans in place for your Mum next weekend, and still need a present, then don't forget Plantpassion is making Anemone jam jar posies, Spring bulb Bouquets, and Herb planters for you to give next Sunday, and delivering in Horsley, Clandon and Ripley- email me or phone on 07813 456865 to place your order


Operation Mother's day swings into action

So next weekend it is Mothering Sunday. - It's the time of year when we all appreciate our Mum's even more than usual, and give them a little something to say thank you.

In my childhood, I remember clearly getting Daffodils in church to give to mum each year, and so as i'm now selling English Cut flowers, Scented Narsissus had to be the starting point when I designed the bouquets for this year.

Bouquets for mothers day-1
So I present to you

Scented Narsisus Spring bulbs bouquets - £30

Kitchen doorstep Herb planters - £20


Anemone jam jar posies - £12.00

(all with free local delivery)

All individually hand made with English flowers, - Local foliage, and Surrey grown herbs.

To order, phone 07813 456865  or email

I'm delivering next Saturday in Horsley, Clandon and Ripley. - Or for those with Mum's in Horsley that they can't be with, i'll be delivering on Sunday morning in the East/West Horsley Triangle (Duke of Wellington, Bell and Colville Roundabout, East lane/Ockham Road junction).

For Scent and Sustainability, and happy Mum's, give me a call.