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May 2016

This week in numbers

It's been a busy week, here at Plantpassion, so i thought i'd give you an idea in numbers of what i've been up to.

9 Varieties of Allium Flowering on the field

Here's 5 of them, Allium Christophii, Allium Purple Sensation, Allium Cowanii, Allium Atropurpureum and Allium Mount Everest, There's also Allium Roseum, Allium Purple King, Allium Nigrum, and Nectaroscordum Bulgarium (Used to be Allium Sicilium)

Allium montage

1844 Holes burnt in Landscape matting , and 1550 Sunflower seeds directly planted into the holes (and 600 more Sunflower seeds ordered to fill the gaps!)

Landscape matting holes-1

(Have a look on my Facebook feed to see the video of the great device Ashley made me to burn the holes)

9 Florists orders that have gone out of the door, I only managed to snap a picture of Alison's booty in the back of her car, collecting for lovely posies in Peaslake and Caroline at Cherfold Cottage . Thank you to Jay Archer, for trying very hard to buy everything on the field (but purple Alliums aren't wedding flowers, I know!)

Florists order-1

6 posies or bouquets, collected or delivered to local clients. Here's a selection

Heres one i did earlier

4 Volunteers, who've come and helped me, and learned more about flower growing, - thanks Penny, Jenny, Emma and Heidi, 1 member of staff who's potted up 360 Dahlias in the last few weeks - thanks Jennifer. 2 Family members (this week) who are very good at mowing

1 wedding, with 4 bridesmaid bouquets, A brides bouquet and lots of buttonholes and corsages made

Obviously i can't show you this one until after the wedding, so here's the ingredients for one of the bouquets

Bouquet ingredients-1

20 Florists confirmed on our British Flowers Week Workshop (now sold out)

1 Charity (GUTS) supported with a fundraising private tour of the field, and feedback greatly appreciated


1 border planted with herbs for an East Horsley Client

250 miles, the distance my flowers traveled for a photo shoot on Tuesday. Many Thanks to Vanessa Birley Florals, Emma Davies Photo, and Fiona at Firenza Florals, for making them look so good on a Yorkshire back drop

Photoshoot in yorkshire 2-1

(Photo credit Vanessa Birley)


3 fresh deliveries of flowers needed for the local shop this week, - there are Ranunculus and Mixed bunches there now for the weekend

Local shop bunches-1

And one tired but Happy Flower Farmer, who's had a record ever week, and still has flowers to sell. So let me know if you'd like some for this weekend!


Fantastic Fillers - Cerinthe Major Purpurescens


(photo credit Emma Davies)

At my recent open days, and garden club show rounds, this has been the most talked about plant on the field

Cerinthe Major Purpurescens

My chalky field gives itself to growing this succulent early flowering filler, making healthy plants with strong straight stems that are great to work with.

I originally grow it about 10 years ago, and for a while the allotment had lots every year. I've been collecting seed and resowing ever since.

It's a cool weather loving plant.  That means it's great in March, April and May, and why i'll stop picking it after the end of the this month and collect the seeds as they ripen and turn from white, to matt black, and then shiny black.

I ignore the packet instructions that say they can be sown all through the spring. Cerinthe hates hot weather, and will flop in the garden, let alone the vase if given too much heat.

It doesn't like frost either, so i've found the best way to get incredible flowers early in the season is

1) direct sow in late September, - these make small plants by winter, but can be covered against frost. The first few years i let it sow itself, but then you have to thin out as they are very good at self seeding

Cerinthe selfseeded

2) have a back up of a tray of seeds sown in pots in October, - they just germinate, and are small plants over winter, but grow quickly in February and can be planted out by the end of the month or in March if we're still having harsh frosts

3) Sow freshly collected (i.e by you the autumn before) seeds in mid February, and prick out/ pot on, to plant out in late March, early April. - These plants are already starting to flower for me now on the 11th May

Cerinthe with cornflower in back

They're a great accompaniment to spring Tulips, Hellebores, Early Alliums, Ranunculus, and the first of the Cornflowers.