Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a field full of beautiful flowers blossoming in the Scottish sun… This is what it feels like remembering back to the cutting garden before we put the field to bed after the last wedding in November. Now we are getting ready for 2017 season and looking forward to beds of beauty and scent from the flowers and foliages we can produce. Before that comes a huge amount of hard work though which, when the days are cold and dreich can feel like long stretch until we see the fruits of our labour. But even now as I peep under the fleece covers on the ranunculus and anenomes and see that they just starting to respond to the longer days and see heathers, winter aconites, catkins and of course snowdrops are out and hellebores budding up, spring is on its way and it will happen! At this time of year you can keep up with each variety’s growth and blossom but soon, in the burst of spring you will miss all the first moments, being distracted by the speed of growth everywhere.
Winter is the time of planning the planting, ordering seeds, sorting seeds, sheds, preparing beds and equipment and garden maintenance. Who knows a gardener that does nothing between November and March?
We have stuck to a lot of favourite annual varieties for 2017 with some new colours and of course, despite knowing we can’t grow everything, we have some new varieties to try too. I have also succumbed to the romance of scented billowing roses so have a whole bed of them planted, although we mustn’t cut from them this year. The first lot of peonies should be ready for cutting this year – it was difficult to resist cutting them whilst they established too. Another focal flower we are trialling this year is the big chrysanthemum. Tulip fire is a big problem here and although I have grown the tulips far away from each other on different plots each year it is too risky so I am only doing a few special types in crates this year and hoping for the best. This is also why we grow a wide range of flowers, so if one crop fails one year, there is always something else available. Most of the seedlings are started off in tiny mini soil blocks and potted on to 2′ blocks as soon as possible. This means about 4,000 seedlings to be sown, potted on and planted out, all lovingly nurtured on their way.
Here’s to a blooming good season of Scottish grown cut flowers!