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News from My Flower Patch

Here you will find news of what we are doing at My Flower Patch. We might tell you what we are growing, planting or picking at the moment. We will tell you about any exciting events we might be attending, or maybe just feature a favourite flower. There will often be lots of pretty photographs, that's for sure! Click "Subscribe Now' to make sure you don't miss any posts.


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Photobombing bee!

So British Flowers Week started today and I made my first video clip of the week. I thought I would share it here with you. 

I have just finished co-hosting #britishflowers on Twitter. Tonight we were chatting about #britishflowersweek and how we would all be celebrating it, spreading the word about British Flowers, and generally just oohing and aaahing over the sumptuous photos that the Twitter folk were posting. In amongst the tweets I spotted a link from a wonderful lady called Fiona who runs Firenza Flowers. She has written a journal post about why she uses British Flowers as often as possible. Take a look at it here. She sums up how I as a grower feel about my "babies" that I have nurtured to the perfect point for cutting. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did. 

I love the way our customers enjoy our flowers. They love the natural style of the flowers, and the fact that they are a lot different to a supermarket bunch. The sight or scent of them often trigger memories of loved ones no longer here, or happy times they spent as a child. They evoke nostalgia. Sweet William and Sweet Peas especially seem to have this effect.

So whatever you do this week to celebrate British Flowers Week, take time to stop and smell the roses, or the sweet peas, or whatever flowers you may have in your home or garden. Take time to smell them, look at them and really enjoy them. And if they are grown by an artisan flower grower know that they will have been grown with passion, love and commitment to bring you great joy. What more could you ask of a humble bloom. 

 

 

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British Flowers Week starts on Monday the 19th June. It is a week long celebration of British grown flowers organised by New Covent Garden Flower Market,  you can find out more details here.

In the run up to this I was honoured to be mentioned in an article in the Telegraph Gardening section. You can read the "Ladies Who Bunch" article online here. I was even more chuffed that they used my photo both as the lead photo and on the cover of the gardening section. I guess it helps that I had wonderful photos taken by the fabulous Katie Spicer. 

During the week I am aiming to upload a new You Tube clip each day. You can find my YouTube channel here. Wish me luck! Hopefully the sun will shine and I won't have to do too many takes for each video!

Then on Saturday Ann and I will be attending a wonderful workshop organised by Grace Alexander Flowers held at Forde Abbey, Dorset.

In the meantime, we have been busy planting out this years flower plants, harvesting the flowers that are blooming, and getting the ground ready for more planting. Oh and a bit of weeding, rotavating, strimming and path laying! We had a warm Winter and a cold Spring which tricked a lot of plants so the flowers I would have expected have been a bit jumbled in their flowering order, but beautiful none the less. 

If you would like a bouquet or posy of beautiful British flowers in your home for British Flowers Week or beyond, do get in touch. We like to have at least 24 hours notice as your flowers are picked to order. 

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If you are a Wiltshire or Hampshire florist who would like to use more British Flowers in your wedding or event work then also get in touch. We are supplying a few freelance Wiltshire florists with wholesale British grown flowers already but definitely have capacity to supply more. Drop me an email and I will let you have our wholesale British Flowers price list and we can arrange a patch visit. 

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May is here, we've had some gorgeous sunshine and also some heavy rain. Unfortunately the heavy rain came once our tulips were out, but we have still harvested some gorgeous blooms. We have had bright bold tulips and soft pastel tulips that look like ice cream. 

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So here is a look around the patch taken on the 14th May. Things are just getting going in the rest of the patch and new flowers are appearing slowly but surely. We have started planting out annuals, and hardening off new plants before they are planted out. We are still sowing seeds and pricking out, it all takes time, but it will be worth it once the patch is full of beautiful flowers again. 

You also get to meet Jenny one of the Patch cats. 

Enjoy, Sara x

 

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Here you have a look around the grow tunnel that I have at my home. It's where the young seedlings go once they have been germinated in my greenhouse. I am also growing some ranunculus and Galilee Anemones in there to give them some protection from the weather. It's not a full sized polytunnel, but it's better than I had this time last year. :-) 

We make use of as much space as we can to pack it all in. 

 

Enjoy, Sara x

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Spring tulip at My Flower Patch

Well, it's been a mixed bag weather wise so far at My Flower Patch. We've had some sun, some rain, some hail! But I managed to find a sunny day to take a video. It's a bit windy but no where near as windy as the February one. We have made a few changes since the last video. Added some new no dig beds, and paths in between. Taken out the old annual growth and cut back some of last years perennial stems to make way for this years growth. There is lots going on back at home in the green house and grow tunnel too, maybe I should video those next! :-) 

When I took this video I had just harvested a couple of small buckets of tulips. We are making a slow start with tulips, but we are getting there. I think the cold nights haven't helped things along. It was -0.2 in the grow tunnel last night. On the night of the 11th April my grow tunnel showed a max temp of 31.4C and a minimum of 0.3C quite a difference. But the plants I have in there are growing away getting ready to be planted out. 

We have set up some new cold frames and I'm also using some plastic mini greenhouses to act as large cold frame type areas. They offer less protection that the glass house or grow tunnel and help get the young plants ready to be planted out. 

In the seedling stakes we have cornflowers and achillea bulking up nicely. We have snapdragons and foxgloves growing on from plugs I bought, and we have been sowing up a storm. So my new propagation bench is full of seed trays as well as the old one now. It's always a battle at this time of year to work out where to spend my time. We try to get a balance between working at the patch and back at home in the greenhouse or tunnel. But there literally aren't enough hours in the day, or enough space on my propagation bench. 

I hope you enjoy a quick tour around My Flower Patch. I hope you are enjoying the series of videos showing how we grow our flowers. There will hopefully be a lot more in flower by the time I shoot next months film. Bye for now. 

 

Sara

 

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Well I did take the video in March, but didn't quite get around to uploading it until now! Oops! It's a busy time of year when you are growing flowers. You may be able to see some of the changes that have taken place. The tulips are poking through and we are slowly clearing and preparing the flower beds for their new plants. Lots going on behind the scenes in the greenhouse  & my grow tunnel also. I should probably do a video of those this month. Anyhow...enjoy a less windy & less noisy March on My Flower Patch! Sara :-) 

 

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I was lucky enough to be offered a copy of Terrariums, Gardens under Glass by Maria Colletti to review by the publishers Cool Springs Press. It came at a time when I was just looking into Terrariums and their variations. I have fallen (quite hard!) for succulents and have been looking at various ways of displaying them to use in indoor planted features. 

We have provided vintage terracotta pots of succulents for customers during the lean flower months so that they have something of interest and beauty to decorate their spaces that are usually adorned with our flowers. 

A true terrarium is a sealed vessel. Something that is not suitable for succulents. This would be something like a bottle garden that were so popular "a few" years ago and are seeing a resurgence in trendier homes & magazines. The author takes you through how to construct these and gives options of suitable plants to use. She also looks at maintenance & trouble shooting if you encounter problems once your sealed vessel is planted up. 

Maria Colletti explains in detail how to construct many other glass gardens. She discusses the suitability of various plant types for different containers. For example a narrow opening will conserve more moisture and so will be more suitable for a plant wanting humid conditions than an air plant. 

One of my favourites is probably the Wardian case with their metal and glass construction. An example of which is featured on the cover. The original Wardian cases were used to protect plants collected on botanical explorations from the harsh conditions they may face on the long sea journey home. The cases would provide the correct hot and humid atmosphere that the plants were used to.

I have seen reproduction Wardian cases, and also glass & metal planters based on the same look. I might even source some for myself.

I also love the cloches and compote dishes that Maria plants up and can see these being perfect used for a non-flowery dinner party centrepiece or as table decorations at a wedding. I have done some succulent planters in vintage glass jelly moulds, and these look fabulous.

Maria gives step-by-step instructions on how to construct various glass gardens, including hanging glass baubles with air plants and small floating water gardens. She shares top tips like using funnels to direct sand, soil or gravel to just the right place, or using a piece of paper to keep the layers separate if you want a layered look to show at the side of the container. A squirt of a water sprayer is recommended to remove stray soil from the inside of a container, followed by a polish with kitchen paper. 

I have admired the glass structures that I have seen on Pinterest and Instagram that are planted up with succulents and small indoor plants. With the knowledge I have gained from this book, I can reproduce even more indoor gardens and have the understanding of what will work best in what situation. 

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There aren't many flowers at My Flower Patch at the moment. It is February, it's been wet and mild, so the weeds have continued growing and the slugs are still around. I have decided to start a monthly video diary so that you can see a behind the scenes view of how the flowers come to be. It's a weeds and all look behind the scenes at the patch, showing you a little of what is involved with flower growing here in Upavon, Wiltshire. As you will see we don't have a polytunnel at the patch, so the flowers are truly seasonal. We do have a small grow tunnel at home, but this is as much for starting off seedlings as anything.

So, take a look at the patch in all its weedy, windy glory in February, and then join us over the coming months to see the patch spring into glorious, colourful bloom. Not long now till we start seeing the flowers back at My Flower Patch.

 

Enjoy! Sara x

 

 

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Now that I am a flower grower I do not have as much time to read as I used to, it may also have something to do with having a small child and running a business or two. On holidays I tend to lose myself in a grisly thriller by Tess Geritsen or Karin Slaughter. During the rest of the year the only things I manage to find time to read are horticultural books. They may be tending more towards the growing, top tips and advice about which varieties to grow for cutting, or more towards the arranging side of things. Not quite books, but I do also flick through bulb or seed catalogues to find new gems to grow in my own Flower Patch usually resulting in me selecting far too many "must have" tulip bulbs or dahlia tubers to grow. Obviously, they are all necessary purchases! One book I do find time to go back to again and again is the first book by Louise Curley "The Cut Flower Patch". You can find a review that Cally Smart wrote about it, on the blog for my other business, Our Flower Patch here. I still find The Cut Flower Patch a source of inspiration and useful information. Therefore you can imagine I was eagerly awaiting Louise's second book "The Crafted Garden".

The Crafted Garden is all about getting closer to natural items and using them to decorate our lives. Some of the projects could be used as decorations in your own home or to create items that could be given as very thoughtful gifts. Each project is thoroughly explained by Louise and beautifully illustrated with photographs by Jason Ingram. Each activity not only has a "How To" section explaining how to make the project, but contains background information and useful snippets about the plants, flowers, leaves or seedpods that are used to create it. The craft projects are arranged season by season, with plenty to get your teeth into in each section.

This is so much more than a garden craft book. By dealing with the horticultural elements of each of the "My Key Plants" used in each project, you will find out how to grow, propagate or be given suggestions of where to buy the plants used. As a grower I love this element of the book. It may mean that some of the projects take a bit longer to complete if you choose to grow the "ingredients" first from seed to complete an activity but that is all part of the journey of discovery. Rather than a tub of glue, a can of spray paint or a load of sequins that may create something that is often quickly discarded, some of the projects may live for weeks or longer, gracing your table or your windowsill, often with suggestions of then planting them into your garden to continue to grow and develop. It is all part of enjoying the changing of the seasons and appreciating what nature has to offer close up, kind of like the school nature table that so inspired Louise in her childhood.

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Beauty in an Eggshell

One of my favourite activities is the eggshell vases. It reminds me of something I used to do as a child, but with the stylish twist of the weeping birch nest. A perfect way to see Spring flowers up close and remind us that the warmer brighter days are arriving. I have had requests for an Easter door wreath workshop, so I may just adapt Louise's idea to create a wreath. I am enquiring about egg shell availability from a friend who has chickens with different colour eggs, now wouldn't that be special. The days just need to get lighter fro them to start laying, come on girls! You can do it! 

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Vibrant dahlias in squash vases.

I also love the squash vases. So bright and colourful and something I've not thought of doing with the ornamental or edible squash I grow most years. Perfect for an Autumn display in your home. What a wonderful way of making just a few blooms look so special. I must confess to being a bit of a dahlia addict. We will have some amazing new varieties at My Flower Patch later this year...watch this space. 

Louise also discusses responsible foraging, endangered moss and reminds us when flowers or plants are toxic. In a gentle way Louise helps us realise that creative projects can be made in such a way that they have a minimal impact on the environment. Reusing, re-purposing, recycling, re-creating and eventually composting your projects are all elements which are much discussed. Rather than traditional glitter why not use sugar frosting to bring a bit of sparkle to a Christmas table arrangement for example. 

Louise has already inspired me to have a go at an unsealed terrarium. I potted up some offshoots of succulents into a variety of open topped glass containers. Here is one, as they say, I made earlier. I am now looking around for funky containers, and planning a succulent planting workshop for later in the year. Get in touch if you would like to know more about any workshops we are planning. Our newsletter subscribers get told the details before the general public, so do shout if you would like to be added to the newsletter mailing list. The workshops will be held at Sticks and Stones in Woodborough, Wiltshire. So we get to have delicious cake and coffee at the same time as having fun and being creative. 

 

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Succulent terrarium. Quick to make & very effective.

So if this review has inspired you to take a have a go at some of the projects in Louise's new book take a look at the special offer we have for you. To order The Crafted Garden by Louise Curley at the discounted price of £13.99 including p&p* (RRP: £16.99), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG355.
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

 

Enjoy! I'm off to pot up some new perennials that have just arrived. Have a great weekend!

 

Sara

 

Images extracted from The Crafted Garden by Louise Curley, photography by Jason Ingram. Published by Frances Lincoln.

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Scented Narcissi so simple, so stunning.
It was such a good way to start the year. A trip down to Devon to the Flowers from the Farm, South West Flower Growers Meeting. It started with a shared journey with two flower grower friends, so the flower chatter started nice and early.
 
It was an uplifting day, meeting up with other flower growers, some who I've only met through social media before, and some growers who have become friends from previous courses and meetings. It can sometimes be a lonely business to be in, especially when you are out in the field in all weathers, and so it is really important to have a support network to turn to for advice, collaboration and an understanding ear.
 
We listened to inspiring talks from Green and Gorgeous and Jonathan Moseley and had an update about what is in store for #Britishflowersweek this year from Liz Anderson. Rachel talked about her journey from gardener to flower farmer and was very generous in her advice and information. The first course I ever attended about growing flowers was at Green & Gorgeous and I have returned there several times. Rachel REALLY knows her stuff and always shares information, top tips and advice about potential pitfalls to avoid. Plus Ash her partner makes sure there is delicious food available and can help with some of the more tool based questions, he really knows his stuff where polytunnels are concerned, and I now have 3 wheeler envy! I'm hoping to attend another course there later this year, we got a little insight to some of the upcoming courses and they are very exciting. :-) 
 
 Jonathan Moseley
Jonathan was as ever a bundle of enthusiasm, full of smiles and laughter. He used British flowers to create some amazing designs, gave out loads of top tips and shared his insights into upcoming trends. He is such fun to listen to and gave advice not just about creating amazing displays but also how to use our flowers to create commercially realistic arrangements for our clients. There is no point watching a demonstration where they produce magnificent displays that would only suit a 10 foot high entrance foyer if you don't work with lots of clients who have that sort of budget, well not every week anyway! He gave us lots of ideas of how to work within a clients budget to produce fabulous results and turned the humble daffodil into a work of art! 
 
Daffodils and rusty ducks.
 
We also had the chance to speak to representatives from amongst others Moles Seeds, Atlas Packaging, The Paper Studio, Lancaster & Cornish - suppliers of dreamy naturally dyed silk ribbons amongst other things, Withypitts Dahlias who I might just have bought a few more tubers from to bring you some delicious new dahlias in the late summer. 
 
We got to see stunning examples of foliage and garlands from Tregothnan and a British flower stall to drool over from Flowers by Clowance, in fact I didn't just drool over the stall but I bought an armful of flowers to come home with. I use Clowance to buy additional British flowers when I don't have any of my own growing or if I need to top up for a big event, and I bought some magnificent foliage recently from Tregothnan for my Christmas Wreath workshops. 
 
Emma Davies was on hand to help with photography questions and to take a photographic record of the day which I look forward to seeing as I only remembered to take a few snaps. I'm hoping to organise a flower photography day course with Emma at My Flower Patch, so watch this space. 
 
All that plus delicious food, the wonderful surroundings of The Corn Barn, and a host of enthusiastic flower growers, florists and flower lovers to talk to. The only problem was that there just wasn't enough time to chat to everyone, so I'm voting for a two day event next year!
 
All I need now is for my spring flowers to start blooming in Wiltshire and I can have a go at recreating some of these ideas. 
 
I hope your 2016 has also got off to a flying start. 
 
Sara
 
 
Photographs are my quick snaps of some of the floral displays by Jonathan Moseley. 
 
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I have fallen in love...again! With a sunflower, but it is a sunflower with a difference. It's name is Lemon Eclair and it is truly scrumptious! We grow lots of sunflowers, yellow, cream, red, orange, dark almost chocolate. But this one is a little different. It is an early flowering sunflower, which we love as it means we can have sunflowers blooming for longer on the patch than we have previously, but, if possible, it is even more delicious to look at than some of the others we grow. It has caused quite a stir on the Patch, and on my Twitter, and Facebook and Instagram feeds. It has pale creamy lemon petals with a dark chocolatey centre, and a ruffly look to the petals and centre that is quite something.

I also had fun taking macro photographs of it at a course yesterday. To me it looks almost like flames reaching out. 

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It mixes well with bright summer flowers, such as the scabious and alstroemeria in the top shot, a cheerful colour mix of red, blue and orange. Bright bold and beautiful British grown flowers. This was a vase arrangement as a surprise gift for some newly weds. It works equally well with pale pinks and blues as the lemon is light enough to carry these well.

It is our first year growing Lemon Eclair but it certainly won't be the last.

Is there a flower that is making your heart sing at the moment? We certainly hope so, why not let us know in the comments. Sara x

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Wow, well haven't we had some gorgeous weather! It has meant a few more hours on the flower patch watering, but the growth we have had has been amazing. So many flowers are in bloom on the patch at the moment and it looks very colourful suddenly. 

We have been talking to a few new freelance florists about buying our flowers. Some have managed to visit the patch and they have been very impressed. Orders are being taken for upcoming events and happy florists can use locally grown flowers with the knowledge that they will get the freshest flowers on the day, grown with love and picked with care. 

Our flowers are perfect for florists looking for that just gathered look to their flowers, the country garden style that is so popular for events at the moment. 

So if you are a florist fairly local to Upavon, Wiltshire why not get in touch to see if we are growing flowers that may interest you. We love having flowery visitors and conversations. Bye for now, Sara 

 

Scabious, Astrantia and Feverfew

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Exciting times! Having just purchased a mini grow tunnel we now have lots more space to grow things undercover. It is only 6m x 3m but it is a lot bigger than the greenhouse we were using up untill now. The space will mostly be taken up at the moment by seedlings before they are ready to be planted out. Although a few young plants have gone into one of the raised beds to hopefully give us earlier blooms. So far we have cornflowers, scabious, snapdragons, nicotiana and some dill planted inside the tunnel. Once the seedlings get planted out into the patch we will add some large pots to grow other things in, and squeeze in a few tomato plants and the odd cucumber for my son Henry. After all he has to have some kind of reward for opening and closing the side vents! I can just about squeeze down the side of the tunnel to do this - but he seems to have lots of fun doing it.

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Meanwhile on My Flower Patch things are coming along nicely. Lots of new perennial plants and shrubs have gone in. The tulips are just about over - boo! The alliums are just starting - hooray! 

So if you are after some local, seasonal, gorgeous flowers to decorate your home, office or to give as a gift then get in touch. We will have bouquets a plenty to go around. 

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Hello and welcome to My Flower Patch, and our new website. 

At My Flower Patch we grow wonderful, fresh flowers and arrange them into stunning, unique arrangements. Your flowers are picked to order at the peak of the freshness, conditioned to help give the best vase life and will be with you in the shortest possible time from field to vase. We love the looks we can create by growing all our own flowers. They have that fresh picked, gathered look, because they are! They have movement and a vibrancy that can't be replicated by flowers that have sat in refrigerated transport or flown half way round the world.

We can help you with the perfect flowers for any occasion. Birthday flowers, congratulations flowers, celebration flowers, thank you flowers. Flowers as a gift, or flowers for yourself. Flowers just because you fancy them, or because a friend needs cheering up. Let us know what the occasion is and we can help you by creating the perfect bouquet, posy or arrangement of local, seasonal, British grown flowers.

Our flowers are grown in our Upavon flower patch, near the banks of the River Avon in Wiltshire. We do not have a polytunnel so they are at the whim of nature. We normally have flowers from late March through to the first frosts, usually mid-October.

With thanks to Katie Spicer Photography for the photograph. 

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