Tag Archives: sweet pea

THE RURAL FLORISTS: EASTER

This month’s blog comes from our very own Claire S:

Easter is already here and I’m cautiously watching the daffodils literally springing to life. The crocuses are out and buds are starting to appear on the hydrangeas – it’s all very exciting. That blast of snow earlier in the year has killed off some of my seedlings that were just starting to make an appearance. I thought they were safe but obviously not. Thankfully, I have more and can sow extras.

What a difference a year makes – the snowy run up to Easter 2018 and the sunshine of 2017

I’m hoping for an epic crop of sunflowers, sweet peas, cerinthe, clary and borage, as long as Barbara – our resident chicken – doesn’t find them first! I’ve discovered that Barbara doesn’t like mint but ADORES chives; she won’t touch the feverfew but will rampage through my ferns as if she’s a chicken possessed.

I suppose the most logical thing to do is to put her in a pen, but I just love watching her mooch through the garden, scratching at the soil, making little holes to snuggle into if there’s any warm sunshine. My husband’s away for the week over Easter and I’m wondering if he’ll notice if I get some new friends to keep Barbara company? Margot, our other chicken, was savaged by a Labrador last summer. A very sad day indeed.

I fear for Barbara’s sanity, she’s alone mainly, with only the odd pigeon to keep her company. I introduced two bantams last summer and she hated them. She took pleasure in chasing them around the pen telling them off… I think I have realised she’s quite grumpy. She’d much rather spend her time following me around the kitchen (don’t tell my husband!), clucking at my feet for me to feed her grapes. We listen to the radio together, dancing around the house, enjoying ‘Pop master’ on the Ken Bruce show.

I’d like another five or six really, then possibly a pygmy goat and a rescue donkey….

Oh God, I’ve just realised something…maybe it’s not the Chickens sanity I should be worried about!

The Rural Florists: Part II

For the love of all things holy, ‘PLEASE STOP RAINING!!!!!!!’

When we had grand thoughts of planning & planting the cutting garden we had this romantic idea of being out in the garden, turning over the soil, leaning on the gate whilst sipping our coffee, deciding what seeds are going where, what would grow in the best position… Well, since the gorgeous seeds arrived (the packet was opened with lots of ohh’s and ahhh’s) it has done nothing but rain… And when it hasn’t rained, we’ve had snow or frosts so hard we can’t stick a fork in the ground. The soil is ready, the fertiliser has been spread, it is waiting in anticipation of being filled with delights such as: lupins, eryingium, sweet peas, Veronica, Cerinthe… the list goes on. We want to get out there and plant but we can’t, they’d be washed away and we’d end up on our behinds, thigh deep in chicken poo.

The only saving grace is the arrival of spring. Hidden away in the garden, all those bulbs have started to appear. Snowdrops have arrived, cowslips around the base of the tree, daffodils breaking through the soil… It’s truly a delight to see these delicate flowers poking through. Despite everything they still come up and give us gardeners hope.

So to cheer ourselves up (and stop us drinking our body weight in caffeine) we visited a secret plant nursery. It’s in the back of beyond. Honestly, if you put a gun to my head and demanded the directions, I couldn’t tell you. At one point, I thought Claire was taking me to a secluded spot to hit me across the head with a spade! Maybe she thought about it but realised the ground was too hard to dig a grave. Thankfully, I’m still alive to tell you about the plants. Oh my goodness, I wanted to buy EVERYTHING!!! Pittisporum, Viburnum, Clematis, Jasmine… it goes on and on and on and on. Oh, I could have filled my car twenty times over. Honestly, in my head the sun was shining and the sky was blue. The endless joy that plants give me – to imagine what they’ll grow into over the coming months – fills me with utter happiness. I’m desperate for the days to get warmer and longer; I’m excited to watch things grow and evolve. No matter how much you plan, you can’t guarantee it’s going to work out the way you want it. You have to adapt, to work with the plants and the weather. Get out there in between the rain clouds, prepare for those better days, so you can utilise the time. Just imagine sitting in the sunshine, breathing in the heady scent of those sweet peas that you know you grew from a tiny seed. Total smug zone moment.

This was contributed by Claire S.