Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Putting away winter

Usually February is a fallow time, with only mental gardening to while away the drizzly dank days.  My long silence on the blog is an indicator that this February has been far from quiet - it started with meeting up with other growers at the beginning of the month to hatch plans to mark British Flowers Week in June, progressed to an application for a stand at a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show, and finished this week with meeting other local(ish) members of the British Flower Collective, followed by a giving a talk on cutting gardens to a local gardening club.  And all of this was punctuated by Valentines Day, and a rush of funeral flowers for both natural burials and traditional funerals.

Today felt like a day off, with nothing to rush off to, so made the most of this welcome hiatus by planting out my September sown cornflowers into the borders.  They're such sturdy plants now that I can't see the point in potting them on again - I think it's time to let them get out into the big wide world after spending their juvenile years penned up in a cold, draughty greenhouse.

I'm slowly working my way around the garden, clearing away the dead stems of dried out perennials from last year, cutting back the dog-legged stems of roses and dreaming of where to plant my many new roses.

At least the garden looks like it is almost getting ready to do something.  Fat buds are forming on the hazel (which I think I'm going to chop right down to ground level as I don't want a tree, but the long straight wands it will throw up after being coppiced would make handy supports for lots of my plants).  The mature hazels at the allotment have been a brilliant resource this month when making bouquets - their dangling yellow catkins are wonderful combined with spring flowers in a bunch.

Wedding flowers Birmingham.  Spring buttonholes by Tuckshop Flowers.
Catkins and ivy berries add texture to these spring buttonholes

Tulips are poking their noses out of the earth in my big zinc tub, and the ones which still remain in the raised bed, over planted with ranunculus and protected by horticultural fleece are really starting to motor into growth.  Funny, as I could have sworn I'd dug most of them out in autumn to make way for the ranunculus.  I'm obviously not as ruthless as I thought.

Only 3 more days to go until March, but I'm not going to sow too many seeds too early - just don't have the indoor space to keep them going until May, so better to delay for a couple of weeks more yet.  It's a bit like being held on the starting blocks once the 1st of March clicks into place on the calendar.

It's been a busy start to the year, so here's hoping it continues in the same vein!