Friday 28 September 2012

A Celebration of Delayed Dahlias!

My dahlias this year have had so many false starts, full of hope one minute, then within a few days, munched back to skeletal leaves and stumpy stems, by, dare I even mention them again, oh yes, slugs! Despite my best efforts to hand pick the slugs from the dahlias plus many sightings of frogs in the garden, it is only in the last month they have come into their own.  It is this time of year I feel I'm on 'borrowed time' with my dahlias. Consequently, I am keeping my fingers crossed that the first frost holds off for awhile longer then I can enjoy these sumptuous blooms to their full.  They are such a late summer joy and I feel I have been slightly cheated out of my full capacity of enjoyment of them this year.  So as you scroll through this blog, get your flares at the ready, put 'Kool and The Gang’s' song, ‘Celebration’ into your head and ..... "Celebrate good times, come on...”

'Harmari Rose' my ultimate favourite, it was love at first sight in the Anglesey Abbey Dahlia Garden some years ago and I have grown it every year since - peachy. pinky and almost bluey in colour.

Delicious, delectatable, Dahlias and Battenburg perfect colour combo!

What a celebration, now please Mother Nature, hold off those frosts awhile longer!

Monday 24 September 2012

Nature Mimicking Nature

Yesterday was another fabulous day at Lavenham Farmers' Market.  I love doing this farmers' market.  I recently received some business advice that recommended I do more weddings and events then I would no longer need to do farmers' markets.  I must confess I was a little horrified by this.  They are indeed hard work, picking, preparing, bunching and transporting flowers and this always involves both a very late night and an early following morning.  But I think of it as a treat, it is my main opportunity to catch up with other producers and to meet my customers and talk non-stop about flowers for hours on end and to listen and take note of which flowers my customers love and select, so I can learn for future growing seasons.

Today is quite a different day, it's an indoor, quieter day due to the luscious rain we are having here in Suffolk.  I was beginning to become well aware of how dry the garden soil was last week as I mucked, rotavated and prepared beds.  I must also confess to a slight smugness, in that I have actually, for the first year ever, managed to already sow all my planned autmn sown hardy annuals for next year. I have also transplanted most perennials that were getting cramped and my biennial plants (sweet williams, wallflowers and foxgloves) all look healthy but are well and truly in need of this rain. So as the rain continues to fall outside and I am selecting a few photos to update the website I have come across this photo of the beautiful North Norfolk coast. I took this picture last Wednesday during a gorgeous day out, walking the coastal route from Brancaster to Wells, with some added time scheduled in for 'foraging for...' blackberries on the way back home. 

The colours and textures of the scene really struck me and as today's weather couldn't be more different I thought I would use some 'leftover' flowers from yesterday's market to let 'nature mimic nature' and reconstruct the scene in the photo with flowers.  Love-in-a-mist and 'Summer Skies' delphiniums as the sky and amaranthus and 'Frosted Explosion' grass as the sand dune grass.  Et voila I have a virtual beach scene on the desk in front of me as I hear the puddles splash outside!

Friday 21 September 2012

Early Autumn Headdresses

This year I have been asked to do several headdresses for summer weddings and they never fail to look fantastic on brides, bridesmaids and flower girls. Strangely, I have had no requests from grooms as yet!  Come on you metromen, replace those top hats with a headdress laden with sumptuous flowers, you know it makes sense!

Now anyone involved in the flower industry can't help but be inspired by the work of Mucha.

I have loved his work for many years since the Athena poster days. Alphonse Mucha's use of flowers in his work just makes me want to engross myself in floral art for days on end.

So, suitably inspired, I have made a range of early autumn floral headdresses from flowers blossoming in the garden at the moment.

Zinnias - perfect for Glastonbury or Latitude!

Cosmos, Chrysanths and Frosted Explosion Grass

Asters, Bells of Ireland, Dahlias and Blue Lace Flower

Nasturiums - this one is even edible (a literal meaning for 'eat my hat'!)

Love in a Mist

Gypsophila Paniculata Rosea - Ascot maybe?

... with added 'Sweet Dream' cosmos.

I think, as well as being fantastic for weddings and perfect for festivals, the headdress should be part of day to day wear! A different flower and colour can be chosen to reflect daily moods. This would then help work colleagues and friends judge your mood just by your headgear and they would know how to respond to you on a daily basis without any need for mind reading, perfect!

Now choose a favourite!

Roll on spring headdresses or maybe even late autmn ones.


Tuesday 18 September 2012

The Beauty of An Autumn Garden

The garden had such a wonderful feel to it today, beautiful light, solitude and crisp cool air which I haven’t felt for so long in this garden.  The walls always provide an extra few degrees of heat throughout the summer months with little breeze as respite.  Everything seems to have slowed down beautifully. I’m even under the illusion I am catching up with everything!  So a little time to take stock, do some drying, deadheading, weeding and digging in muck!

I found the first flower on a Fama scabious I sowed from seed earlier this year.  The most exquisite deep purple colour.  The bee obviously loved it too, it seemed to fortuitously appear between me looking at the camera shot and clicking the shutter, trying to out-celeb my scabious hey Mr Bee?!

A few chrysanths to deadhead.

A few amaranthus to hang up, just for fun, I have so many in the garden.

A peep through to a newly rotavated bed this year ... ready and willing!

‘Purity’ cosmos look fresh and delicate in contrast with the age of the peeling paint of an old door rotted from it’s hinges.

A beautiful autumn day!

Monday 17 September 2012

Blue Lace Flower

This flower, also known as didiscus or trachymene, deserves the lovely name of 'blue lace flower', with its pale blue colour and miniature individual flowers gathered on an umbel.  It is a half hardy annual and it is meant to have a delicate fragrance, but I must say I have not detected much of a scent on mine this year.  Last year only a few of my plants survived as they were obviously yet another fav of the rabbits who reduced my seemingly healthy furry stemmed plants, into stumps overnight.  This year the plants have been glorious. 

Although, you are best off cutting them continually to encourage further flowers, I like to leave one or two plants to go through the full process of opening, right through to seed stage as the flowers take on different 'personas' at each stage.  So here are some photos of these little beauties from my cutting garden.

The umbel is just half open, you can see the centre flowers just unfurling.

Completely open and it then forms a lovely dome shape.

After the individual flowers have died back leaving this gorgeous starburst shape like a firework.

Starting to close up with the beautiful pale pink opaque seeds just showing at the tip of each stem.

Getting tighter!

The following pictures show an example of each stage of the flower from bud through to seed, albeit slightly blurred, taken this morning in the glorious early morning dew at around 7am as the sun peeked out between the clouds.