September brought us the lovely hot weather we had been waiting all summer for. A lot of the flowers loved it - but it was the last straw in a year of peculiar weather for some! It had a peculiar effect on some of the dahlias - it turned a yellow pom a (lovely) peach colour, and a one that was cream, started producing very pink blooms! It also brought out the tallest sunflower I have ever grown. I suspect an error in packing at my seed supplier as that was not the dark red flower that I ordered!
I provided some beautiful flowers for an intimate wedding mid month. Lovely light tones, with a pop of orange added a hint of Autumn. The switch back to the damp weather mid month signaled that the end of my growing season was nigh. A lot of plants that were clinging on to life, gave up the ghost, so I have now stopped the retail bunches at Glebelands and Teifi Blooms. I still have the dahlias and a few lovely autumnal beauties producing some lovely flowers, so orders are welcome, but limited!
My mind has now turned to clearing and sorting the beds for the winter. I will leave a lot of growth standing until the spring. This helps protect the plant over the winter, and it also provides a home for wee beasties to overwinter. I do however want to re-jig the layout of some of the beds so some will be cut down and moved, and other new ones planted. The beds will be mulched with leaves and well rotted muck from the sheds to feed them for next year and to protect the soil. Easier said than done with a tiny baby (a rapidly growing baby!) but the Winter is long, it will all get done somehow!
A month when I should have been really busy, I was relaxing with my new baby - and I loved it! As odd as it felt trying to ignore the garden that was overflowing with flowers, it's been a really lovely time getting to know this brand new human. But my Mum and Sister kindly helped out by 'dead heading' and taking buckets of flowers home with them, so that when I started cutting again, I'd have plenty of fresh blooms to snip at. That said I did take a few lovely orders this month. One was for a lady who was celebrating her 99th Birthday. I had the pleasure of delivering the bouquet to the lady herself and all I can say is if I am still going at 99, I'd be happy to look half as good!
Mid month we welcomed a gardening club run by Kerry Turner to the garden. It was a lovely evening, with several people having a snip at the flowers and taking away some lovely bunches as a trial 'Pick Your Own' evening We then had tea and food on the lawns overlooking Carningli. 'Pick your own' is definitely something I would love to expand on next year so watch this space!
Pests have been prolific in the garden this year. The dahlias have been under attack from earwigs that seen to have had a very good year (see photo of a ruined dahlia)! And the broccoli was virtually wiped out by caterpillars. As we don't use pesticides, we have to think of different ways to deal with the little blighters. earwig traps are useful stuff pots with straw and then mount them on canes. the bugs crawl into them to sleep and then you can empty them out far, far away from the flower beds! I also pop organza bags over the buds of certain blooms if I'm growing specific flowers for an event.
Whilst sat on the sofa (typically under a sleeping baby) I have been busy shopping for perennial plants. The quite frankly bizarre weather we have had this year reinforced my view that perennial plants are the way forward. Some annuals had such a hard time establishing this spring and I had a fair few failures. There was a period of time in May when my garden seemed bare, but my Mother in Laws borders looked great! So I raided her garden for stems to trial and compiled a list of must haves. So I'm really looking forward to next year already.
The month was rounded off with the discovery of 'the worlds most enormous ever' carrot. Rhodri (chief carrot grower) was thrilled!
Well wasn't July a delight!! And that is all I will say about the abysmal weather! In actual fact, the garden really benefited from a decent spell of rain and is looking really well at the moment. Plants like the phlox and limonium that were really short have shot up and are finally usable!
The Dahlias are (mostly) hitting their stride, with some lovely new varieties being grown here this year, as well as some tried and tested favourites. The sunflowers are starting to bloom, although they don't look as good as they did last year. But there is still time for them to pull their socks up. The wild carrot is flourishing in the wild bits of the farm and I am loving the delicate touch they give to arrangements. It's up there as one of my favourite wild flowers
We were also out over the last couple of weeks counting butterflies as part of The Big Butterfly count. The boys loved taking part and we saw an amazing amount of butterflies. One day we saw 5 varieties on the scabious at the same time! We also had a Hummingbird Moth visit several times (see the blurry photo). Seeing the biodiversity in the garden multiplying makes me feel like I'm doing something right.
But July was really spent bracing ourselves for the arrival of baby Lewis #3 who arrived safely on the 24th. She has slotted into our little madhouse beautifully, and her big brothers (and parents!) adore her. I have had a lovely couple of weeks off (sort of) and am looking forward to getting back out with the snips again soon.
This is the first in a series of monthly(ish) blogs I'll be writing to keep you updated about about the flower garden, and to probably complain about the weather!
I will try and keep it as light and as short as possible - nobody wants a dry old lecture about things that only gardeners will care about!
As promised - here comes the weather moan! May and June have proved to be hot and dry. No rain for almost 6 weeks! This followed a wet and miserable March and April. This has made for some tricky growing conditions. A lot of the planting out was delayed, then were fried by the heat! Plants struggled to get established and has resulted in lots of things being stunted - the phlox is a major prizewinner! Flowering and barely 6 inches tall (see photo below)! But other things are flourishing and flowering earlier than last year so swings and roundabouts
Thats about if for this thrilling instalment! Only to say thank you to everyone that has placed orders with us this spring. We had a great opening to the year. Also, we have started a new honesty box at the fabulous Glebelands Farm Shop in St Dogmaels. so if you fancy some flowers and some lovely organic fruit and veg - pop on down!