Summer ebbs and flows in all its glory, the sun shines and the breeze is gentle, the garden sings and dances with colour and harmony – well in theory anyway! It is rather disheartening when you look out in the middle of August and all you see is green upon green with not a hot pink or fire crackle of orange in site. Leaving our flowers behind in Lancashire and inheriting a garden that seems rather reluctant to bare any colour has been demoralising and hard, yet we persevere!
The distinct lack of colour, form, shape and texture forces you to look beyond the surface and search deeper for the natural beauty in the garden. When you do discover something hiding or lurking under an overgrown shrub or rescue a perennial smothered in bindweed, it forces you to stop in your tracks and take note, truly appreciating its wonder – whether it be giant baubles of the purest white agapanthus bobbing in the breeze, a vast spectrum of pink shades in a mound of Japanese anemones, or fiery firework shoots of crocosmia.
Declaring war and making beds…
Rule number 1 of being a flower farmer = rabbits are the enemy! We are learning quickly how little creatures you once thought cute and fluffy are now the definitive enemy! Finding your superbly healthy and bushy looking chrysanthemums devoured in one foul swoop, your David Austin Queen of Sweden rose nibbled away at or your dahlias, which you are desperately trying to nurture through the season, demolished overnight is immensely frustrating and disheartening. Hopefully rabbit fencing isn’t too far away! We are getting desperate as our biennial seedlings are begging for room and space out of their pots and in the ground.
There are encouraging developments though on the Ginger House Garden patch as swathes of grass are being strimmed off, to be replaced by flower beds. We are going for the ‘no dig’ method so the first job has been to mark out beds and cover with cardboard and compost to kill off the grass and weeds underneath; it is a slow process but hopefully will repay us in the long run – and save our backs!
As the season rolls on before us we are busy planning ahead for 2017 and hopefully some truly British homegrown flowers coming out of the Ginger House Garden patch! One of the biggest challenges has been trying to work out how much to sow; when you have gone from a tiny square raised bed to thinking commercially on over an acre of land, switching your mindset is challenging to say the least – somehow we don’t think five little seedlings of each flower will cut it! But as we place our bulbs orders and start sowing all our hardy annuals there is a sense of expectation in the air, we finally have the opportunity to grow all things we never had the space to grow and the future is getting very exciting as there is the promise of beautiful blooms to be grown, cut and arranged by our own fair hands here in Northumberland – the wonderful place we now call home!