I am not going to lie, patience is not my strongest virtue. I like instant results. When I decide upon something I want it all done and dusted to perfection (another of my little quirks – perfectionist through and through) as quickly and efficiently as possible. Now it is becoming very clear to myself that these are traits that don’t lend themselves to being a flower farmer and gardener.
If I’m bluntly honest everything seems relentless at the moment. We tried to have a break over the Christmas season, but inevitably when your work is literally right outside your back door stepping back is hard. Tucking into turkey sandwiches often involved conversations about rabbit fencing, workshop configurations and where the best spot is for the polytunnel. It seemed even the weather was against us having a break, high winds meant even on Christmas Day we were out rescuing plastic tunnelling – the not so glamorous side of flower farming!
2016 was hard – we put so much effort into our little patch in Lancashire, only to walk away mid-July when it was just bursting into its Summer bounty of abundance, colour and texture. The rest of the year consisted of barely no flowers and just sheer hard physical work to get some of our Northumberland land under control and ready to “go” as it were. By the middle of January my patience really was wearing thin!
Someone recently asked me on social media how it was all going and I replied that everyday seems to be full of frustrations and small victories. Yes there is the waking up to find that yes it is indeed still January and therefore cold and dark, or some irksome creature has eaten the top of your anemones off, or your hollyhocks have got rust; but in the midst of the daily struggles there are little glimmers which cause you to have a little smile to yourself, pick your muck-covered wellingtons up and keeping going. It is often the simple little things that make you most content: catching mice tempted by the lure of peanut butter, sweet pea seedlings sprouting through or a giant pile of muck being delivered to go all over your flower beds.
As I write this we are into February and Spring is on the horizon, pushing us on with its great promises. The days draw out as the light remains with us a little longer each day. Bulbs poke their heads above the parapet, checking that it is safe to emerge from the slumber. Soon there will be flowers for us to cut and amazing opportunities for us to take hold of as we start our first full season of being flower farmers. Here is to a few less frustrations and a few more small victories!