Hello my dear flower loving friends, well how are you all doing?
Are you looking forward to going out? I’m still waiting to have my first jab so it will be a little while here I think before I can hit the shops. Anyhoo, I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So, plans for this year… Well I’m not sure if you know or not but our house sale fell through before Christmas which means we are still here in Flitwick with a garden that we have sort of outgrown but are determined to make the most of. Actually I’m rather relishing the challenge! You see we’ve planned to change a lot of the planting here at ABOW hq. The garden at The Haven is a wrap around Victorian garden, part walled, mostly hedges. And is planted up with lots of cottage garden staples. This year that is changing as we make way for a more contemporary planting scheme with influences of prairie style planting. No longer will I be filling cutting beds with dahlias (although I will still grow a few).
I love change! Change is good and it’s what moves everything forward. Thinking outside the box and starting your own trend has always been at the forefront of A Bunch Of Wild. Never one to follow the crowd I’ve opted for minimal perennial planting. What I mean by this is we are just choosing five key plants (per season & overlapping) that will also pair with lots of grasses. This is going to make my arrangements different from the norm, at least for a while anyway and that is the challenge I am very much looking forward to. To exploring new textures and tones and working with different ingredients.
My top perennials to grow here in the summer (we have free draining soil) are perovskia (Russian Sage), monarda, veronicastrums & echinacea pallida, teamed with grasses and flowering herbs.
Roses are in tubs as our soil is too poor and no amount of mulching our ground ever seems to do enough. I just adore roses, I could never give them up, they are my one true flower love! Lupins and foxgloves grow very happily and set themselves freely so I shall be leaving them be. Now as for the annuals, I shall only be sowing a few firm favourites and these will be worked into the main garden beds (I am doing away with specific cutting beds this year). I am growing two ‘new to me’ types of cosmos- one a cup and saucer variety that I’d never heard of called ‘cupcakes blush’ and the other promises to be the most beautiful blush peach- a colour I always struggle to find and is called ‘daydream’. I love cosmos for their ethereal charm they bring and they last well into November. My other favourites are cornflowers ‘black button’, ammi- which I have overwintered, phlox ‘creme brûlée’, Helichrysum (the strawflower ones) for drying and scabious ‘fata morgana’.
We also have lots of very well established shrubs and plants that I use, from an old wisteria that I make wreath bases from, honeysuckle, fig, magnolia grandiflora, lilac and weeping cherry + lots of lavender.
My colours will remain fairly muted this year as I still favour the softer shades.
As for dahlias- well I have kept a few ‘cafe au lait’ obvs! My favourite ‘penhill watermelon’ that never fails to amaze me. But I am switching mostly to bee friendly varieties so I am now favouring the ‘Bishop’ varieties. They have a subtle elegance unlike their big showy cousins + the bees love them. I have a beautiful one called ‘Bishop of Dover’ which is a creamy white with a pink tint and aubergine coloured stems- a beautiful contrast! I shall be adding more this year but all the dahlias will be planted in pots this so I can move them around.
I am currently organising some workshops for florists at Howbury Flower Farm in Bedfordshire for later this year. And I shall also be looking to start my workshops for one-to-ones and small group bookings very soon! I am just waiting for my regular venue to open with the all clear before I make any firm bookings.
If you have any vouchers for workshops with me please note that there is no sell by date on them. As soon as it is safe to hold them (and once I have had my jabs) we can start booking them in!
Right, it’s off to the greenhouse now to sow the last of my seeds.
Enjoy the rest of your week!