Christmas 2018

It may seem funny to write about Christmas in February, but it is actually nice to go back and reflect. I had assumed that after November, things would quiet down and I would be left with loads of free time. I am thankful to report of the opposite being true! December was one of my busiest months yet and I LOVED IT.

What was really exciting was the variety of projects I got to work on, the first being a holiday bloggers lunch at The Pointer in Brill…

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I loved making the giant wreath for the window (turns out I love wreaths) and the smaller version for the place settings made from willow and dried flowers. The centre piece I wanted to make sure was bold and beautiful but low enough and small enough to enable conversations and food to be shared.

I also had the great pleasure of decorating The Hundred of Ashendon for the holidays. A favourite local of mine I wanted to make sure I I made the displays striking but also very natural.

I love the swags I did for The Hundred of Ashendon

I love the swags I did for The Hundred of Ashendon

I also ran four wreath workshops this year and they were all amazing. I love Christmas and spreading the Christmas cheer and it was so amazing to help people get creative and think about wreaths differently. Using lots of flowers grown on the farm and dried, I tried also to incorporate lots of different greenery to make every wreath special and unique. Each one of these made me massively happy and I hope it made the participants happy as well.

Just a few of the wreaths created during our winter workshops

Just a few of the wreaths created during our winter workshops

And then there were all the made to order wreaths! I’m not going to lie, I love making a wreath, I really do. Each one takes about an hour and each one is made special for the person who ordered it. No two were the same.

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So yes, February is a strange time to talk about Christmas but it is also really good to look back to see everything that was accomplished. Things are finally a little quieter here but I can’t wait for it to get busy again, which won’t be long. Seeds need to be sown and that flower field isn’t going to expand itself!

2018 Can it almost be over?

Whoops-Did it again. Too long between blog posts. Its life. It gets in the way and there is never enough time.

But today I am making time. You see my season is coming to an end, and I thought this was a good time to make a review in photos. So I put together pictures of my flower field this growing season, and again it almost made me cry. What a year!

Winter was very long to end and it has come back rather too soon. Although unseasonable warm today we suffered frosts at the end of September, ending my dahlia season about a month before I expected to. The flowers are all coming to an end and now I am digging them up, covering them over, and expanding. It is quite exciting really. And I love the physicality of it. But I am sad to see it end.

But then I remember, I still have WREATHS and I love a good wreath. I have really enjoyed crafting my own willow bases and and can’t wait for our wreath workshops in December. Not to mention making custom made wreaths for all of you. So yes, it is the end of the season, but not really. January, then I can rest.

Its Been Too Long!

Ah! I promised myself I would never let it go longer than a month between posts and look! Its been two! A lot has changed in two months. And I am really excited to be in this moment right now thinking about it.

An arrangement from our last workshop-loving all the colour!

An arrangement from our last workshop-loving all the colour!

First off I closed the shop. Im not sad. I loved the shop, it was amazing to me and to a handful of other people. But it took up a lot of energy and time. Energy and time better spent developing Howe Farm Flowers and making a brand and name for myself. So I have re-directed all that energy and I am sooooo glad that I did. It is nice to focus on just one thing. And already I have seen the positive impact. Perhaps when Howe Farm Flowers is better known I will think about opening the shop again, but for now I quite like welcoming people to the farm instead for them to see what is happening up close. 

So instead I have been doing workshops and making the farm more available for people to visit. PYO flowers has really taken off and every weekend I welcome people to take time out to enjoy the outdoors, share space with some buzzy bees and immerse themselves in nature. 

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And the Flower Mornings are proving more enjoyable than I could have imagine. I love spending time telling people what I know about flowers and watching them be creative. But really, what I love the most, is sharing the flowers. I love watching people leave with armfuls of blooms and feeling inspired. And with a smile on their face. I love to make people happy.

Coming up I am hoping to do some wreath making classes in the winter and pretty soon 26 more tones of compost will be delivered so I can start expanding the cutting field. I will be at Haddenham community market this Saturday and I am always available to make arrangements for collection or delivery. I am quite excited about my little business. It brings a lot of joy. 

The end and the beginning

I thought I was finished with my flower field about a month ago. In my mind I had laid 12 rows of compost which was approximately half of one side of the one acre plot. (otherwise known as a quarter acre) I still had plenty of soil but I thought this is a good stopping point for this season. Then Martin came along and applied actual math and measurements to the situation and it looked like no, I was not done. Not even that close.

But NOW, now I am done. Although I still have three quarters of an acre to finish, but that can start happening in the Autumn. This is good for now. Technically I probably should have done another row, but to hell with math, I need to get on with life. Here is a little video of my progression over the months. It made me cry a little...

And now I can get onto the business of growing flowers! I've been a seed sowing fool this last month but it has been so cold things are slow to start. Today I put some gladioli into the poly tunnel...

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and planted out my ranunculus I started inside. I am actually hopeful they will grow! (I have had bad luck with these beauties in the past) Roses have been pruned, they just need to be fed, and I can get started planting the very fine shrubs I bought a couple of weeks ago. 

So all in all I am feeling pretty good! Today.

 

California Dreaming

Recently we were fortunate enough to have escaped February blues with a trip to sunny California. It looked like this...

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We had an amazing time. Blue skies, short sleeves, walks on the beach and invaluable family time with dads, grand-dads, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. 

But truth be told I was excited to get home. Time with my family is always amazing, but I couldn't wait to get into the green house. I wanted to see how the seeds I sowed before holiday were fairing and get cracking on my spring sowing. Days would be longer which surely would mean warmer as well. Right?

Well, not so much. The view from my greenhouse is a lot colder and whiter than I would like...

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It's a bit disappointing. I was hoping to spend my baby free time finishing my last row of laying compost in the flower field and sowing sowing sowing. Instead I have spent most of my free time hauling water to the cows, making sure they have had enough to drink. 

Its ok though. Perhaps this means we will be awarded with a cracking summer. And when it does warm up and blue skies come again, we will appreciate it all the more. And when I see my first seedlings spring up, I'm going to do a little dance and thank them. And appreciate them for the valuable things they are. A sign that Spring is surely on its way. 

The never ending pile...

For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook, remember when I got my compost delivered and it looked like this?

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It was really exciting. And very daunting. Today, as I wheeled what must have been my thousandth wheel barrow load of compost, I was beginning to feel like this mountain of dirt is never going to go away. It is still taller than myself and when I look at it from a distance it doesn't look like it has changed what-so-ever.

So I took another photo, with the addition of Oscar who you can just about make out. Now my pile of dirt looks like this.

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Looking at this image I feel so much better. There is a mighty difference! I am sure in no time my mountain of dirt will be gone. And it will be the source of thousands of beautiful cut flowers. Humble beginnings.