2 July 2021
It’s fair to say that the butterfly ranunculus and the clarkia owe us nothing – as flower crops go (and in our very limited experience of growing flowers) these workhorses chucked out bucketfuls of beautiful flowers for a solid 4 – 6 weeks. We were tagged in so many fantastic photos of the clarkia in people’s homes – it would appear it stole your hearts as much as it stole ours. The pink and blue cynoglossum was totally beautiful and also provided us with lots of delicate stems. Feedback from customers suggests that it was more prone to being a bit floppy on arrival but perked straight back up after a snip and a drink. We had such great quantities of clarkia and cynoglossum that we were thrilled to be able to include them both in the Petalon bouquets for 2 whole weeks in June.
All the clarkia and ranunculus beds have now been pulled and in their place we have a beautiful (we hope) terracotta sunflower. The spacing for sunflowers is greater than the clarkia and the butterfly ranunculus so it covers more ground (the seed quantities were also incredibly generous and we got about 4 times more seed than the packet suggested, and it all germinated so…. lots of sunflowers!).
We feel a bit guilty about the sweet peas. We tore them down in their prime but in the hotter weather they just weren’t coping in transit, whereas they were fine for the first 4 weeks. There were other crops that needed the space and we had to be pragmatic, even if it felt wrong. The silver lining is that the team here all had a picking party and took home as many as they could carry before we chopped the lot down. In its place we have celosia and chrysanthemums. The celosia will be ready in August (we hope) and the chrysanthemums will be more like October.
The snapdragons continue to capture all our hearts. The stems are finer now but the smell and the flowers are as stunning as ever. We will definitely be doing more snapdragons next season. We have a small trial patch of snapdragons that are about to bloom outside but the cold spring has killed off a fair few of them – all part of the trial (it’s fine, we’re fine).
The verbascum came into bloom and WOW. Tall, papery stems of rhubarb and custard spires. Sadly, the petals dropped everywhere and that was before we even attempted the transport test. The reality is, it’s the type of thing we will get complaints about, as we just don’t expect it to look good once it arrives in people’s homes – it just doesn’t suit being cut and transported. Unfortunately it’s not something we’ll be able to include in our offering, as beautiful and unique as it was.
The phlox finally got tall enough and is going down a storm. These particular varieties were some of the first flowers we knew we wanted to grow ourselves as they aren’t something you can get on the Dutch auction and it’s such a sought after colour for floral designers that it was something we wanted to offer our customers too. Beautiful coffee, caramel tones with cherry freckles and flecks of lilac, it really is rather special.
We had a huge backlog of unhappy seedlings waiting to be planted out but with the cold, dry spring it was impossible to work the beds and even if we had got them in, the cold would have finished them off. Finally, everything is now planted out and every bed is full! We are at a little pause in the season where our big hitters have finished and the next wave aren’t quite ready yet but our selection boxes mean we can put together a variety of the stems that are available and looking great, so our customers can sample all kinds of unique flowers. We also launched a trial of our Field Flowers subscriptions in June, offering our customers weekly deliveries of these ‘best on the farm’ boxes, offering a seasonal flower fix until the end of the season, which we expect to be in early October. You can sign up here.
The agrostemma or ‘corncockle’ is just hitting its stride and is absolutely beautiful – papery white petals with beautiful markings. We’re just doing some transport tests to see how open the flowers can be and still travel safely but we hope these will be available to buy soon. Hopefully the larkspur and the rudbeckia will be next with cosmos and zinnias not far behind – lots to look forward to!Back to blog