I decided to take a break from shovelling muck, lifting and dividing perennials, pruning roses and sowing annuals to play with hellebores. They took a hammering back in February with that cold snap but after trimming off the damaged leaves and stems they are looking better than ever. I have given them a feed with some of our chicken poo, turbo charged, home made compost and if I get round to it I really should do some hand pollinating and save some seed for the new woodland area we are creating. So many of my favourite flowers for cutting are shade lovers; in an open field shade is a rather precious commodity. We have a line of large beech trees underplanted with nettles, after four years I am ready for a change…
Anyway, back to the hellebores! A couple of years ago I bought a job lot of these little lovelies from Hugh Nunn at Harvington Hellebores in Evesham. I had seen an article about his hellebores in Gardens Illustrated and was seduced by the beautiful pictures of them, he has been breeding them for twenty years to get some really bright distinctive colours. I am now the proud owner of single and double- flowered varieties in yellow, white, apricot, picotee, pink, red and black. For arranging they can be tricky, I usually wait until they are forming their seed heads. At this stage they hold very well and will be happy in a vase for at least a week. If you want to enjoy them before that they either need to be cut very short and seared or floated in a bowl of water. I could not resist displaying them on my rather weary whippet Violet, I think she is a bit fed up of being my flower model!
Our polytunnel is now bursting with spring bulbs so the mail order and our Saturday shop are open for business again. We are offering more delivery days this year (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) and a couple of new ways to enjoy our flowers: 'Best of the Bunch' and 'DIY Cut Flowers in a Box'.
'Best of the Bunch' will be a pure and simple bunch of one of our favourites, starting with our anemones and followed by sweet peas, peonies, dahlias and whatever else is in abundance and looking gorgeous.
The 'DIY Cut Flowers in a Box' will be a box full of foliage, filler and focal flowers for people to arrange themselves to have a few arrangements around the house or perhaps for an event.
This week sees the start of the wedding season and my first growing course. We are fully booked for March but still have a few places on the April dates.