Tag Archives | conditioning

Icelandic Poppies

I cannot let May come to an end without
a blog about my favourite flower of the month, the enigmatic
Icelandic Poppy. A flower that looks so delicate and ethereal that
any kind of vase life seems a far-fetched notion. Unlike other
members of its family, they can give you 5 -7 days of breathtaking
beauty in a vase.



They also have a good 6 week flowering
period if you keep on top of the picking.



 Once they have finished flowering, collect the seed and sow it fresh, sometime next month is ideal. This
will give you much better germination rates than buying it in, which
of course you will have to do initially.

I recommend Chiltern Seeds for a good
range of varieties of Papaver nudicaule. My favourites are 'Meadow
Pastels' for soft, muted shades of apricot, coral, cream and lemon –
great for weddings.




If you want a bit more punch then
'Champagne Bubbles' fits the bill, with the most beautiful shade of
orange, salmon pink, daffodil yellow and white.



 Pick the flowers just as they are
opening and sear the ends in boiling water for 20 seconds.




I will be saving the seed off these next month and selling it fresh at our Saturday shop.





‘Coolbot’ is certainly cool!

We have finally got our coolroom going just in the nick of time. We have insulated out a storage room, and installed a split unit air conditioner (thanks to Paul 'Woody'). 


Coolbot widescreen


We have then rigged up a device from the USA called a 'coolbot' (www.storeitcold.com), which makes the air con unit into a chiller to give you some extra cooling power. It's a very small gadget that only uses a tiny amount of electricity itself. For example we can easily get 4 degrees now (down from 18), although we are currently using it around 9-10 degrees.

Sounds too good to be true doesn't it? All the details are on the coolbot website, with lots of practical advice about insulation which is very important. Maybe it can't work miracles in every environment, but it certainly is for us. Many thanks to Ron Khosla for some timely advice during installation and customer support.




Ashley Pearson


Tulip Time

I have mixed feelings about tulips, On the one hand they are essential to the spring palette and their range of shapes and colours offers such versatility to March and April bouquets. A quick peruse of a Parkers or Bloms bulb catalogue offers such an overwhelming choice that you will never be able to consider buying the rather small headed, boring tulip bunches in the shops again.

On the other hand, tulip time can be an anxious few weeks for the flower grower. I grow a lot of them in the polytunnel for an earlier 'forced' crop. Grown under cover also encourages much longer stems. However, it is always a gamble. If we have a cool wet spring than the tulips are sheltered from the rain and are ready in the correct early, mid and late order. If we get a hot spell, like a couple of weeks ago than they tend to all come at once. This is often difficult from a sales point of view but I have been fortunate this year with lots of early weddings.



I treat my tulips like annuals, they are planted densely and shallowly so that they can just be tugged out of the ground and the bulb snipped off. This rather dramatic act always makes my customers squeal! If I do not harvest the flowers than the bulb is lifted and dried for replanting the following autumn. We put them in the field using the potato planter on the tractor, along with scented narcissi and dutch iris.

Some of my favourite varieties for cutting include the viridaflora type like Spring Green, Greenland and Dolls Minuet.



I love all the voluptuous peony tulips we have used a lot of Montreaux in bridal bouquets this year. For a contrasting shape the lily-flowered China Pink is a wonderfully tall elegant tulip for large vases. 



I enjoy tulips arranged with a bit of blossom from the orchard. I always tend to put them in the vase slightly short because I know they will carry on growing and look just right after a couple of days.