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A January & February Vase and Seedlings in the Greenhouse
What is Flowering Now?
Even in January and February there can be days where it’s warm enough for the honey bees to be out foraging for pollen. If this is the case we will quickly open the top of our hive and put in two bags of fondant. The bees are always delighted and get to work immediately. Fortunately, I also have winter flowers open on the rosemary and Sarcococca, which smell divine every time I go outside. Picking a bunch of flowers is quite a challenge at this time of year and if I’m providing flowers for somewhere like a restaurant, then I will need to buy something like alstroemerias and chrysanthemums which go with all sorts of foliage. Today I have added some branches of beech with leaves still attached, hazel with catkins just opening, variegated holly, some sprouting buddleia with its seed heads, a sprig of bamboo and of course some fragrant Sarcococca. Lots of interesting textures, shapes and contrasting colour to illustrate what is happening at this time of year. I like to keep the stems long for the shapes and spaces they create. It always looks more elegant too.
Have a look at what’s in your garden and the hedgerows. You will be surprised at what there is. I would love to see what you create so send us a photo. You don’t need more than 3 or 5 stems of each to maintain some balance. I really need to plant some more evergreen shrubs for foliage. During the spring and summer foliage isn’t so important but it does add depth.
In the Greenhouse in January
In the greenhouse, I have pots of mini narcissi and Muscari just breaking through the surface. Anemones are filling the front bed along the sunny side, and pelargoniums and other tender pots being stored in there are hanging on. The seedlings desperately need potting on and getting ready for planting out. I’m new to growing annuals and find it quite terrifying. The thought of losing any plant is more than I can bear to think of. Hence I hold back, probably to the detriment of the plants. My sister is the family expert on annuals, so I shall be seeking her advice. At the moment, I have a selection of seedlings for summer flowering, including Ammi, larkspur, foxgloves, Daucus carota, stocks, cornflowers, sweet peas, scabious. These were sown in October. I don’t have a big growing area so plant the flowers in groups and short lines. I’m also looking at buying seeds and my head is spinning with the choices available with flowers and vegetables, from the common, to the rare and unusual. All of them beautiful and so full of promise.
If you are thinking about sowing flowers for the summer, look at perennials, hardy annuals, and half hardies. Think about where you are located, your aspect, soil conditions, local climate and space available, and just have a go! There are some fantastic seed companies out there as well as your local garden centre. Support them all. And remember you really don’t need to use the whole packet. Sow a few and leave some for successional sowing throughout the year.
January & February Jobs To Do:
- Clean, divide and store dahlias
- Clean greenhouse
- Pot hardy annuals
- Buy seeds and order dahlias (including that Alstroemeria you’ve been hanging your nose over for the last two years)
- Winter prune trees and shrubs
- Buy and plant more foliage shrubs
- Prepare more beds
When you purchase locally you aren’t just buying something, you are investing in local business and your community. There is a multiplier effect which means that every £1 you spend with local suppliers has the effect of up to £4 in terms of impact. That’s potentially quite powerful. So please don’t forget the flowers and think about buying local whether its for blooms, seeds or plants. Buying local and cutting down on air miles is achievable and can be done for so much, its not easy but as I always say ‘baby steps’.
If you'd like to find out more about La-Di Dardy Flowers, you can find them on Instagram or go to https://www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk/members/la-di-dardy-flowers