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Alpine Blooms

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Goodbye 2019

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you had a good break and enjoyed flower-filled holidays!

As we said good bye to 2019 I would like to take that little bit of time to tell you about what worked and did not work last year. This is almost like a mental note for myself as well to read through in winter and plan for 2020/2021 flowery summer. So without any further delay here, is what happened in 2019!

The year started with organising the plot and making sure I can actually plant there. Loads of fencing and rabbit proofing as well as weeding and spraying the plot. At about the same time seed buying started (which I have to admit I got carried away with). It is nearly impossible to stop yourself from buying all the pretty things that are available out there. Although it was also a valuable lesson! Plan well and make sure you have time, energy and ability to sow and grow everything that you buy. In 2020 planning process will have to be stricter and will involve less plants and seeds. I have discovered that some seeds loved me and others failed without even coming up. So as much as I would love to grow some things here are the things that will have to be forgotten about for the next few years:

  • Delphinium (too windy, too cold, too hot, oh my gosh this flower might make an appearance on the farm in 2025 or something like this when I have just a little bit more time for them)
  • Asters (I will try and grow them a different way next year as this year their come up rate from seed was very poor)
  • Larkspur (I will only grow a few plants of these guys from seedlings, will definitely not try and grow from seed again)
  • Aquilegia (did not grow at all and the seedlings that I got are struggling as well so these guys are going to go in 2020)
  • Masterworth (yep gone, that is all I have to say about these guys)
  • Celosia (I will try and direct seed them next year as seed trays did not do that great)
  • Craspedia (these guys are super popular and everyone wants them but they did not like my seed trays or soil, I might give them a go a few years later but not in 2020)
  • Gomphrena (grows well but unfortunately super short no matter what I do)
  • Hyacinth (smells amazing, love the colours, too short)
  • Oriental Lilies (only Asiatic lilies will be making an appearance on my farm from now on. Oriental lilies did not do well partially due to late frosts)
  • Solidago (I will try again but with actual plants this time, seeds did not come up for this guy or for Astilbe and I really want to have them both on my farm!)

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Ok now that we are done with the negative clean-up plants I feel much better. It is important to set rules for yourself when farming. I know a local grower that has an impressive list of criteria of what she will grow. This helps with understanding of what sort of farmer are you, what is needed on the farm and what you can achieve in one season. If you stretch yourself a bit too far it will not end well trust me. Your health is not only important to you but also to your plants. If you have no energy to go watering or weeding or even harvesting you will end up with a paddock full of weeds and half dead plants that are not great for sale. And if you will end up selling them most likely clients will not come back for other orders as the product is not of a high quality.

So what seeds do I need to buy in 2020? Or what is the plan? I have decided to contact a local nursery that can grow seedlings for me. This has not happened yet but I am banking on them saying yes. Ever the optimist. I struggled in 2019 to produce healthy seedlings in spring when the weather is so unpredictable and I don’t have enough time to water and look after the little ones. So my plan is to get a nursery to grow the first succession of flowers for me. This way I only need to sow second and third succession in my little tunnel house and by October the weather is usually stable enough to have happy seedlings in the hoop house. 1st succession will go in the ground in October and will start producing in Late October/ November depending on the flowers of course.

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Here are the blooms that worked well with me this year and will definitely make reappearance in 2020/2021 season.

  • Anthirhinum
  • Cornflower
  • Achillia
  • Pansy
  • Carnations
  • Dianthus
  • Larkspur
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Stock
  • Calendula
  • Cineraria
  • Cosmos (will be planting more of the Cupcake mix variety and less of Lemonade;) )
  • Dahlias (going to give them a second go in a different style of growing, watch this space)
  • Foxglove (what a working horse!!!)
  • Echinacea (establishing this year so hopefully will have the blooms next year)
  • Gypsophila
  • Lupins
  • Nigella
  • Pansy
  • Phlox (establishing this year so I am hoping to have them next year )
  • Poppies
  • Scabiosa
  • Strawflower
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnias

And of course I will have a nice big selection of bulbs

  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Fresias
  • Anemones
  • Ranunculus (will give them 1 more go in the tunnel house)
  • Gladioli
  • Asiatic Lilies
  • Lily of the valley
  • Muscari
  • Hyacinths (but only the ones that I already have, no new varieties are going in)

All these pretties are also going to be supported by foliage and shrubs like roses, lilacs and other bits and pieces.

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I can’t wait to get planning and start buying some more roses and seeds and bulbs. Autumn can be very expensive as well as very exciting in my household. It is like all Christmases come at once. 2019 has been a year of trial and error but at the same time it has been a very successful year for me. It taught me a thing or two and it made me realise that I can’t have the fully functional working farm straight away. It needs time, money, pest control and dedication to become a full time job with the income to match. So for now I am limiting myself and getting the basics right.

I had so much pleasure working with so many different people in 2019 and would like to say a big thank you to all the florists, brides and general public that contacted me, asked questions and bought my flowers! It has been a blast and I am not going to slow down! Thank you again for a great year and here is to many more flower filled years to come!