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Everything is growing like crazy!
So here we are at the end of May. I feel like it’s been sunny and rainy and unexpectedly cold some days, but sweltering in the polytunnel other days. It felt wintery when it began, but now we are firmly transitioned to summer - maybe? The garden is really lush, lots of green everywhere, and plenty of spurts of colour also.
The ranunculus finally finished flowering this month in the tunnel - and I learned something very interesting from this podcast - they go dormant when the soil temp is 15C. Given that they are not too fond of frost, that leaves you with a short window for growing them outside in Spring. But they do grow well in the tunnel, so I’m happy that I have a group order for more placed with the Flower Farmers of Ireland - you gotta plan ahead!
We spent some time in a forest that I planted back in 1995 - it’s full of bluebells - I didn’t plant them - but it’s adjacent to an old growth oak forest, so maybe the seeds have migrated from there. At any rate, wonderful to see. The gorse was redolent with the scent of coconut and thick with bees. Plenty of stitchwort too, the white petals really stand out against the green. Soon there will be foxgloves everywhere. It just goes to show what Mother Nature can do if left to her own devices.
I ran two fun workshops at the Refill Mill - the first was a sustainable gardening course. Lots of great questions and discussion, tea and cake, and participants went home with lots of plants. We even had an attendee from Dublin, who very sustainably came by train!
We repeated the Jam Jar workshop last week - once again people went home with lots of flowers. What was striking for me was that people were keen to sit around and chat for over an hour after they had made their arrangement, I’m delighted that we are building community around tea, cake and sustainable ideas. Thanks to Eibhlin @therefillmill for being such an accommodating host!
Just to mention some of the flower stars of May - the alliums are looking magnificent - I highly recommend that you plant some later in the year - before the frost comes. They will reappear year after year, and look great I think with some ornamental grasses. Bees love them too!
The nigella is going crazy in the tunnel, and self seeded ones are on the verge of blooming outside too. If you are a bit of a messy gardener, you only have to plant this annual once.
I have some upcoming workshops - I’m very excited that I’m collaborating with John Daly’s on a Flower Bar. What’s that I hear you ask? Well it’s an event (or workshop) where I bring loads of freshly cut locally grown flowers, and you come and make yourself at least one hand tied bouquet. I’ll give some instruction on how to put one together, and if you are really not feeling creative, just point at what you like, and I’ll make it up for you. If you’d like to bring a vase, that’s fine too. A great opportunity to meet like minded people and have a relaxed social chat over flowers. Sunday 19th June 6-8pm, €35. There’s a special early bird price of €30 at the moment. Click here to book your place
I have two NEW workshops at The Refill Mill- Cooking with Edible Flowers, Wed 15th June 6:30pm - 8pm, €25. We’ll taste lots of flowers, and see how they can make any dish look way more appetising (and instagrammable). I’ll have sweet and savoury dishes to decorate and sample, and you’ll go home with a plant.
Have you ever worried about what goes into the cosmetics that you slather onto your skin? Well, Eibhlin and I are going to teach you how to look great, feel safer and save money at this event: Make your own natural cosmetics, Wed 29th June 6:30pm - 8pm, €35. Also at the Refill Mill. You’ll go home with lots of samples, recipes and there will probably be tea, cake and chat. There will definitely be tea and cake, you’ll provide the chat! DM The Refill Mill or Big Sky Flowers to book your place
I’m going to leave you with a banger of a tune, and encourage you to get outside as much as possible - stop and really look at all the wild flowers, and the cultivated ones, wait for a bee to visit and watch them enjoying them. Breathe in lots of air, oxygenated by all the plants that are bursting with leafy greenness. Take off your shoes and socks and feel the grass under your feet. Let’s make the most of the light and warmth of the summer!