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  • Writer's pictureFrancesca Sharp

Sunshine on a rainy day

Crocuses in the sun with a busy bee collecting pollen

February ended with a heatwave and March has started with its winds that doth blow, let's just hope no snow !

So the sun pushed the seedlings, bulbs, plants and buds along, then the rain stopped them in their tracks.

There were bees buzzing in the garden and a very busy one with it's legs full of early pollen in my crocuses, but they have all gone back to bed for now.

The sun is out as I write but it's cold, a little nature confusion going on. In the garden the euphorbia robbiae are starting to unfurl. The wulfenii's have been out since the sun arrived, with the lovely acid green flowers, their smell, which is a bit foxy wafts through the corner they are in and I do have to double check that there isn't actually a fox in the garden.

The hellebores have been quietly going about their business, with their shy nodded heads, they have been out for a while now and are at the stage when they are better for cutting as they are much hardier. They are a bit precocious on the conditioning front as they can wilt really quickly.

To enjoy a vase of hellebores in the house simply cut them to the required stem length, cut a small vertical slit in the stem, sear them for 20 seconds in boiling water and then stand them up to their necks in cold water. Leave them for as long as you can, then they are ready for arranging or you could just use the heads, floating face up in a shallow dish of water, so you can really appreciate their beauty.

Hellebores with their nodded heads in the rain

Busy in the garden

I have been busy gardening, in the cutting patch all of the beds have been re designed, what were the large beds of narcissi and tulips, are now ready for seed sowing. I have dug out all of the bulbs and replanted in to other borders around the main garden.

There are still some which I have missed and they are now pushing through the mulch, however, there is now enough room to sow seeds around them, as I prefer to sow directly. I will be putting some fleece over the beds to warm the soil up ready for sowing.

One of the herbaceous borders in the main garden

In the main garden the perennials and biennials are shooting, I love plants that spread their roots on their own or ones that self seed profusely.

Lot's of self seeded honesty and feverfew have taken over several of the borders along with fennel, ox eye daisies, campion, centranthus, canterbury bells and annuals such as cerinthes, euphorbia oblongata and calendulas to name but a few and all less sowing for me !

The euphorbias on the main foliage border are beginning to show their flowers and the Ribes (flowering currants) are showing pink blobs of flowers ready to cascade.

There are early narcissi, muscari and wild daffodils that I am using at the moment in my arrangements that I sell and deliver locally, topped up with British grown flowers from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which at the moment include narcissi, ranunculus, hyacinths, scilla's, snowflakes and tulips along with mixed eucalyptus foliage.

My own foliage that I am using includes rosemary which is starting to flower along with sarccocca and winter honey suckle to add scent to my arrangements. I also use periwinkle, viburnum, pittosporum and evergreen honeysuckle, along with catkins and budded branches adding height to the arrangements.

Highly scented narcissi in the garden amongst the periwinkle

Euphorbia Wulfenii

Mothers Day ideas

Mothers Day is looming on the 31st March and I am taking orders for flowers already. There will be additional stock at Applegarth Farmshop, Grayshott and Holybourne Post Office, Alton for sale. If you are looking for delivery of flowers then please contact me directly.

I can supply arrangements, from £10 upwards in terracotta pots, jam jars, vases, galvanised buckets and jugs for collection or from £25 if delivery is required.

Another alternative gift would be a voucher for one of my workshops, to send mum, either on her own or with you. The first workshop dates are 11th and 12th April, just before Easter to get you inspired and creative for decorating over the Easter period.

Late spring garden flowers jug

Wedding Season begins

The first of my weddings starts in two weeks, which will see the snowball start to roll through the spring and summer months.

Busy planning the flower orders which will be coming in from London, to add to my flowers and foliage. I love my early morning trips to market, I have been doing them for nearly thirty years now and there are still familiar faces up there, I have seen boys become men !! I leave home at 3am and it takes me an hour to get up there, I wander in to French and Sons to check my order over before it gets loaded up and then whizz round like a mad man to my favourite plant stand, Evergreen to buy more plants either for me or the gardens that I look after.

I buy my sundry stock at the market and although I use almost all of my own or hedgerow foliage, I can never resist going in to Porters Foliage with its soaking wet floor filled to the rafters with bins and buckets full of herbs, foliage, grasses, branches of trees, blossom, you name it, it's there and the smell of water, foliage and herbs is overwhelming.

I have to give myself a time limit in London otherwise I could be there until it closes, so tend to leave by 5.30am to get the children up and ready for college and school !! Then I can then get on with the art of creating all the flowers for the wedding ceremony, reception and bouquets like the ones below :)

Beautiful lilacs and soft purple Bride and Bridesmaids bouquets and flower girl circlets

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