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Hardy annuals

The sun is shining, flowers are growing dum di di dum dum dum. Weeds are appearing everywhere but I don’t care - they’re feeding the wildlife – or so I keep telling myself so I don’t lose the plot when I’m looking at their scale and the insane amount of new growth they can put on in the blink of an eye. Why can’t my top of the range, fancy pants, high-price commanding Dahlias do the same? Probably because if they could they would no longer be top of the range, fancy pants, high-price commanding Dahlias….‘sigh’.

rsz snow

After weeks of glorious weather we woke up to...Snow!  So the only thing to do to get over worrying about snoe-damage was to have a snowball fight :-)  Over on the right are a tray of Helichrysum seelings I left out to harden off...and forgot to return to the greenhouse - much to my surprise they survived and are now happily growing in the field!!

I have seeds and seedling EVERYWHERE. The light-box (with super snug bottom heat) is crammed with trays, the greenhouse heated bench is packed with the same and the entire floor of both greenhouses are full of plug trays with my ever-fattening little seedings coming along nicely. I also have crates with planted up dahlia tubers snug in the greenhouse - I’m going to take as many cuttings from them before I plant them out into the field in late May, nothing like making free Dahlia plants to make the heart sing. Dum di di dum…

I’m feeling more organised than ever before. I have rows of cold-hardy annuals planted up on the farm, more coming along in the greenhouse and loads of other annuals starting out. I’m always trying to refine my seed list and at the same time trial newbies that I hope will work (usually I get notions - some good, some not so good after seeing pictures in books or on social media) and there’s always so many that I still haven’t gotten around to trying at all because even though I go over my seed budget every time I go online ‘to get a few bits’ I still have to be realistic about what time and space I have to devout to completely new crops. Someday I WILL walk through my very own rows of Lizianthus blooms – just not yet…

rsz seedlings on farm

Planting up rows of hardy annuals on the farm.  I'm snuggling them under some frost cover to keep them from any really cold nights and also the hard winds that blow around up here.

The hardy annuals that I’m growing are (in very organised alphabetical order ?)

Agrostemma githago (corncockle), Ammi majus (Graceland, Snowflake, Queen of Africa), Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’, Daucus carota ‘Dara’, Antirrhinum (snapdragons) sp. Including ‘

Rocket’ series, ‘Madame Butterfly’ series, ‘Liberty’ series and I’m trialling the ‘Potomac’ series, which I’ve never grown before. Dill, Bpurleum, Calendula, Campanula, Consolida (larkspur), Delphinium, Digitalis ‘Camelot’ (annual foxglove), Godetia ‘Grace’ series, Helichrysum (including a new-to-me variety ‘Rose Beauty’), Molucella laevis (Bells of Ireland), Nigella, Orlaya grandiflora, Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’ and a newbie I’m trying ‘Prairie Sun’, Scabiosa autropurpurea (plus the ‘Fama’ series that I’m trialling, but seed was very expensive so unless flowers are out of this world they won’t be invited back next year!), Senecio cineraria (Dusty Miller) – can’t get enough of this - stunning grey foliage, fantastic for wedding work – it’s prone to mildew so I like to sow as many successions as I can, Tanacetum - feverfew (double and single).

There’s something exciting about growing hardy annuals, I feel a bit like I’m ‘cheating’ nature and getting to sow flowers when instinct would be to wait until the ground warms up and all threat of frost has passed. It really feels so rewarding to get plugs in the ground in March (If there is a hard frost due I will put up the frost cover) knowing that I will have armfuls of early summer blooms well ahead of schedule – well that’s ‘le plan’ anyways, now let’s see if I can actually pull it off (successfully)….!

rsz 1rsz 1rsz jute netting 1     

I'm trying out a new crop suppot netting here on the farm that I bought from Quickcrop.  It is made completely from jute and will be fully compostable at the end of it's life.  I'm hoping to get a couple of uses from each piece...I'll let you know how I'm getting on with it.

And through all the sowing, planting, weeding and wondering what on earth I’m doing our family life continues. Senan turned four. I had to say it to myself so many times before it actually sunk in. I know every parent says it – but I can’t believe how quickly my baby boys are growing up. It is a real joy to see their little personalities come out and watching their love of flowers and the outdoors growing is utterly heart-warming, but they are still growing up into independent little men, who don’t need mum quite as much as they used too…

rsz senan at aquarium

My boy...We took Senan to the aquarium in Bray for his birthday - he especially loved the little starfish and clown fish.

Next post I’ll let you know how my tough little baby plants are doing and go through the inspiring list of summer flowers I’m planning on growing and harvesting.

Have a wonderful, flowery day and thank you for taking a peep inside my weird and wonderful flower farmer’s life x