Dried florals and new bud vases.

We had a much needed weekend away from the garden this week which of course meant coming back to lots of weeds and jobs to do this week.

Biennial seed sowing will begin in earnest now I’m back in the garden and here to keep up with watering them. Foxgloves, white hespiris, hollyhocks, sweet william and canterbury bells are among some of the seeds which I will sow this week. In the hot weather seed trays dry out very quickly and I find that I’m often watering things in the greenhouse twice a day. Strawberry’s are now being picked daily- home grown strawberry’s are just unbeatable, so sweet and juicy and such an easy fruit to grow. I do grow some in strawberry planters but I find the ones in the ground, which are just left to their own devices do so much better! 

Simon has been busy making a new range of glassware for us to use for wedding and event work. Bud vases in a deep, lustrous cobalt blue which look very special with the rich red roses and strawberry’s just ripening spilling out from them, a celebration of the fruits of summer. I love creating a bud vase because you can use all those special little bits that you wouldn’t otherwise pick- one of this and one of that to make something extra lovely. Roses mixed with mint, coriander, thyme and lavender for heavenly scent, paired with pretty Canterbury bells, small apricot foxgloves, sweet peas in bright reds and frothy nigella and bits of grasses to add movement and whimsy.

The garden roses are still spewing out their blooms, the scent filling the garden, my favourite one in the garden at the moment is called rock and roll, a large headed and sturdy rose- not overly productive as a cut flower but to its advantage just one or two of its blooms will transform a design; its smell is sweet, almost sugary and has red, white and pink striped petals reminding me of the big swirled lolly pops you get from the funfair.

Also this week, to coincide with the summer solstice we have begun back on our dried florals. I paired the daffodils which we picked and dried in the spring with the zingy alchemilla mollis and buttercups and added hint of blue from the forget me nots and grasses to soften the look. I love making my dried florals and the way they change through the season as different ingredients come and go. 

I wish you a lovely week ahead. 

Blessings from this patch to yours, until next time, Rebecca 

A surprise visitor.

Well it’s certainly blooming now isn’t it. This week we have reached peak rose season I think and I find myself wandering out whenever there is a tiny moment to be with them. The birds are still waking me at the crack of dawn and although I’m feeling so tired I can’t resist their call to get up and get outside. 

Last year we had the pleasure of fattening up 3 juvenile hedgehogs which had been taken into the local hedgehog rescue in Ludlow. Pricklebums is run by the most wonderful lady; Ayley. She runs her hedgehog hospital from her home, literally dedicating her life to the flourishing of these wonderful creatures. Last year she was running at more than full capacity hence we were able to take three off her hands and once they were sufficiently fattened we were able to release them into our garden. A hedgehog needs to weigh at least 600g before it can be released back into the wild, this is because it needs a certain amount of body fat to make it through the long winter of hibernation. They all did amazing and when they had all reached their target weight we popped them in their little houses which Simon had built for them and just crossed our fingers that they would choose to stay in our garden…We did see them a couple more times after that, and then they seemed to have gone walking; this wasn’t really surprising, as we learnt that hedgehogs will travel between two to three kilometres in just one night! 

Anyway, all this to say, as I stood in the garden still and quiet before my morning of flower picking at dawn this week and listened for that very distinctive sound of the shuffling of leaves in the hedges, I was rewarded for my early start! Out he came from the undergrowth! Lovely! Now, of course I can’t be sure that it was one of the ones we rehomed here but he definitely wasn’t bothered or startled by my presence in fact he lifted his little head up to greet me and carried on with his business. 

If you feel called by the birds to get up and out this week don’t say no to their call. You might get a most wonderful surprise too. This coming Wednesday marks the summer solstice and what better way to celebrate than getting straight out into nature at the call of the dawn? 

I wish you a wonderful week ahead, blessings from this patch to yours, until next time, Rebecca. 

Last year with one of our spikey residents.

Rain at last and a big pick for a country wedding.

It’s been a wonderful week in the garden with so much to pick and finally this evening a torrential downpour of rain just what everything has been waiting for. The days have been really warm which has meant a few very early starts, we always pick really early, just as it gets light which at this time of year is about 4.30, this is because flowers are at their most sturdy after a good nights rest and after the morning dew has rehydrated them, as the day gets warmer they dehydrate and won’t last well if picked. We pick them straight into big buckets of water and take them straight into a cool dark place to condition over night. During this process the stems fill with water and they become nice and strong for working with.

We picked for a beautiful marquee wedding this week, set in the Shropshire country side. The bride wanted a soft colour palette of whites and creams, the palest pinks and peaches with a little orange and just a touch of blue.

All our planning for this special wedding payed off as everything came into flower just in time we picked apricot and white foxgloves, lovely romantic creamy roses- one of my favourite David Austin ones called Desdemona, pink and white lupins, white and blue Nigella (love in a mist), soft orange calendula, pineapple mint- a lovely variegated cream and soft green variety with so much scent, the last of the blue and white forget me nots which for their age looked all the more whimsical, being nice and tall and seedy, heavenly scented white lilac blooms and pink honey suckle, orange geums, white peonies, bunny tail grasses, the sweet little pin cushion flowers of the Astrantia- great for boutonnières, the most pretty pale blue delphiniums, and the first of the sweet peas just for their scent. The bride dressed huge hoops suspended in the marque with Lots of draping foliage picked during the week from her family’s woodlands and the whole scene had a real sense of personality and magic.

With the ever increasing price of weddings. DIY wedding flowers or partial DIY flowers are a great choice if you are looking to save some money but certainly not for the easily overwhelmed. My lovely bride Olivia was super organised and had the help of a small group of friends with her flowers the day before her wedding, which made it a really special experience for her. I was also on hand to make sure she had everything she needed and make her bridal bouquet. Her bridesmaid even made her own bouquet which I thought was such a lovely touch!

I hope you enjoy seeing the few snaps I look below and I wish you a wonderful week ahead.

Blessings from this patch to yours, until next time, Rebecca.

Desdemona rose.
Diy wedding buckets.
Nigella and pink lupins
Roses and pineapple mint
The brides bouquet coming together. And the bride having fun with her flowers in the background.

Tipping into summer and the very first of the roses.

We have past one whole month of no rain here on the hill and down on the field and we are desperate for a drop now. But with none forecast for another week I am continuing to water seedlings which went into the ground last week, to give them a strong chance of making it through this dry spell. 

As I mentioned in last weeks post, my two water butts down on the field have run dry, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that using the no dig method has proven a success in holding water deep in the soil, with the layer of cardboard and thick layer of mulch the soil beneath it is still damp, despite the beating sun and lack of rain. This is brilliant for the shrubs which have been planted through the cardboard layer, however seedlings planted into the mulch on top of the cardboard have needed some extra watering as the mulch on top of the cardboard really does dry out! It’s been an interesting learning curve so far. 

In the garden the first few roses are being picked and dried as they open, to make up a big basket of confetti for a wedding next weekend. The gorgeous Blue for you rose and my favourite softest blush one; Desdemona, are being combined to make the most delicious looking and smelling blend. I pick the flowers when they are looking absolutely perfect and fully open and pop them on a sheet of paper in the greenhouse, in this hot weather they dry in less than 2 days, quickly making room for the next batch! What a joy! 

Batches of confetti being dried in the green house.

There is certainly lots to be picking; foxgloves, peonies, white campion, the last of the sweet rocket, Alchemilla Mollis, lupins, sweet Williams and the first of the sweet peas. Did you see the strawberry moon? Maybe it coincides with the first pickings of the strawberry’s where you live but for us here of the hill, I think we have another couple of weeks to eagerly wait for those. 

I wish you a wonderful week ahead, Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

With blessings from this patch to yours, until next time, Rebecca.

Peony Bartzella.
Looking onto the rose patch.
Loving the combination of the apricot foxgloves and organise geum.
Lupins and iris.
I think the foxgloves are my favourite.

At the end of spring on the cusp of summer.

Another glorious week of sunshine has meant lots of busy watering. The garden is filling out nicely. The roses are now giving their first precious blooms, the first foxgloves in apricot and white are beginning to open and the lupins are at their best; spikes in royal purple, bright pink and a more delicate pink which is my favourite aswell. The irises too have opened up they love all warm weather as their rhizomes like to be baked in the sunshine. My Strawberry’s are dropping their petals and tiny fruits are forming, whilst the first of the annuals- the bunny tail grasses are now in flower; their little fluffy tails lining the path on the mound. The poppies are just beginning to get into their stride- I’m hopeful there may be some left to pick for a wedding in just over a week. The laburnum is providing a joyous backdrop to it all this week. 

There’s been tons to be planting out. Filling in any tiny gap I can find with annuals that I’ve nurtured from seeds. I always think I won’t have enough- then always struggle to find a space for them. So I am taking two big trays down to the field with me tomorrow to see what will work best down there. I only have two water butts down on the field and both are now empty, so I’ve been holding off planting any more seedlings until we had rain, however with none forecast for the next 10 days I’ve loaded my car up with a couple of large containers and I’m hoping that that will be enough to see them off to a good start. 

So the greenhouse is now empty (apart from a few tomatoes and peppers I’m growing in there over summer.) which means I’m all set for sowing biennials in a couple of weeks. 

And thanks to it being another bank holiday weekend we’ve had chance to catch up on tidying up jobs; sorting out weedy areas and dumping corners and edging all the beds. Simons been clipping the hedges and it’s looking lovely and tidy. 

Anyway, I wish you a lovely week ahead! 

Blessings from this patch to yours, until next time, Rebecca 

From the late May garden.

As we enter the late part of May everything is picking up pace in the garden. The days are finally warm enough to be out until the evening in a T-shirt and seedlings are being kicked out of the greenhouse as fast as I can find room for them in the beds. I need the sheltered greenhouse space very soon for the all important sowing of biennials which will begin to be sown in late June; foxgloves, sweet rocket, sweet William are just a few of the seeds which will be sown in preparation for next years harvest. Last years biennial seed sowings are nearing their moment to flower now and I wait in eager anticipation, desperate for the bounty they will provide. The foxgloves in white and apricot bulking up nicely, already spoken for, for a wedding in just a few weeks time. 

The birds are singing a cacophony of tunes and as I write this the cuckoo is calling in the distance. My few precious peony plants are now covered in fat buds, it won’t be too much longer to wait for them. The white lilac tree gracefully nods in the warm breeze, gently calling me to come and smell its flowers, the scent it so delicate. Happy little geums are providing me with plenty of stems to cut, the candy like lupins are growing strong and tall; every year they are a stalwart for cutting here in our garden. Clematis Montana takes over from the blackthorn blossom to provide a most enchanting backdrop to the garden in these final days of May; it reaches high up into the holly tree, very soon it will pass the baton onto the laburnum whose mass of cascading bright yellow blooms are just ripening up now. The very charming Aquilegia (granny’s bonnets) are looking at their best this week, also brilliant in bouquets to dance above larger blooms; they are so lovely and come in so many varieties. 

It’s good to be outside and getting jobs ticked off the growing list. There’s been lots of weeding and staking this weekend. Staking, for the biggest of the flowers to come, like the statuesque delphiniums (fittingly named pacific giants!) the dahlias, which are only just sprouting up, (feeling accomplished to get them staked before they need it for the first year ever!) the Lilly’s and the sunflowers. 

Anyway that’s all for this week, blessings from this patch to yours, until next time, Rebecca.

Update from the field.

I thought I’d give you an update from the field this week as my last one was way back on 21st March!

At the moment I’ve been managing to find about 8 hours a week to spend on the field which isn’t a lot but is enough to manage the watering of the new plants I’ve put in and keep on top of the weeds as they pop up. The grass sprung up at a rate of knots after all the rain we had over the past few weeks and the warm spell which followed it this week. Our lawn mower wasn’t up to the task of mowing it so I am on the hunt for a suitable strimmer to keep it in check.

I doubled up the fenced off area over the past couple of weeks. So I now have a rabbit proof fenced off area of about 40 metres by 7 meters. I’m still working on getting the second area card-boarded and covered with the wood chips and the horse manure. My biggest lesson this week has been to plan ahead with making new beds…I lost a good day of labour laying out beds only to realise the orientation wasn’t going to be time efficient for planting and harvesting from them, so I am now in the process of scraping off the wood chip and manure and moving it all into the line of the new bands I’ve marked out. All of this could have been avoided if I’d have put pen to paper first.

In the first area of the plot. Daucus , ammi and achillea coming along very nicely. (Bottom right)
Looking onto the second fenced off area with the new orientation of the beds marked out and slowly taking shape. Also my new compost heap! Very exciting.
Looking out onto the two areas in progress.
My very first flower to bloom in my new field.

In other news there has been plenty to pick in the garden this week including aquilegia also called granny’s bonnets, they have really come into their stride over the last few days. Also geum, lilac and geraniums. Mixed with the last handful of tulips, the seedy hellebores, the forget me nots that are just getting better and better each day, add to this some hedgerow gatherings of red campion and grasses and you have a delightfully wild and wonderful mix.

Mid May bouquet.

Blessings from this patch to yours, until next time, Rebecca.

Update from the garden.

It’s been a very wet week. Inbetween spring and summer, just waiting for the sun to come and stay for more than a day at a time. The rain must be doing good things for my new no dig beds though, which have, in the past, seemed to need a bit of a helping hand for water when planted up when they are newly made, as the cardboard layer takes a good few months to rot down and the compost layer on top has a tendency to dry out quite quickly.

The days are lovely and long and the birds are busy getting ready to raise their baby’s. I am woken early to the dawn chorus and thoughts of a long list of jobs that are pressing! Potting on and planting out. The endless checking and rehoming of slugs and snails from the greenhouse whilst devising friendly plans for mitigating their mischiefs from my future seed sowing plans.

The apple blossom has burst this week and the scent is magical. There is hope and promise in the air- this may be my favourite moment of the year.

So with that said, it’s just a quick post this week to share a few garden snaps and wish you a happy week ahead!

Blessings from this patch to yours, until next time, Rebecca

Garden pickings of wall flowers, tulips, forget me nots and germ totally tangerine.
One side of the mound looking very fitting for this the coronation weekend.
The front of the mound
The potted garden. With acers and out potted pond. Made from an old glass crucible.
Local to Ludlow and fancy some free rhubarb? let me know!
Geranium phaeum now at its best with cytisus broom in the background filling the air with its beautiful honey like scent.
Geum totally tangerine now having its first flush of flowers which are perfect for picking.
The orchard with newly planted yew looking lovely this week with the apple blossoms making their appearance.
Walk way of forget me nots in the orchard.


Over the last couple of years I have been experimenting with drying flowers and creating everlasting wreaths and bouquets. It’s a great way to save and use flowers before they go over to use and sell at a later date. I also love having them during the festive season when there are very few fresh flowers to pick to use in my Christmas wreaths.

Christmas wreath with dried ingredients including: billy buttons, statice, wrinkled cress, Nigella seed pods, panicum sparkling fountain, bunny tail grasses, and pine cones.

My method of drying is really simple. I pick my flowers on a dry evening, after a warm day but not too hot. I remove most of the leaves and bundle with elastic bands in small bunches of about 10 stems. Elastic bands work better for bunching than string as the stems shrink a lot as they dry but  the elastic keeps them tightly bunched together.  it’s important to keep the bunches small so that air can circulate to prevent them from going mouldy before they dry out. I hang them in the living room for 2-3 weeks to completely dry. Our living room is perfect for drying flowers as it’s an old stone cottage so it’s fairly dark and cool in the summer. But the main aim is to dry them somewhere out of direct sunlight and somewhere cool but nice and dry with good air flow.

Dried wreath with ingredients including: hedgerow gathered grasses, white statice, yellow and orange strawflowers, achillea the pearl, Nigella seed pods, heathers and a lovely big pale peony.

I have tried drying daffodils for the first time this spring with very satisfying results and I can’t wait to use them once I’ve gathered more ingredients to complement them, I’m thinking lots of feathery grasses and pale coloured statice. In early June I will begin gathering my grasses from the hedgerows, there are some really lovely ones to pick and it’s incredible the variety’s that you can find on just one walk, have a go and see for yourself!  I am also growing some perennial grasses in the garden along with some annual ones too- bunny tails and red millet, two of my favourites. 

Lovely spring looking everlasting wreath with lemon and cream straw flowers and lots of pretty grasses white statice, achillea and scabious seed heads.

My favourite flowers to grow from seed for drying are limmonium (statice), ammi visnaga, billy buttons, bunny tail grasses (which have gone into the ground this weekend) and of course Helichrysum (straw flowers) which are really easy to dry and come in a huge range of colours! It’s best to pick flowers for drying when they are at their best- fully open but not too long after, with straw flowers pick them just as they are beginning to open and they will continue to open as they dry out.

My favourite perennials for drying are peonies, sea holly, lavender, heather, achillea and echinops. Please do comment if you’ve tried drying anything unusual and been surprised by the results, I’d love to know. 

The Sarah Bernhardt peony, with the rat tail statice, heather, the pink straw flowers and the grasses giving this one a bit of sparkle.

In the garden this week, the geums are just beginning to flower, the roses have tiny buds showing, the broome bush is just coming into flower, forget me nots are at their best and also perfect for picking for drying and the peonies have suddenly shot up- surprisingly the one that’s in the shade has grown with the greatest vigor! 

The rose garden, last day of April 2023.

The weather has been very changeable and very rainy- but April showers bring May flowers, so I’m hopeful for a very flowery month ahead. My everlastings will be ready to order again around June time- I can’t wait to get making them again for 2023!

Have a great week! Rebecca 

Flowers at last.

The soil has certainly warmed up this week, planting out seedlings in bear feet the earth was warm on my feet and despite a short hail storm today it felt like the time was right to begin moving the baby annuals out into the warmer ground. Two beds of Limonium went in; pale blue, apricot, and the pink poker variety, all to be used in my dried work later in the summer. Cosmos went in amongst the daffodils to take their place with the Ammi and Daucus. I don’t know what it is about this time of year but the soil feels almost magnetic, I try and begin a job indoors and without my realising it, I find myself back out in the garden- the house work can wait.

Fresh flowers are finally adoring the cottage again. I keep my little snips in my pocket to snip what ever takes my fancy as I go about my jobs, things that I’m trialing for their vase life for bouquet orders and old favourites too. Posy’s of tulips, honesty, forget me nots and the first of the beautifully scented wall flowers get dotted in handblown glasses all over the house. 

A tiny bunch of the scented wall flowers and narcissus early cheerfulness I place by the bed so I can enjoy the scent as I go to sleep. 

The roses and the peonies are putting on a lot of growth and it won’t be long until we see the first buds appear. We have had beautiful misty mornings this week which make the blackthorn blossoms look so magical. In the evenings as the sun goes down they glow pink! As I enjoy the glowing blossoms I pick the rhubarb to make a crumble, the blackbird sings his merry tune- there is so much beauty to take in just being in the garden, enjoying and participating in a simple life. 

The lambs are jumping around in the evening sunshine, it’s about 7pm, the same time every evening and every spring they seem to form a crèche, the ewes exhausted from their day of parenting flake out and the lambs play together, jumping from piles of old pallets and logs…Robert pulls up for the last check up of the day, he has finished lambing, he declares it triumphantly- that’s it for another year, he is tired out- he must be coming up to 80 years old! But what would I do if I didn’t do this he says! Very wise I think!

Rhubarb for Sunday pudding.
The last variety of my daffodils to flower ‘night cap’ and worth the wait.
The humble wall flower, maybe not much to write home about in appearance but the scent is heavenly.
Early cheerfulness.
Beautiful foliage on the Desdemona and Boscobel roses.
Blackthorn blossom in the evening.