With every intention to write up my field notes monthly this year, priority overrides intention every time when you get swept up in the tumult that is farming flowers and running a business. So here I am, writing about July, August, September, October, in one swoop which feels entirely apt given how these months raced by with a velocity which seems to get quicker with every year that passes. Is this what ageing feels like? I remember writing back in June, remarking that there was a long summer ahead and how good and exciting that felt. Here I am, at the end of it all with a long winter ahead and that feels good too. The summer brings so much activity, urgency, attentiveness, pace, and light. Autumn slows the pace a little and brings a different sort of urgency. Our role changes from florists to gardeners as soon as those first frosts appear. It's time to plant, sow, clear, tidy, do all of the preparations to both close the chapter and bookmark the page for next year. We have spent the last few weeks sorting through bulbs, clearing flower beds of annual plants which are still flowering because of the mild weather. Despite their rude health and beauty, you have to be ruthless and rip them out regardless because space is everything at this time of year. With 10s of 1000s of spring bulbs to plant, a mammoth task lies before us! We do it in the company of each other with dahlias, chrysanthemums and a few roses slowly blooming around us in the polytunnel, the last flowers standing at the end of the party. The incessant rain outside has turned everything brown and soft underfoot, it punctuates every day pattering against windows, over rocks, through leaves, mingling with mud, repelled by my waterproofs, and landing heavily on puddles. Each rain droplet forming a vortex of rings which disintegrates into the surface of the puddle, proceeding in the same manner in a continual process of disintegration so far as the rain remains ample and falling. The garden falls to pieces.
The forthcoming winter brings rest and an indoor way of life for a while, an interlude that is so necessary and one I am looking forward to. I talk about the weather and the seasons all the time, especially so when we find ourselves in these in between moments of merging Winter to Spring, Spring to Summer, Summer to Autumn, Autumn to Winter, and so on. I assume I am learning here, through growing flowers and working outside, that it is in these moments of change that I feel most inspired. Seasonal changes are processes of transformation which are both part of life and part of nature. We must go through all phases in order to grow and although we may sometimes resist change, it will happen regardless. If we become in tune with nature, we can learn to flow more freely with the currents of life. I believe that. Nature is a wild teacher. Every humble happening brings a lesson. Green aphids shaken from the leaves of our rose bushes will always make an attempt, wingless and slow, to return to the plant showing an astonishing single mindedness. Wild seed arriving on the wind shows determination. Worms represent hidden labour. The migration of the swallows is an act of routine and survival. Shorter daylight hours teaches us about boundaries and that home is waiting. The silver trails left by slugs reminds that our actions leave impressions. Callouses from a shovel are a marker of satisfying work. Flowers show how wonderful it is to live and also that all living things must die, how to walk away and when to stay. At the end of our flower season all of this is glowing through me. All these humble things provide understandings which sharpen our insight. I had the pleasure last week of being able to witness a sunset and a moonrise in the same early evening, an impressive seesaw of two glowing orbs. I was inspired to write my own motto for a sundial,
Thrive under the sun
Rest within the shadow
Accept each when it comes And so on.
My favourite images from July to October:
Joyously putting together bouquets for weddings
Our meadow glowing pink with flowering grasses
Sweet peas galore
Rose 'Little White Pet' with shocking pink buds opening up to a beautiful white flower with butter centre
Lunchtime in the sun with pots of scented geraniums
The first delphinium flowers in the field
A tumble of sweet pea flowers and vines with poppies and snapdragons
Clematis flowers shaped like stars
View of the polytunnel from the cutting garden
We discovered a small plum tree growing!
Rudbeckia on a bright day
Pink spikes swaying delightfully in the wind with bees holding on for dear life!
The first dahlias start to flower in early September
Cosmos in the flower field
The fluffy seeds of Rosebay willowherb ready to be taken into the skies by the wind
Narrow paths through sweet peas and cosmos
All my favourite candy colours
Hi from the studio window!
The first chrsyanthemum blooms in November
Rudbeckia flowers becoming seed heads
Everything is golden
Chrysanthemums in the perfect autumn shades
Berries decorating the farm hedges
Pom pom dahlias
Preparing for a new season of flowers
Thank you for reading flower friends!
Lauren and Louisina x