I've been trying really hard to put on the brave 'I have everything under control' face all year, but I have to confess, I really really don't! This year has been a marathon of excruciating pulling and pushing, and finding new ways to break me piece by piece. Moving has been every bit of a nightmare that I dreaded it would be, and sooo much worse!
In hindsight I wish I'd just cancelled my entire spring flowers this year, not bothered importing dahlias, hired like 10 people to get all the set-up jobs done when they needed to be done, instead of suffering through all the field work with mostly just myself and one part-time worker (the lovely Caitlyn) at a snail (yet still flat out sprint) pace that now the to-do list of what needed to be done like yesterday/last week/couple of months ago its so far removed from reality it's insane.
September / October are the most important make or break months of the flower farming year, if things don't get done when they need to get done these couple of months, it can spiral the whole of summer out of control. I know I do hold myself to unrealistic ambitious perfectionist standards, but this Sept/Oct has been a definite 'breaking', which has me dreading the summer season ahead now.
I'll by no means be short of flowers (lord knows for better or worse I'll almost literally be drowning in dahlias come January!) but it's going to be a couple months of serious flower gaps and constantly scrambling to have enough until then, and then it's going to be very heavy on the dahlias and way too light on everything else from then on.
But there's no changing what is done in the past, and all I can do is pick up pieces and look to the future. I know I just need make it to the end of this season in one piece (or patched together one way or another), as moving/setting-up/settling in just takes time, years even, and it will get better... eventually. But that is the thing I love the most about growing flowers is there is always another season just around the corner to wipe the slate clean and try and do it all better next time! (I just hit that 'can it be winter again already' in August this year!). Sometimes flowers aren't all rosy, but it's all part of the circle.
Anyways that's my very long winded way of saying I think I'm going to try take things a tad easier this next month or two before the dahlias start flowering (which we still need to actually plant!). I've just closed the store for bouquet/tuber/seed sales for this week, as it's one of those really really crucial make or break weeks that I just have to drop everything to try and save things from any further serious Sept/Oct/now November 'breakings'. But I'll probably/possibly have it ready to go for one last opening the week after, with some of our own dahlia tubers we've started dividing, and by then we should hopefully have some roses blooming to fill bouquets, and if we're really lucky this god awful rain/showers/cloudy humid misery will let up which will help absolutely everything!!
And also soooo sorry to all the messages and phone calls and every other avenue of communication that I haven't replied to lately. I really appreciate your support and understanding through this challenging time. Next season I think I'm going to have to hire help to keep up with all of the messaging and admin, as I'm so utterly terrible at it, and I want to have waaay better customer service than all my current ball dropping, but I'm not quite sure I can afford it on this season's patchy income, but we will get there!
Also I think it's important to look back at what we have actually got done, as as much as it's easy to focus on what we haven't, we have actually totally changed the whole field in only 6 months, and that is no small feat!
April 2020 - only about 6 months ago!
June 2020 - back when the tunnel had no weeds!
Planting the first of the anemones 4 months ago, which are now destined for the chopping block later this week to make room for summer crops.
Late August 2020
Early September 2020
Late September / Early October 2020
One bonus on being behind on everything meant that we barely put a dent into harvesting things this spring (on top of expanding our ranuncs waaaaay too much, which really wasn't a wise move at all in hindsight), so it has been a gloriously beautiful spring seeing them all bloom out like never before (before the rain eventually turned them to mush).
Late October 2020 - just a few days ago
And it's different again since then too, as we've started ripping out the first of the ranuncs and the wind has bowled down a few things :( Like those larkspur to the left, they're probably going to get the pinching I'd missed and was going to end up having to skip, but might as well just do tomorrow, so I can net and save them from total flopping everywhere carnage.
Well done Sarah looking forward to the coming seasons.
I think you are amazing, what you have achieved in 6 months is mind blowing.