The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Flowers from the garden: May

flowers for MayIt seems longer than four months since I last bought flowers for the house. I’m still finding it hard to keep my vow not to buy any for a whole year. For the last couple of weeks we’ve had no flowers indoors, from the garden or anywhere else. I’ve been returning from work too late to drift into the garden with my secateur. And, I suppose in a way I had lost heart.

Last weekend I visited one of my favourite private flower stands (on Duchess Drive, Newmarket). I had surreptitiously spotted that they were selling Sweet Peas a few days before. My mother was ill and she loves these flowers. I bought her a couple of bunches and shot home to wrap them in a water soaked cloth. Fraternising with cut flower growers was hard. I have been avoiding their stand for ages, trying to cut down the angst by taking the alternative route into town

All summer, these talented flower growers usually keep the cottage brimming with flowers for three or four pounds a week. This is not a labour of love. The Flower Grower Wife quite often springs out from behind the hedge in mid-summer, when flower buying is at its height. When she twigs that I am actually buying her flowers and not stealing them or her jam jar of cash, she is friendly. My heart goes out to her. The flowers are 50p a bunch.

The scent of the Sweet Peas was glorious on the drive to Cambridge. I seriously considered driving back to the stand to buy some more and pretending to Danny that they were a present from my mum. But how could I explain that an 87 year old housebound parent with severe vertigo could have left her house to find these flowers?

This evening I drifted into the garden to find some flowers. I wander though the garden every day but had not realised the abundance that is apparent when I loked closely. I was amazed that the handful I took filled this vase and another one too.

There are seven different roses, philadelphus, clematis, aquilegia, cornflowers, perienial geraniums, and the last bluebell.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Carole,

    I’m so glad to be the first blog that you have found. I love Mrs Simpkins but I have never done well with pinks at the cottage.

    Hope you enjoy the jelly, I’m going to make some more this weekend.

  2. carole

    hi found you today, a blog, my first one i also have an addiction to flowers very often have just the one or a few in a vase at the moment its mrs simpkins (pinks)i will also try the lime and elderflower jelly for my friends birthday tea on sunday , i will also sow a few seeds today up at the plotfor a few flowers later on.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for dropping by. I am so pleased that you are keeping your cut flower border. When you are away your sister can gather the flowers. Instant remuneration for all her hard work!

    We don’t (as yet) have a cut flower border. I am just sowing seed for cut flowers in the herbaceous borders. It is such a tight squeeze that I think that a cut flower border might be the answer. Thanks for giving me a nudge.

    I love the idea of your blog. Celebrating gardening with Min Pins. Only two of our brood garden with me. Dr Quito and The Lady Midnight Amber (Inca). Dr Q is a fine weather friend, Inca is out in all weathers with me. She always loses heart first if it is cold. She is a special creature, after all. And has no raincoat. She wouldn’t be seen dead in one.

  4. Sarah

    I have a small bed in my garden set aside just for cut flower growing¦I was thinking that I wouldn™t plant it this year, since we will be away for several short vacations and I don™t want to burden my sister with watering more beds than necessary¦but your post changes my mind. I want flowers! I will give my sister a bouquet when we return.

    I enjoy your blog, thank you!

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joanna,
    Yes, we should swap notes. I’m sure that you have more notes than I do!

    Danny loved this bunch, I think that he thinks we’ll have a bunch like this every week until Christmas. I’m already planning ahead for late summer and autumn…

    Yes, Amanda, we are lucky to have a big garden with lots of roses. I have been concentrating on the vegetables for the past few years but now I’m planting flowers like mad.

  6. Amanda

    Simply beautiful and how lovely that they were from your own garden.

  7. Joanna

    What beautiful flowers – much lovelier than anything you could buy, and no doubt scented too. I’m trying hard not to buy flowers, too, which means lots of greenery with one flower in a small vase. Then you have the pleasure of looking hard at one flower, and really noticing it in all its stages. It’s different – and it’s better, really.

    But I have to admit I’m not yet quite so stern as you, because I do still buy the occasional bunch.

    We should swap notes …

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