The Cottage Smallholder

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My Dream Farm got me focused and back on track


Photo: September in the old kitchen garden

Photo: September kitchen garden

Wow. I’ve just been watching last night’s episode of Monty Don’s “My Dream Farm.” Thank you Peter for tipping me off about this. Although we stopped watching telly regularly a few years ago, I can catch up on my laptop – as I’m usually asleep by eight at night! The programme was inspiring and I realised that even a little gate side stand could potentially become the heart of a new business. I also recognised that I’ve been treating ours as a bit of a hobby.

I had been planning to sell the flowers in bunches of five for 50p – like the old lady who sells flowers in Duchess Drive. Now I realise that creating exquisite bunches would be much more fun and a bit more lucrative. I spent the day thinking about my USP and taking a long hard look at the future.

It was a sunny warm day yesterday so I was out in the garden for an hour in the afternoon. I’m planning quite dramatic changes to our herbaceous borders.  I ordered some more rock dust to condition the soil and plan to overhaul and extend the borders to give me a bit more space for growing flowers.

I also twigged that I need to work out my vegetable and flower planting very carefully indeed if I am going to fit everything in. We are now looking at the front garden. There is loads of space there as the cottage is well set back from the road and we could be using some of that space for growing stuff. Our vegetable patch is sunny in the afternoons but this space has sun from eleven in the morning.

Monty Don’s programme was the inspiration that I needed. I’m working on a planting plan for the kitchen garden and now I’m going to work on a plan for the herbaceous borders and the pond garden too. Suddenly I feel focussed and excited about the future. I’m finally flying the plane rather than being on auto pilot.

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  1. I too watched the programme and my uppermost thought was this – Fiona has more get up and go than these two. Lots of hints, especially the use of foliage. Go, go, go, Fiona you will do well with this, especially with your enthusiasm.

  2. Have you got any room for fruit trees fiona suttons are doing 4 for £40 at the moment grafted trees and you can buy one of each different fruit.
    They can be pruned to keep to the space you have (if any) obviously something for the future but either to sell as fruit or to use in cookery think they have plums cherries (thinking conserves) and the normal apple pears etc could find the room????? money money money £40 today a lifetimes worth of pies and jams!

  3. kate (uk)

    Herbs- great in bouquets- you need lots for good tussie-mussies.V.good for greenery and in bloom.

  4. Captain Shagrat

    Yes I’ve also enjoyed Monty’s Dream Farm series but have not watched the latest program yet. It’s good to see Monty back on the box again, I’ve really missed his particular style on gardeners’s world. He seems fit, confident and back to his best as a great motivator.

    Have you thought about growing Eryngium Alpine sea Holly they look great in creative flower bouquets

  5. I, too, thought of you as I watched this. I agree that foliage is an important addition that lifts an ordinary bunch to become a bouquet. Don’t just think green but blue/green, variagated and golds and reds.
    What an exciting time for you, new plans to make:)

  6. I really enjoy your blog and would like to encourage you with your road side stand.
    a few years ago i lived in Cambridgeshire and had a stall outside my cottage. We lived in a one horse kind of place but i still managed to make good money selling eggs,plants,veg ,and flowers – people loved the flowers and would come regularly to buy them and i made birthday bunches etc to order.
    I would still be doing it now except i live down a long track which is not ours.
    Keep up the good work, it’s the best way to live!

  7. Another thing you can do to set your flowers apart is to plant the old-fashioned stuff that are harder to find in commercial flowers.

    How lucky you can used your front yard! Mine has a huge sweet gum smack dab in the middle of it that will take $3200 and a special permit (if I can even get it) to remove. So even though it’s creating two much shade for me to be able to use my front yard, I’m trying to learn to live with it. It does provide a ton of leaves in the autumn, so it’s not all bad. At least it’s not a useless conifer!

  8. Elizabeth

    I saw the Monty Don programme last night too and thought of you and your gate-side flowers when I was watching it. I think British-grown floral bouquets are definitely the way to go.

  9. Magic Cochin

    This sounds so exciting – I can feel the positive vibes from here (they’re radiating out from your cottage!).

    Take a look at the foliage you have – can any of your shrubs supply greenery for your posies? Sometimes the need to use what you have at hand invents the most creative solutions… Perhaps you can grow some stylish foliage – grasses for instance.

    Wishing lots of success with your venture

  10. Look up tussie-mussie or posey. Nosegays. Right size, right mood, right era, doable.

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