We had a hard frost on the 28th of October this year and when I checked the flowers the next morning, as suspected they were looking rather black and unhappy. Since then lots of people have asked what I do now - some realise that the work doesn’t stop just because the flowers are gone but others think I’m starting a 5 month holiday.
There are plenty of jobs that can be done over the Winter, many of which I don’t have the time to do during the peak season, but some have a certain urgency about them. At Pipley we have lots and lots of dahlias (far too many to lift!) so I choose to leave mine in place over Winter. One of my most important jobs now is to cut back all the dahlias and give them a good mulch to protect them from the cold - this has to be done before the temperature drops too low and it’s not a quick job.
One of the other jobs I have is planting any new bulbs and corms so I have lots of lovely flowers in Spring. I planted my anemone yesterday and I still have tulips and ranunculus to finish off. The quicker I get some of these in, the quicker my season will start next year….or that’s the plan unless I am thwarted in some way by the weather.
So as you read this I may be working out in the rain, chopping back, wheel-barrowing, or on my hands and knees in the mud trying to get these jobs done before I miss my window. Then comes the rest of the list but I can always breathe a sigh of relief when the dahlias and bulbs are all sorted.
If you have thought about flower farming and would like to learn more about what’s involved I run workshops for beginners or those thinking of a career change. The next one is on Sunday 10th of February and you can find the details on my workshops page.