I used to tell people that January was my month off – the month, in theory, when I could take off to Thailand or Mexico or somewhere, as there is nothing at all happening in the flower growing world. January 2019 begs to differ though – it has been so calm and dry that there are plenty opportunities to work outside. Usually the rain puts paid to outdoor work as the ground just gets too soft and sticky to work in. Not this year though, and all the indoor jobs that I have been hoping to get around to have been shelved again in.
One of the tasks I've been undertaking over the past few weeks has been digging up dock roots from the new area of ground that I'm planning on cultivating. It was ploughed and rotovated in autumn and now the docks are springing up everywhere. These are deep rooted perennial weeds which will just get bigger and bigger if they are left alone. There are hundreds of them – I can fill a wheelbarrow with them in about an hour and usually that is enough for one day. In many ways I enjoy this task – it's straighforward and allows my mind to wander to other things, and it's a joy to be outside on these calm dry days.e But it's very time consuming. Seeing as I'm not paid by anyone by the hour I spend a lot of time thinking about the most prudent ways to to things – or the most economically beneficial jobs that I could/should be doing!
But I have come to the conclusion that this job just has to be done. I will not entertain the notion of using weedkiller. Getting up close and personal with this particular patch of ground, I am delighted to say that it's full of earthworms, and I don't want to put poison anywhere near them. This digging task is also making sure I get very well acquainted with this corner of the farm. I can see which parts get shade, where might be a bit windier. Every time I stop to give my back a rest I am thinking a bit more about how I will lay out the trees and shrubs that are going to go in there. And no need to shell out on a New Years gym membership!
January of course is also a time for thinking about the year ahead, aspirations and plans. I definitely hope to hold a few more workshops in 2019. I held 2 Christmas wreath making workshops in December and they were most enjoyable, both for the participants and for me. I hadn't quite realised how there really is a desire for doing creative activities with your hands, in a structured, guided way. It hadn't dawned on me that people would find the workshops so relaxing but of course now I realise that makes sense.
Last years workshops were only advertised on social media and I'm aware that some people didn't hear about them. So if you'd like to be kept informed about future workshops please contact me by phone or email (details below)
This is also a great time of planning for upcoming weddings and I'm enjoying speaking to brides (and some grooms!) about the flowers for their big day. West Cork certainly is such an appealing place to get married in, and the idea of reflecting the natural, wild look of the landscape is something thats cropping up again and again. If you follow colour trends then the Pantone Colour of the Year is Coral (for what its worth!) Definitely peachy/apricot colours are hugely popular in the flower world – going through to coffee, rusty, golden tones. I love them but I think it can be nice to add in a tiny bit of something like bright blue or very dark purple to give the look a bit more of an edgy feel. And as I always say, different colours of foliage, grasses and seed heads are equally as important as the 'focal point' flowers that you use.
I was very happy to have the opportunity to decorate a long table for a wedding reception in 2018 and I'm hoping this is a trend that takes off this year. I'm not sure what it is but there's something very pleasing visually about the repeated place settings neatly lined up, with lots of flowers and greenery and candles running all the way down the middle. On a practical level I think it's more intimate too, as you are closer to the people sitting next to you and opposite.
So I definitely can't complain that this job is boring or monotonous! Even when there is almost nothing in bloom, just like the bulbs themselves gearing up underground, I'm enjoying the 'gearing up' phase for another busy year.
This article was published in the February 2019 edition of the West Cork People