Kate Norris, Northumbrian Flowers

UK: "My flower farming year, and what a year"

In this article Kate Norris of Northumbrian Flowers is looking back at the strange and challenging 2020. She explains her experiences  month by month. 

January 2020
The New Year starts with 2 weddings. I enlist hubby to help create a hanging bauble canopy on New Years Day - it takes 2 hrs to set up and hang hundreds of glass baubles with tea lights. Hubby not impressed but it looks amazing in photos!

The New Year also marks the start of a new chapter with the License to Occupy a much bigger plot. Giant (it seems at the time of ordering) polytunnel is officially ordered and we start the winter tidy at the home plot and at the new plot. No seed sowing done but plenty of seedlings overwintering from Autumn sowings.

Consultation with a couple living China who plan to return to UK for a local wedding in November 2020. We talk about the virus sweeping China and they tell me how bad it really is over there. This stays in my mind.

I do a late planting of tulips and look forward to a spring carnival colour.  

The annual Flowers From the Farm conference. I attend, catch up with friends, enjoy talks and demonstrations, network.  After my conversation last month, I find I'm acutely aware of being in a large gathering of people from all over the UK.

Weather turns cold, typical of this month, but I push on with clearing and planting shrubs. Do my annual seed packet sort. I have another very small wedding - blissfully unaware that this will be a ‘big’ wedding from July onwards. With the help of commercially grown British blooms from Helen at Evolve flowers I provide a fully British flowers bridal bouquet and do table décor with my own foliage. 

I start to pot up hundreds of cottage garden perennials for plant sales and sow a load of different vegetables. Coronavirus is still in the back of my mind and the storm is gathering via constant news stories on the topic. I pot up the dahlia tubers and take cuttings.

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