This time last year we set into motion our Year Long ‘Grow Your Own Cut Flowers’ Course. We have created a new type of flower growing class, made up of 5 full days in our studio and on the plots, across the growing year. Its first full season has now been completed, picking up new students along the way.
All the classes begin the same way with a tour of the plots. Looking at the Course beds, the long herbaceous border (shrubs and perennials that are permanently planted) and our farm rows to see the progress, noting successes and disappointments and catch up on what has been going on in between. We share and compare our own growing experiences over a slice of cake and a cup of coffee.
There is a couple of hours of tuition, with both demonstration and hands on practical work. In Autumn this is planting narcissus for cutting, pre sprouting Ranunculus, collecting seeds, sowing sweet peas and planting out biennials. In the Spring we will be cutting the same Ranunculus and conditioning the stems for arranging, sorting and dividing dahlias for cuttings and pruning roses and much more.
We serve a delicious lunch and the table is dressed and waiting. Part of our ethos at Anna’s Flower Farm is celebrating the everyday and simple luxuries. I take great pleasure in designing the food, appropriate to the season emphasising these ethos’*.
Another few hours in the afternoon and we finish off with an arranging demonstration using the best of the flowers that day. Our students leave with examples to grow on themselves in their own spaces. This will include all the seeds they’ve sown, bulbs, anemone corms or cuttings et al. They also cut their own flowers to condition and arrange.
We have found that the most testing part of growing cut flowers is that one must think in 4D, by considering what month or season you are in and what will be flowering in the months to follow. This is what makes our course so effective, experiencing in person how the garden changes across the season and piece together the growing year.
We sit at the table, considering the season, conjuring up flower combinations to arrange with and work backwards to see what each ingredient requires and when it should be planted. It is quite something to get your head around when you have only just learnt what an annual seed is as opposed to a bulb or a corm.
Be it in a couple of square metres at home, on an allotment or in an entire empty paddock. The principals are all the same, it’s a case of scaling up or down.
I am very proud of this course and love sharing our knowledge, encouraging and supporting our attendees. It really is at the very centre of our farm, business and calendar. With that in mind, we have made each day available standalone and broken-down elements of the course into separate one-hour introductions. We focus on one technique or plant i.e. seed sowing or Ranunculus or Dahlias, again taking home to grow on.
If you want to learn more about our classes and come and see us gardening on our ‘working garden days’ or book yourself onto an ‘Introduction to….’ Class. We are looking forward to meeting you.
"Amazing day with you, felt I had learnt such a lot today"
An email after a Students first Day with us.
* I was so proud when one of our class participants said she was coming back to volunteer in the garden ‘if only for food alone’!