It’s important to me to make beautiful funeral arrangements. I deliver natural funeral flowers in the Shepton Mallet and Frome area.
That it’s a difficult time for people, goes without saying but flowers can help a little. Some families come with firm idea of what they want. Something pink as the person’s favourite colour was pink, a woodland theme as they loved walking in the woods or a summer garden look. Sometimes I can suggest ideas and we work together to make just what the family wants.
It’s also important to me that the mechanics are as natural as possible and sustainable. I never use plastic in any form and have worked to develop ways of working with natural materials to create what the family have requested.
Wreaths are made on natural twig bases using moss and twine and bouquets are tied with raffia or ribbon.
It’s also possible to create a casket spray which can be taken apart after the service to allow the family members share the flowers and enjoy them for longer. These casket sprays are made using 6 or 8 bunches tied together which gives the same look but in a more natural way.
Most arrangements are made with seasonal flowers grown here or sometimes supplemented by other local growers. Out of season British grown flowers can be used. Occasionally in winter we will use imported flowers to fulfil a family’s idea.
Contact us for more information about funeral flowers in the Shepton Mallet area.
I admit I don’t mind weeding but of course it’s easy for the weeds to take over and the job becomes huge and demoralising rather than an hour of gently teasing them out.
There are ways to help keep weeds at bay.
1 ~ Try not to let them seed. ‘One year’s seeds, seven years’ weeds’ as the saying goes. When things are getting out of hand and you don’t have much time, cut off the seeding heads.
2 ~ Don’t add weed seeds to the compost (unless you are sure it’s going to get to a high enough temperature to kill them). I often find that after adding compost to a bed or border, weeds quickly start to take over. It can be a nice surprise. Last year Honesty started popping up all over one of my beds. But it can also be a nuisance if it’s Nettles and Dandelions. They spread fast enough without us helping them.
3 ~ Mulch. See above. Mulches cover the soil, supressing weed seeds and locking in moisture and nutrients. Things to use are homemade compost, manufactured compost, well rotted manure or mushroom compost.
4 ~ Hoe. Here it’s a case of do as I say, not as I do. I rarely hoe though I always mean to. Hoeing on a warm day means little weeds will be pulled up and quickly wilt on the surface of the soil. Regular hoeing keeps them at bay.
5 ~ Little and often. This goes for hoeing and hand weeding. I say this as reminder to myself. Keeping on top of the weeds and not letting them get out of hand is the way forward. Whipping out small weeds when you see them is so much easier then having to use a large fork on a huge clump of nettles.
6 ~ My favourite is to pack in the plants so there is no room for weeds!
Also if you try and learn to identify weed seedlings, you won’t find yourself nurturing weeds fondly hoping they’ll turn into flowers.
We’ll see how it goes this year, I have good intentions.
Organising seeds. I knew I had a lot of seeds but didn’t realise quite how many until I started sorting them out.
I recently spent a while looking for some Sweet Peas seeds. It turned out I’d already sown them (and they are doing very nicely, thank you). That highlighted that I needed a better system for organising them.
It turned out I have over 300 and that is not including saved seeds which may add another 100, but does include vegetables. Yep, seed addict.
I now have all the packets numbered, sorted into alphabetical sections in my boxes and listed on a spreadsheet. They are also divided into flowers and vegetables. The spreadsheet allows for pictures so most of the entries have photos of the packets which will also help. The ability to cross reference is important for finding them and making sure they are all listed.
Hours spent organising seeds is well spent and will hopefully save time later. Seeds are sown here most weeks and in spring there will be dozens of pots and trays with seeds and seedlings at different stages – sown, germinating, pricked out and then later potted on and planted out.
It’s still too early to start really though I have sown a few. Especially this year, we need things to look forward too. A few things do benefit from a long growing season though most will find it too dark and cold just now even kept on a warm windowsill. Sweet peas are one that you can start and also Chili peppers.
Now that I have organised the seeds, next up will be a sowing plan.
Bulbs are so important in the Spring garden. They give us colour and scent starting in the darkest days of winter and going right through until May. Who doesn’t love a Snowdrop poking it’s green shoots through and then showing it’s gently nodding head. Looking fragile but so tough.
This year it seems more important than ever to get hold of a few bulbs and put them in the ground as something to look forward to. And it’s not too late. I have actually got all mine in the ground (smug face) unless I find any more stashed away. Ideally you’ll have started planting them in October and November. Saving the Tulips until the soil cooled a little as they can suffer from diseases if planted too early.
One problem I have in early Autumn is that I don’t have the border space ready for as many bulbs as I think I want! This year I’ve planted many Narcissus and a few Tulips in pots. Some will stay in the pots but some can be put out into the ground when there is space.
These are Muscari in tiny terracotta pots. Already, in mid December, sowing their green shoots.
If you come across them in garden centres or on those endless special offer emails you could still stash a few away in pots for spring colour. Bulbs are so easy, they have everything they need for a Spring show, all you need to do is add soil and water.
I rarely remember where I’ve planted them so. supposing I haven’t forked them before they get to flower, they appear as little surprises just when we need them.
28th October ~ A dramatic change in the weather means cold feet and hands while working outside. Very low overnight temperatures but the dahlias seem to have survived so far. The sun barely made it out today so little warmth.
Good progress in clearing weeds from Annie’s bed. Resowing a few seeds of things which have not germinated. The low temperatures have prompted sudden germination in a few pots. Fluctuation is apparently good for some seeds.
29th October ~ Moving straw to cover the cleared area. Almost cleared from the tarpaulin which I was not supposed to have used for this and which is probably ruined!
Finally a bit of space in the shed where dried heads have been stored. I’ve been able to move bundles on. It’s too damp now in the shed for storage.
30th October ~ Warmer. Trying to keep up with the pricking out but run out of compost.
31st October ~ Planting out some Foxglove ‘Cafe Creme’. Plants have been poised for planting for about a month. Area needing to be cleared first and some German Sea Lavender moved into better rows. German Sea Lavender sown last year, overwintered and planted out but no flowers. Hopeful for next year, they are such lovely flowers.
1st November ~ Gutted to have rotting Anemone corms. They have been soaked for too long and compost kept too damp and cold. Possibly using Perlite on it’s own or in the compost is the answer. Managed to salvage a few. Lesson learnt.
2nd November ~ Slowly managing to clear cutting beds. Some areas covered in weeds. Prefer to weed first and then cover to ensure weeds are killed off but this is more time consuming. There is not really a rush.
3rd November ~ Finishing removing turf from the extension to the front bed. Help speeded the job along and motivated. Ready for moving and planting now! Sense of achievement.
Putting benches back into Poly Tunnel ready for seedling trays. Pricking out means they all take up more space.
21st October ~ Anemone corms have tiny rootlets appearing. I only know that as I was worried about them and dug them up. Difficult to keep them at the right temperature and dampness. Removing more turf. It comes up easily as the ground is damp but not soggy.
22nd October ~ Let loose in another garden cutting foliage for a funeral tribute. It’s always inspiring to visit another garden and this one has many mature shrubs and fruit trees and must be a haven for wildlife.
Planted some Hazel cuttings down in the bottom corner and hope it’s third time lucky to establish some Hazel bushes.
24th October ~ Sorting out the dried flowers and trying to make some kind of inventory. Most look good with great colour in Statice and Larkspur. Hanging in the loft was perfect for drying though it may have tried the patience of other family members. Most is now boxed and ready for sale. The shed is now too damp for storage.
25th October ~ Using up the last of the greenhouse cucumbers. That’s all now until next summer. Still have tomatoes in the poly tunnel. One is a late maturing variety so hopes for that to last a while.
Continuous rain all day. Removing Zinnias from poly tunnel. They have mildew so are useless cut now though still trying to flower. Cutting down Orlaya. Many seeds have fallen so hoping for self seeders.
26th October ~ Frost
Making good progress in weeding the Eucalyptus bed or Annie’s Border as it’s going to be called. Several plants there came from Annie as plants or cuttings. Knee high weeds – grass and creeping buttercup. It’s easy to tell where it was weeded in the summer and the part at the back which was never finished. It’s much more of a job there with denser weeds. Covering with straw collected from the stables. Small amount of manure in it but not much.
14th October ~ A few of the ranunculus have beautiful little shoots. Moving all the trays of bulbs, claws and corms into the house as mice (or similar) are digging, eating and scattering them around. Sigh.
300mm rain in 40 days.
15th October ~ It did not rain.
Clearing cutting beds. Removing plants which are dying down and covering with manure/straw collected from local stable. It is not rotted but will be there for 5/6 months before any planting takes place. Collecting seed. Cornflowers are self sowing – there is no telling what colour they may be.
16th October ~ Deadheading the poor, sorry dahlias. There are plenty more buds so as long as we don’t get frost there may be more usable flowers. Some places have already had frost. Cutting down Cosmos which has also suffered in the rain.
17th October ~ Unsatisfying retail therapy but managed a few cuttings of Brachyglottis. It’s a good foliage plant. I have a few small plants ready to plant out. Sowed newly collected Anchusa seeds. Two plants from the purchased seed last year so hopeful for more this year.
19th October ~ Cutting down and weeding. There is so much to do it feels as though I am making little progress but it all helps and I am, at least, making some progress. Wheelbarrows full going into the compost heaps.
20th October ~ It seems we are now enlarging the front bed rather than just adding a path or access. Mr C marked it out and began removing turf today. It’s not a huge job but it will mean all the plants and cuttings I have in pots will have new home. I have discovered that some anemones which I planted in the long grass last spring were actually growing so I had to move them away from the route of the new path. Hopefully they will establish well in this damp autumn weather.
8th October ~ A dry morning. Moving trays of bulbs inside as they are in danger of rotting with all the rain.
9th October ~ So much rain. Not possible to do very much at all. Marshland in the duck run.
10 October ~ Making good progress in the front bed. Removing many weeds plus few plants which are too big or not interesting enough. Should be possible to make the new path soon and add planting. Pruning buddlejia makes a big difference, the space it takes up is huge.
Removing cucumber plants from greenhouse. Sadly they had suffered from mildew and were not producing much any more. Space is needed for seedlings and bulbs.
Clearing out the poly tunnel begins with removing some Cosmos. They have just started to get mildew.
Collecting large amount of straw and manure in small car from local stable. Now where to put it. Plan is to lay over empty beds but none are empty yet.
1st October ~ Last week a local bee keeper brought a box containing frames and sugar syrup hoping the poly tunnel bees would go into it. Sadly they didn’t. There are a few left sitting on flowers but they have mostly died. We still don’t know why they swarmed, there didn’t seem to be a queen, or why they failed to inhabit the cosy box with food.
2nd October ~ Chilly over night but not yet a frost. Dahlias are looking very sad with the huge amount of rain we have had. There are more buds so perhaps a few more flowers to enjoy.
3rd October ~ Clearing a part of one cutting bed. Took out Malope and Asters. The Asters suffered in the rain at the end of September and though deadheaded, did not recover. It would be good to grow more inside next year and perhaps they would last longer. I have my eye on a pink one.
4th October ~ Planting lettuces in the poly tunnel. A plan for winter and spring is needed to organise the planting. Moved Craspedia inside and moved Jacobea maritima ‘Silver Dust’ alongside them. This creates an area of permanent planting with Chocolate Cosmos and the other Dusty Miller.
5th October ~ Little progress. Managed a small amount of pricking out. Daucus – tiny seedlings, I doubt they can go out this year. Some of this years plants succumbed to wind rock or carrot fly. They need to be well established with good roots. Later plantings were better and the inside ones were too tall.
6th October ~ Getting stuck into bulb planting today. While planning to plant Narcissus, discovered that the tulips stored in the old freezer were going slightly mouldy so removed them. Some Narcissus planted in a trench. Hyacinths in trough by drive. Fritillaries and Camassia in trays as the space not ready to plant them yet. Dry and warm day after a very wet week. Some bulbs to go in long grass at front so care will be need to get them established.
23rd September ~ Dahlias. They’ve done brilliantly in their new home and have flowered for weeks. I know their days are numbered now – hopefully frost will hold off for a good while yet. The supports of post and netting have worked really well. It’s only a few of the large headed flowers which need extra support. In rain or high winds they droop their heads and sometimes snap the stems. Perhaps another row of netting higher up and string or rope around the bottom.
24th September ~ A ridiculous amount of rain. Mud, mud everywhere.
25th September ~ Starting off some anemones by soaking. Soak for 24 hours then chit by placing in a tray of compost until they show roots and shoots. Anemeones in the ground are shooting away well. I worry about weather damage to the flowers though so I will grow some inside as well.
26th September ~ Ditto with Ranunculus. I have some saved and some new. Planning where to plant them all.
28th September ~ Accidentally bought some more plants at a local nursery open day. The sell at wholesale prices. I try not to go every year but I was near! A beautiful pale pink Sedum plus an Teucrium fruticans which I’d seen on Gardener’s World that week, among others. Again no time to get planting. There is clearing to do before planting can take place.
29th September ~ Plan for a new path through one of the front beds. The whole bed has been completely out of control this year with huge teasels at the front obscuring plants behind. A winding path through would allow lower planting near the path and taller things at the back. Think most of the Artemisia should be moved to the cutting beds as they flop and obscure smaller plants.