On the blog: Reflecting and Evaluating

#Natural #Rustic #Vintage #bouquet with Café au Lait dahlia
#Natural #Rustic #Vintage #bouquet with Café au Lait dahlia

I sit here at my laptop looking to the year ahead and reflecting on the one past. My resolution last year was to start this blog; to create an online presence for my (at that time) hobby floristry and flower farming business #DitsyFloralDesign. The last twelve months have been a whirlwind; the delight of #homegrown flowers, nurturing from seed to seedling and productive flower cropper; joining #NIFFA the Northern Ireland Flower and Foliage Association; helping to establish the Banbridge Wedding Network and a whirlwind of creative floral design from weddings and events to seasonal jam jar posies and my first corporate client.

I’ve reaffirmed my love of the natural world, the seasons, the plants, the gifts of the garden and the wilder places in County Down where I live. I know I’m inspired by the natural beauty of flowers and an appreciation of wildflowers and seasonal, local and sustainable flowers to create #rustic #natural #country and #cottagegarden style wedding flowers. I strive to create my own individual floristry style to reflect this.

I started the year wondering how I would achieve all the business goals I had set myself. I was working full time in an office job in Belfast and living in a small terraced house with no garage and limited space for my floral design. I was spending my weekends in my (off-site) polytunnel sowing seeds and planning what annuals to grow but wondering when I would actually have time to care for them nevermind get the raised beds sorted outside!

In February, I persuaded my hubby we needed a bigger house and we were lucky enough to move to a larger house with the all-important garage space in the lovely village of Loughbrickland, also a step closer to my cut flower plot and my dream of country living.

Building strong relationships with local wedding suppliers such as the Belmont Hotel and Bannville Hotel and attending their Wedding Fayres helped me secure some wedding bookings in 2014 and meet other local suppliers. A meeting with local photographer Kevin Carter and James Barton of Prestige Wedding Cars established the Banbridge Wedding Network.

My biggest opportunity of 2014 came when in early summer I was granted part time hours by my employer. Allowing me to spend more time with my gorgeous toddler boy and spend time on the plot.  My work week now consists of Mon to Wed in the office and Thurs, Fri and Saturdays a combination of; cutting and conditioning flowers, floral design, bridal consultations and weddings.

I finished the year on a high with two weddings, numerous orders for Christmas wreaths and table arrangements and taking on the post of treasurer within NIFFA.

I’m so lucky and privileged to be starting this year with 18 weddings on the books, amazing considering I only started promoting myself as a wedding florist last year. I’m elbow deep in planning already and my first wedding is next week! It’s promising to be an exciting year for Ditsy Floral.

I have loved this first step into #blogging and hope to continue to post in 2015. My resolution this year is to get to grips with Instragram, Twitter and Pinterest!

Click on the link below for a gallery of my favourite bouquets from 2014.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.985558174791612.1073741843.616213875059379&type=3

Elaine x

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The last splash of Autumn colour

It’s nearly the end of the growing season for #britishflowers 2014.  We’ve enjoyed a great early summer, a mild and humid mid summer and the most amazing extended Indian summer through Sep and Oct.  I still had some sweet peas flowering on the plot at Hallowe’en!! A little bit uncharacteristic, but this is the thing with #flowerfarming, each year and season is different and it’s almost impossible to predict exactly when things will be in flower.  It’s much better to guarantee brides and other customers specific colours rather than specific flower types.

Now, it’s time to clear the beds, sow the last of the autumn seeds and get ready for the madness of Christmas!!  The work never ends #busyflorist #artisanflorist #flowerfarmer – love it!

Here’s some bright #seasonalflower photos to celebrate the last splash of Autumn colour from the #DitsyFloral #CuttingGarden.

Thanks for reading x

Vintage bike with a basket of seasonal blooms www.ditsyfloraldesign.co.uk
Vintage bike with a basket of seasonal blooms http://www.ditsyfloraldesign.co.uk
Bright and cheerful handtied bouquet www.ditsyfloraldesign.co.uk
Bright and cheerful handtied bouquet http://www.ditsyfloraldesign.co.uk
Seasonal Autumn basket www.ditsyfloraldesign.co.uk
Seasonal Autumn basket http://www.ditsyfloraldesign.co.uk
Halloween Pumpkin Flowers #locallygrown www.ditsyfloraldesign.co.uk
Halloween Pumpkin Flowers #locallygrown http://www.ditsyfloraldesign.co.uk

Bringing in the Flower Harvest #artisanflorist #flowergrower

This past weekend I have been concentrating on harvesting the hydrangea heads in my garden before the wet and windy weather ruins them all. I am delighted with the armfuls of blooms that I cut from one single shrub! These will now hang in the garage for drying. The trick to drying hydrangea is not how you actually dry them but the timing of when you cut them, so try to leave them as long as possible on the plant before cutting.

Home Grown Hydrangea
Home Grown Hydrangea

I plan to use the dried hydrangea through out the leaner winter months for floral arrangements and Christmas Wreaths, such as this gorgeous #natural #christmaswreath.

Luxury Christmas Wreath with Hydrangea
Luxury Christmas Wreath with Hydrangea

I’ve also been foraging around the garden for other ‘filler’ materials for drying – the furry seed heads of clematis, nigella and scabious seed heads, as well as apples that will be sliced into rings and dried slowly in a low oven for approx. 90 mins. I’m looking forward to experimenting with lots of dried ‘natural’ materials to my wreaths this Christmas.

I also collected the last of the sweet pea pods from my very brave sweet peas still showing a bloom or two in mid October, in Ireland…crazy!! #flowerfarmeryear

Thanks for reading

@ElaineGrows