Heroines and mixed blessings

Roses in tunnel

Posted on: 8th June, 2015

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

Ruby Harte (a.k.a Mags Riordan) has been a professional florist for over 12 years and has completed a course in horticulture and worked in garden centres, wholesale nurseries, and private gardens. Ruby runs a family owned nursery, Bumble Bee Farm in Castledonovan, Drimoleague and is deeply concerned about the protection and cultivation of nature and its habitats.

Have you ever wished to meet one of your hero/heroines? Well, recently I was honoured and privileged to meet Lynn Byczynski, editor of ‘Growing for Market’, an American publication. She has written ‘The Flower Farmer’, a fantastic, informative book on organic flower farming but her last publication with Erin Benzakien (another of my heroines) ‘Fresh from the Field’ is jaw-droppingly beautiful. When she asked to meet and interview me for her magazine I thought some one was pulling my leg.

It was wonderful to talk with somebody who understands the trials and tribulations of flower farming, to ask questions and get intelligent and helpful answers. She was as warm and beautiful as I imagined.

I had the pleasure of supplying Kate Holt with flowers for a wedding she flew in from the states for a few years ago, another amazing floral designer from ‘Flower Wild’. Take a look…her work is breathtakingly beautiful. Now, I only need to meet Erin Benzakien and I can die happy.

It’s been all go here on the farm trying to clear winter and spring beds and get in the summer flowering crops, some of our Autumn crops are still in the propagator but better late than never.

Having an open Day is a mixed blessing, it definitely makes you focus and tidy up, avoiding procrastination (I’ll do that tomorrow) but the extra workload is exhausting, I’m a very messy gardener/florist leaving a wake of destruction behind me.

We have been very lucky to have Jake our middle child (almost 23) helping us for the last few weekends, we really couldn’t have got through the workload without him and not forgetting Aly, our princess and youngest who has risen to the challenge and proven she can work when needed. We thank you both and are so, so grateful for everything.

Still potting up those Dahlias. Though they will be ready for planting out by July, I can’t risk them in the tunnels this year because of the tortrix moth who destroyed my roses and dahlia crops last year but I would rather not grow a crop than resort to toxic chemicals. I do squash them, sadly I’ve sent more than a few to ‘tortrix moth heaven’ already this year.

We have made some beautiful additions to our rose collection this year; some are already flowering in the tunnels but only in bud outside in the cutting beds. Our gladioli are romping away; I’m salivating over our new additions and sumptuous colour combinations. I hope we don’t end up with a glut though. Delphiniums are looking stunning, linaria, fressias, ranunculus and anemones ready to burst into a riot of colour.

Sadly the wind has striped some of our clematis montana rubens, it’s a real showstopper in May but I’m hopeful to still have a respectable show for next week. Camellias almost finished but some of our rhododendron will be singing high.

If you are planning on joining us for our open day, please understand this is a working garden and farm, with blooms going over in conjunction with emerging crops and because we work with nature, some jobs don’t get finished straight away because of nesting birds. We do feel there is enough interest in our little oasis for you to enjoy, although I’m having a bit of a Bob Flowerdew moment, ‘It doesn’t matter so much what it looks like so long as the produce is good’. Lynn did say that “She couldn’t wait to get home into her own garden because she was so inspired by ours” — what a compliment!

We’ve been busy with new outlets — we are delighted to be adding ‘The Wine Tavern’ in St. Luke’s in Cork City as a stockist for our flowers. It’s wonderful to see the interest in supporting local chemical free produce.

Our edible garden is coming together; although it won’t be finished for the open day we will have examples of some that will be available very soon. We are delighted with the response and so looking forward to developing this further with a visually beautiful and tasty range for wedding cakes etc. Some of these little darlings are only seedlings but in a few short weeks we will be harvesting, the wonderful ‘Slow Flower Movement’. I’ve been experimenting with some of the flowers and have made some very interesting and tasty findings!

Looking forward to seeing you on May 31 for our Open Day with the proceeds going to the very much-deserved Drimoleague walkways.

If you can’t make it, then you can still enjoy our flowers at The Wine Tavern St Lukes, Bradley’s North Main Street, Swanton’s Nurseries at Mahon Point, Middleton and now also at Skibbereen Farmers markets, The Olive Branch Clonakilty, and Organico Bantry.

Web Ruby Harte.com, Facebook Ruby harte floral design

Mobile 086-8251380 and 086 0823318.

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