New beginnings

Posted on: 3rd August, 2017

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: Ruby Harte

Ruby Harte (a.k.a Mags Riordan) has been a professional florist for over 12 years. 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.

Firstly thank you all for your lovely messages and kind words regarding our little piece on Nationwide, we really appreciate it.

Its funny how you can muddle along with one thing leading to another and you just keep ‘muddling’. Since the programme, I’ve been asked frequently how our journey into growing edibles started. It got me thinking, its good to have defining moments and while ours has, it didn’t seem so at the time. It was just the care and attention to detail that we provide here as part of the service. I’m going to share it with you because it’s a nice story.

Back in 2013 we had a wonderful bride, so into nature and the environment (a perfect fit for us), but she had one concern, her flower girl Sophie aged two put everything into her mouth and while our flowers are grown organically, some of the wedding flowers would be poisonous if consumed, like foxglove and delphinium, which featured in the bouquets.

This got me researching edible flowers and I was amazed and delighted to find I was already growing a huge amount of them I just didn’t know it, so with that the ‘seed was sown’ so to speak. I created my first edible bouquet.

It wasn’t until 2015 that we tentatively began growing commercially but it’s really only been this year that it has taken off with our flowers in the hands of top chefs the length and breath of the country, which is very exciting for us.

My accident has been another defining moment and made me realise I don’t like muddling along, I need to be creating and trying new things. Emma coming on board has been the injection of enthusiasm and creativity I have longed for but didn’t know it; I can’t tell you how much fun we are having and the new developments are astonishing, but more on that later.

While the pain and restricted movement is tiring, I’m grateful for my accident for lots of reasons, but especially for giving me back my perspective and focus.

With beginnings there are also endings, Millie our matriarch hen is finally on her way. I’ve been preparing myself for her passing but I know I’ll be devastated at the same time, 13 years is a lifetime. It won’t be the same without her but we are so lucky and blessed to have had so long with her.

The mad rush is on again to get the must-have biennials sown in this month’s new moon phase; I wouldn’t be without sweet William, Canterbury bells, hesperis and honesty. It always seem a hassle at this time of year to be sowing crops for the following year but come next April when there is so little flowering outside, I am so grateful for that abundance of colourful flowering stems. The new moon phase in August (21) is no different getting ahead with crops like antirrhinum, cornflower ammi, calendula, Californian poppies and Iceland poppies. As always never short of things to do but now I take time to smell the roses too. Enjoy.

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