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.
‘Happy New Year’ – it’s a funny old saying really. When does one end and when does a new one start? Depending on your beliefs you could be saying it a few times a year, for instance ‘Samhain’ marked the end of the old Celtic year. The winter solstice is another, with the mortal wounding of the Holly King and the rise again of the Oak King, Yule being one of the names for this festival, where the burning of the ‘log’ continued for twelve days. Our modern new year fits in nicely with this one. Then we have the Chinese New Year, January 28 for 2017; it changes with the new moon and can be any time from the end of January to the end of February. For me it’s when the snowdrops and crocuses are flowering well and the days are growing longer – there is a real sense of rebirth and while it will still be cold and dreary, the signs are there; birds beginning to make nests and winter visitors are leaving and some are returning. It’s usually closer to February for us here on the farm before we really get to feel it. It’s not a date on a calendar but a sense or feeling that winter is over, time to shake off the cobwebs and really get moving again, I understand the frantic nature of birds building nests – time is ticking. I embrace the energy I receive without fail at that time of year because I know it will invigorate me and propel me forward; it’s like a dog straining at the leash.
I must say thank you to all of you for letting me know you enjoy my ramblings about life here on the farm and thank you for your suggestions regarding content. I’ve taken them on board and will endeavour to address them by going into a little more detail about our cultivation methods and why we select the varieties we do. If there are any other suggestions, please feel free to contact me I’d only be too delighted to hear from you.
With that, for those of you new to my article, we are an organically-run flower farm in West Cork. We cultivate a beautiful range of unusual seasonal flowers for weddings and events but we are also Ireland’s only dedicated edible flower farm. We don’t just use organic guidelines, we practice it as a way of life, in-so-far as we think about what we do and its cause and effect with all jobs that are carried out here, from pruning times to deadheading to digging over beds. Working in harmony with nature in a sustainable manner is deeply important to us. We are thoughtful and mindful of all our actions and respect all the flora and fauna that reside with us.
We are expanding our edible flower business and replanting our new tunnels and reorganising our old ones. It’s a slow job (I think our age is starting to catch up with us) but boy will it be worth it. In my mind’s eye, it’s truly magical, roll on the summer. We are also all about local and local produce. There is such a wealth of talented producers here on our doorstep – from a floral point of view there’s Lydia Busby’s Vintage Cut Flowers in Rosscarbery, Ruth Fortune in Glandore and Hanako in Ballingeary – all offering something a little different but beautiful none-the-less.
I’ve rambled on a bit and said very little about farm life this month but I will have more relevant content next month. For now wishing you all the very best for 2017.