A little bit of Anemone coddling. Preparing for the cold. #lowtunnel #caterpillartunnel #flowersfromthefarm #flowerfarming #dorset
We said goodbye to a dear old friend and neighbour yesterday. I can't match the eloquence of @helenstickland's recent eulogy to her in her last days. She was one of a kind, scatty, spry, engaged and full of life til the very end. In a not untroubled life, she worked as a chef with some very famous names but to us she was a caring, loving, thoughtful friend and much loved member of our community. Her last months were truly inspiring. Her troubles fell away and she was able to make her peace with the world. She was constantly thrilled to see the flower farm grow and was always popping over to show her friends. Gathered, as she wished, from her exuberantly overplanted garden and the countryside around, I hope her flowers reflected her delightfully lively, informal and gently wild life. RIP Annie xx
Still planting Tulips! Another thousand or so going in, couldn't resist. Lovely sunshine but cold fingers, cold knees...
Just finished planting the tulips. ( I know, I know... ) We had so many mislabeled last year, wonder what surprises are in store this year?! Have we got enough? Certainly felt like a loads when we pressed the order buttons! Relishing this quiet time, looking back at last year's photos, making lists and plans, taking stock and dreaming of green shoots.
Happy Christmas everyone! What an extraordinary year it's been. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the kaleidoscope of colour and characters that have surrounded and supported us in our second year of running Black Shed. It's been pretty full on since April 2017 but this year was an absolute whirlwind. Our flowers grew as fast as our friendships, as we were swept though the seasons, our feet barely touching the ground at times. Helen, Tabitha, Murphy and I loving meeting all our amazing new friends, colleagues and clients. Each day bringing fresh challenges and surprises, extraordinary characters, our gardens full of awe and wonder, gasps of delight, squeals of joy, sometimes tears. All brought together by our mutual love of growing, beautiful flowers, plants, nature, the soil and the thrum of insect and bird life that arrived to share this wealth. Here too, on this simple platform, so many wonderful new friends, conversations, so much shared knowledge, experience and sheer joy. Thank you all! Very special thanks to our incredible partners, Peter and Amanda Hunt at Blackmarsh Farm, who understood our vision and have been so very generous and so supportive. Huge thanks to our amazing volunteers, Alice, Ilenia, Libby and so many more, we couldn't have done it without you. Most of all, thanks to my darling @helenstickland without whose love and support none of this would have been even remotely possible xxx In a colourful and rich life, these have been the very best of years and I can't wait to see how 2019 will roll out. In the midst of chaos, we are not powerless, we can effect change. Here's to you all, Happy Christmas and may your wishes and dreams for the next year come true!
A dried flower bouquet for a lovely chap today. Been longing to play with our silo full of drieds but been so busy selling Christmas trees. Still got a few trees left and unless we sell them in the next couple of days, I'm going to use them as a backdrop for our gig at The Eastville Project in Yeovil on Friday. I rather fancy playing in a fragrant forest glade!
Can't resist another dried Mum, especially against this old wooden table. It's Allouise Primrose and the silica has kindly removed it's rather twee yellow and left it utterly gorgeous. Lovely soft texture after the process too, not nearly as brittle as the dahlias I tried. Memo to self, start experimenting earlier next year!
Dried Chrysanthemum Allouise Salmon. Been experimenting with silica dessicant crystals for drying dahlias with little success but these 'mums' work a treat. Gorgeous papery subtle tones.
Inspired by the fantastic creations of all our friends here and with Christmas tree sales a little sluggish in today's torrential Dorset rain, I've started to play with our treasure trove of dried flowers and grasses in the silo. Expect more spindly Stickland twiggery pokery soon...
Sunset Statice on a painted pine wall panel. Available now, dm for details. Happy to post.
A ring of golden Helichrysum. Stored summer sunshine. Available now, dm if interested.
Arthur @_stickland's abundant wreath. Super busy at the farm today, our gorgeous Christmas trees are flying out but we still have good stock of 5, 6 and 7ft Nordmans and a few pot grown ones, with more coming in next week. We're open tomorrow, Sunday, if you fancy one. . #BlackShed #christmastrees #wreaths
Green sunshine! Sheltering/shivering in the van with the hound, a coffee, Woman's Hour, a large Physocarpus, a collection of Geums and finishing my @sherborne_times article ( sorry guys!!) Brrrr!
Wreathing. Some of our bounteous Statice crop. Well, rather a lot actually!
The very rare Dorset Blue Teasel.
We're at Sherborne Christmas Market today and gosh, it's busy! Lovely to see so many people supporting all the Sherborne Independent shops. . #BlackShed #shoplocal #christmas #christmasmarket #sherborneindies #theindependentshopkeepers #justacard #localshops #succulents
I'm helping out with some pop up ideas for a celebration of cider apples in the village of Kingsbury Episcope on the Somerset Levels. A lovely chap popped in today with this rather lovely fold out at the back of an ancient picture encyclopaedia to trigger some ideas.
They've arrived! Our super chubby Nordman Dorset grown Christmas Trees. Fantastic quality, really fresh, I'm impressed. This a four footer, up to 7ft available. Order before December 1st for a 10% discount, pick up date to suit you. Photos of them in the field and prices in my stories. Delivery available in Sherborne and nearby villages. Dm me if you'd like one. Fresh stock in each week until Christmas. . #dorset #christmastrees #shoplocal #shoplocalinsherborne #theindependentshopkeepers #sherborne #blackshedchristmas #sherborneindies #nordman
Obligatory shot of the old stones as I sit in traffic on the 303. I'm working at a special school for autistic children in Swindon today, last visit of the year. . #stonehenge #nototheunderpass #nomoreconcrete #sacredplaces #happytositheredreaming
Too wet to plant the tulips today, so Arthur, Tabitha and I hopped in the van and headed up the road to visit our friend @niwakijake at @niwaki.hq at their open day in Semley. Unsurprisingly full of discerning and enthusiastic customers, we all had an amazing time trying out ( and lusting after...) Jake's magnificent collection of beautifully crafted Japanese garden tools and kitchen knives. Hardware heaven. Arthur, @_stickland, wanted a fine Japanese pullsaw for Christmas. Tabitha, florist's scissors and me, absolutely everything. These gorgeous secateurs simply fall into the hand. I'm hoping Father Christmas will take the hint when I pop the entire Niwaki catalog up the chimney as soon as I've finished leafing through its ravishing pages. What a treat on a rare few hours away from the farm, made even better by visiting our lovely friend @julietstallwood's magical biscuit factory next door. Top day.
Day 4/5/5.5? of the @justacard *INDIE WEEK* lost count... Time to celebrate some of the fantastic INDIE shops in our High Street and share this fantastic photo of Cheap Street by @lone_tree_landscapes I've told you about @thetoybarnsherborne, the best toy shop in the area by miles... Lovely neighbours too. Booze? @vineyards_wine Hannah has a brilliant range of international and local wines and spirits. She'll sort you out. A coffee? Spoilt for choice! @bean_shot_coffee_sherborne In their words, 'Bloody good coffee'. They're right! Loads more, all great. Olivers, Pear Tree, that nice bookshop, Winstones does a fine cup, lovely staff, did I say?! . Wonderful gifts, clothes and super stylish boots? Try @thecircussherborne Antiques and vintage? @artichoke_sherborne is directly across the road from our home and it's a nightmare, room after room of fantastic vintage finds, horribly tempting to live next to. @edwardvintage - quirky and tasteful furniture. @durbervilleliving - so new I haven't been in yet but looks blooming marvellous. Food? Over a dozen great restaurants and cafes. Thai, Indian, Italian, English. Prince Harry was in the Station Cafe the other day ... . Castles? Just the two, one old one even older, since you ask. Abbeys? Just the one, dates back to 837, best fan vaulting I've seen. Lovely flying buttresses, if you're into those. Who isn't? Charity Shops? Loads. Vases for our flowers, clothes for me. Markets? Thursdays and Saturdays. Flower Farms? Well I think you know about that... Visit Sherborne, love Sherborne!