After months and months of crossed fingers and anxious waiting it's a huge gear change to be planning the preparation of our very own land for flower cultivation. In theory we could have used the long months of waiting to do all the planning that we're doing now but I just couldn't face the disappointment if the land purchase had fallen through, so here we are; at the beginning!
About the land: With three young boys it was important that the land was near to home - to facilitate early morning picking and late night frost covering - and we can't believe how close our smallholding is. The top field is one field away from our back door, facing the lake district mountains. Accessed down a short green lane - locally called a lonning - it is a long thin south facing field which gently slopes down to a stream and anther field beyond it. Both fields are about 1.5 acres in size. The land then drops down quite steeply to the river Marron, a tributary of the Derwent, and a water meadow and deciduous woodland totalling a further 3 acres. I can't tell you the thrill of hearing the owls at night at our house, knowing that their home is now under our custodianship. And that is how we see it... yes, we are going to farm the land, to change the fields so that they produce cut flowers rather than beef cattle, but we will be maintaining the fertile soil, reinstating native hedges, planting trees, creating ponds and growing thousands of pollinator friendly flowers without chemical intervention from March until October, ensuring that nature thrives in this corner of west cumbria.
Our first few weeks have been spent walking the land, becoming familiar with it and the affect of the weather on it. There are boggy bits. There are sheltered areas. There are frost pockets and areas where the frost lingers longer. We need to understand how it 'works' before we do the 'big stuff'. And there are fences to mend, gates to replace, barbed wire to remove (so that the kids are safe) and then we need to deer fence the growing area for 2020 because we know there are deers in the woodland, who would love some tulips for breakfast in March!
(This post was written in November. But not posted. Not sure why.... Woops!)