Sweet April showers, do spring May Flowers' Thomas Tusser-farmer and poet.

Before turning to the challenges of the weather this Spring, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the online shop. It has been a delight to send plants from the cottage and prairie gardens as far as Scotland and also welcome and meet so many local gardeners via our collection service. I have had so much fun supplying plants to so many people and hearing about your gardening plans and challenges.

The demand has meant that I am in a period of 'restocking'-lesson learnt-grow more for next year! The shop does look a bit bare at the moment but will soon be stocked with more of the best sellers and also new plants-Lupins, Agastache, Artemisia, Salvia, Campanula and Rudbeckia to name a few. Do let me know of your cottage garden favourites and I would love to add them to my growing catalogue as long as they meet the right growing conditions here.

Your buying patterns have told me that Ammi Visnaga, Pheasant Tail grass and Achillea Summer Pastels have been your favourite plants so far. I have to also do a shout out to Monty Don. A few weeks ago during GW, he mentioned it was too late to sow Ammi Majus and Visnaga. I did an update following this, saying I had plenty of stock-I sold out in 24 hours. Thank you Monty! There will hopefully be plenty of the gorgeous Ammi in our gardens this summer.

Thank you all once again for your support. I am enthused and driven to provide cottage garden and prairie plants, with no air miles, sustainably grown in Devon.

April has certainly been a challenging month and seeing the quote from Thomas Tusser made me reflect on the lack of rain and more frosts than I can remember. The seedlings have been wanting to grow but the cold nights are holding them back. This weeks gale force winds have not helped. The polytunnel has been invaluable as has the sheep wool in helping to retain moisture for the seedlings that have gone out in to the growing area. The polytunnel started the supply of the first cut flowers and will continue to do so.

The pictures above start in February and having had the first crop of Ranunculus, Cerinthe and Calendula, I will shortly be ready to cut Snapdragons, Lilies and Lupins to go in to the posies, jam jar arrangements and hand tie bouquets for purchase. This is so exciting-it really is about the aim of 'Bringing the delight of the cottage garden in to the home'. The final picture shows some of the Dahlias potted to start to grow-these have now all sprouted and will go into the ground mid May-frost permitting. Do get in touch if you are looking for cottage garden flowers for a gift, event or for yourself. You will be assured of a lovely mix of flowers from the cottage garden borders and cutting garden. Prices start at £7.....and rest assured-you wont find them in the supermarket.

This brings me to another mission-finding homes for wonky flowers! I really get it that some people like long, straight stemmed flowers in their arrangement..and so do I at times. However, the natural beauty of a wonky flower can add that bit of structure to an arrangement. Rather than discard these flowers, I will be selling these at marked down prices- they make great flowers for single-stemmed table arrangements. I have been having great fun with these over the last few weeks and I hope you agree that sometimes, less is more and wonky is fabulous.

Now for this months lessons:

Confession: I am a bit of a seed thief. I sowed some seed that I 'rehomed' a few months ago and was delighted to see it germinate. I had never grown the plant before and no amount of google image searching would find an image of the plant as a seedling. I continued to nurture it until I was informed by someone much more in the know than me that it was a 'hen weed'-I had never heard of it or seen it before and can only think that it was divine retribution in my seed compost!

Have patience: The prairie garden has not had much of a mention this month but I have had it under close observation as it comes in to the second year. I was about to dig up a load of Pennisetum grass thinking they had not survived the rains over the winter when I got distracted by other jobs. Thankfully, I didn't dig it up as this morning I found little green shoots emerging.

Your family can increase when you least expect it: Yes! There are new arrivals here-baby Moorhens-6 little balls of black fluff that I would have loved to have included a picture of but they are so tiny and elusive I can't get a picture .

Finally, my May challenge:

How to stop these Cirsium buds from growing too quickly for wedding button holes at the end of the month-third world problems hey-it is keeping me awake though. Happy gardening and again-thank you all!

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