What happened next was, keen to get started at the start of a balmy, warm September 2014, I decided to dig 3 foot wide beds in the hope of doing some Autumn planting of hardy annuals. From years of reading Sarah Raven and visiting her garden at Perch Hill I knew this was a good idea. So after the digging two beds, in the top half of one, in went larkspur, calendula, ammi majus and some white hesperis plants (a bit late).

All a bit haphazard and typically random, but the sun was shining and the seeds and sun felt hopeful.

So after creating two rough and slightly wobbly beds the reality of what was actually needed to be even an amateur cut flower grower began to sink in. A total immersion in Georgie Newberry’s  The Flower Farmer’s Year’ taught me that I would need to build (or have fences built) around the small patch. I also got carried away with the idea of planting bulbs and having an early abundant crop of tulips, daffodils, ranculus and others to sell early at the farmers’ market. So in a cold and miserable October half term, with unthinking enthusiasm, I ordered just over 100 pounds worth of bulbs. As I write on a cold winter’s day with the remnants of snow still on the ground,  some of these rest unplanted in a brown cardboard box in my porch. This was the kind of reckless unplanned approach I wanted to avoid, but with leopards and spots it is hard to change the pattern.

Back to the fences…

Given a contact for a fencer, I bought chicken wire in a hurry and posts and staples too. Paid extra and over estimated measurements to get everything quickly only for fencer to cancel – car trouble and bad weather.

Contacted someone else and in the wettest grey of an October weekend the (hopefully) rabbit proof fence was erected at a height unfriendly to deer. Unfortunately, the cheerful little seedlings emerging from my first bed did not survive the trampling involved. Another reminder that establishing the basic structures first would have been sensible. Here is the stockade in November.

A rabbit proof fence

A rabbit proof fence

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