When we took photos for the January and February photo shoots last year, it had been a really mild winter here in Surrey. We only had 5 frosts the whole of the 2015/2016 winter season.
This winter season 2016/2017, it's been the opposite. The earliest frosts i've known, and 4 of them in November, and then an Easterly wind (usually South Westerly here) has meant that the ground was frozen solid for 9 days in January.
When we started to write this blog, we promised ourselves that we would only write about those flowers you could truly get hold of at that point in time throughout the country. There would be no photos of imports pretending to be British Flowers, no fudging the issue.
But The British Weather is what growers and florists have to deal with when dealing with British Flowers.
That may mean that crops are delayed from their usual timings.
That may mean there are less flowers produced than planned, as flower production slows down when it's cold.
Conversely it speeds up when hot, so crops can go over quickly or open faster than planned in the summer
And then there's rain, and hail and......
Yes it's not as easy to know for sure what British Flowers are available on a chosen date as if you're buying from the international wholesale markets.
We hope however that the information that we'll give you this year on this blog and in the book, will help you to work with the British Weather.
Does the fact that it's been a freezing January mean that British Growers have had nothing to sell?
Well no, The daffodils from Cornwall have been fantastic. The Scented Narcissus have smelt gorgeous. The Alstroemerias have continued to bloom in greenhouses in Cornwall, Sussex and Lincolnshire. Tulips of all colours have been picked daily all over the Fens, and foliage, branches, and forced bulbs have been used from all corners of this Island.
The British Weather will do it's worst, but there's always something available.