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What a difference a week makes
8th March 2018
This time last week we were watching the snow fall wonder if our flowers and even more importantly our wind break hedges would survive the freezing weather. We tried to enjoy the snow with our children but that was hard to do when we could see the potential disaster looming of very few flowers for Mother's Day, our second busiest time of the year. On Scilly we had a very fast thaw and then we spent the weekend nervously checking the flowers in the field and vase testing some that had been picked, looking for signs of damage. Over the weekend the temperature rocketed, the flowers perked up and we got picking.
Of course, the cold weather had some affect. We didn't have the flower numbers we had planned for and the flowers we did have were a little shorter. To make sure as many Mum's as possible could enjoy some scented narcissi we only sold our smaller boxes and some people took us up on our offer of a gift card with a free extra bunch after Mother's Day. This combined with some warm sunshine and some speedy picking meant disaster was averted. This afternoon, with all the Mother's Day flowers safely on the boat and planes heading to the mainland we are bathed in spring sunshine, what a difference a week makes.
It's been snowing
28th February 2018
We hardly ever get snow , it is normally a little flutter that is gone in a few minutes but today the islands have turned white and it has lasted long enough for a few snowmen to be built. More snow pictures of St Martin's here...
Love on an Island flower farm
5th February 2018
Back in spring last year we were contacted by the author Phillipa Ashley with a research request. Phillipa was writing a new book in her, 'Little Cornish Isles' series and her plan was to set her next book on an Isles of Scilly flower farm. We occasionally get odd requests but this one definitely rated on the intrigue scale. After establishing that Phillipa wasn't after the ins and outs of anyone's love life but just technical information about growing flowers on Scilly we offered to help. Then in late summer Phillipa came to to see us in person, the first time I have given a farm tour tailored to the needs of a romantic novelist.
The book - Spring on the Little Cornish Isles, will be available from February the 19th on Kindle and out in paperback in April and can be pre-ordered now through Amazon.
Phillipa Ashley is the author of the best-selling Cornish Cafe series. Before she became a full-time writer, she studied English at Oxford and worked as a copywriter and journalist. As Pippa Croft, Phillipa also writes as the Oxford Blue series which is published by Penguin Books.
Special offer code at the end of the full article - read on!
OK I admit I am hardly likely to approach this topic from a point of non-biased objectivity, but I will try to at least be a little bit fair and in that spirit I will allow the roses to go first.
Good things about Valentine Roses
- totally beautiful. You can’t really dispute their aesthetic appeal. Beautifully proportioned, often in rich luxurious shades with a myriad of petals in each head.
- the traditional flower of love and that is what the day is all about.
Happy New Year
2nd January 2018
December seems to have whizzed past at Churchtown Farm in its normal frenetic rush. We start planning for Christmas way back in the summer. It is by far our busiest time of year and has to be planned with military precision to make sure all your Christmas boxes of flowers leave Scilly in good time to make it through the Christmas post. We were very fortunate with the weather this year. When we were sending the largest amounts of flowers we enjoyed calm seas and clear skies. After a few days off over Christmas and New Year we are all back at the farm, the pickers have just come in with armfuls of lovely fresh scented narcissi and there are plenty of boxes leaving this morning with Happy New Year and Christmas thank you messages. Thank you to all our customers for your Christmas flower orders and Happy New Year from all of us at Churchtown Farm.
Ooops it's stopped working
29th November 2017
Although we are talented bunch not all the skills needed to keep Churchtown Farm running can be found on St Martin's or even on Scilly. There are a few crucial jobs that require more expert help. One of these is servicing and major repairs to our tractors and quad bike. For this we call on the services of Colin from Vincent Tractors. Colin normally calls on us in the autumn and stays a night or two whilst he services not just the Churchtown Farm tractors but any other St Martin's tractor that needs attention. On going dinks, niggles and 'oops it has stopped working' issues that happen between Colin visits are normally fixable by Ben and Jon scratching their heads and applying a spanner. Unfortunately last week, there was a rather nasty crunching sound and it soon became clear that we had problem way beyond Ben and Jon's spanner skills. With the busy Christmas period approaching the only answer was to call for Colin. Back he came armed with overalls and tool box for a quick unscheduled St Martin's trip. Tractor is now in full working order and Colin is on boat and plane back home. Thank you to Vincent Tractors, Colin and Colin's wife Mandy ( who has to hold the fort at their farm when Colin is with us.)
It must be winter on St Martin's because .....
24th November 2017
There are only one or two boats left on their moorings and none on the beach.
Shop is closed in the afternoons.
When the pub is open you make sure you go - it certainly isn't any every day occurrence!
If a non St Martin's resident calls in at the Farm they get offered cup of coffee and profusely thanked for making the trip.
No more swimming on Wednesday afternoons, we have swapped to exercise videos in the Island Hall - can anyone recommend an EASY zumba DVD?
AND a real tell-tale sign.... the first Quizz Night poster has just gone up!
'Recycled' turnips = better flowers
16th November 2017
Our small herd of Red Ruby Devon cattle are busy conservation grazing on Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust land out on the more wild, windward side of St Martin's, above Great Bay. In the last month we have had two new calves. It is always an interesting sport trying to find the new, bracken coloured, calf when the cows are grazing extensively over a large area, it can take a while but if you keep an eye on the new mum you can usually tell when you are getting warm. Over the winter the cows will move around to various places on the island including coming back on the Churchtown Farm land. Here they will graze on turnips, planted on land that is having a rest from growing scented narcissi. The 'recycled' turnips in turn improve the soil health = lovely flowers.
P.S. I failed to get the ultimate picture - cute small calf stood on grassy hillock with sea and rainbow in the background. What I ended up with was blurred furry blob whizzing out of shot so placid cow and rainbow will have to do!
New season scented narcissi are here!
16th October 2017
This has to be one of our earliest years for the start of the narcissi season! We are now picking these gorgeous sunny flowers just in time to cheer us all up before the storms!
You can order online or if you prefer to chat you can call our friendly office team on 01720 422 169 who would be more than happy to help.
Our 1,500,000 milestone!
29th August 2017
After spending the weekend number watching we finally reached our 1.5 millionth order!
There was much excitement in the office as to who was going to take this magic order, the honor went to Geoff. Thank you to all our loyal fans and customers who have supported us over the years!
Treasure in the fields
14th August 2017
The outside boys have been making lots of interesting finds in the fields this month. So far they have found some pieces of eight, what we believe to be the handle of a musket, an old coin and a small ceramic pot thingy which we can't quite decide what it is! Feel free to get in touch if you have any ideas! These treasures make a change from the usual clay pipes and limpet shells which were brought into the fields from the sea when farmers used to bring up large quantities of seaweed to enrich the soil.
Our scented pinks are here!
22nd June 2017
It may have taken us a bit longer than we were hoping but we are finally sending gorgeous boxes of our scented pinks. After all the stunning hot weather we have been having recently the pinks are flourishing and our pickers are being kept very busy indeed!
Brand NEW website
22nd May 2017
Drum roll please .............. We are proud to announce the arrival of our new website. It has been quite a lengthy process but we have finally got there. We hope you like it, it is a bit easier on the eye than our last site and it works a lot better on tablets and mobiles so you can order flowers easily whenever you choose.
No doubt there will be a few teething issues so if you find any problems please let us know - 01720 422169 firstname.lastname@example.org
We have nearly started picking scented pinks
14th May 2017
Nearly but not quite! After glorious weather at Easter we thought we would be ahead of the game this year but the wind changed direction and the chilly air has rather slowed down the progress of our summer crop. We hope to be picking enough scented pinks by the 1st week in June - fingers crossed!
On Friday 2nd September we were the proud and very excited hosts of some very special guests - William & Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
In the days leading up to our visit, the farm was given a thorough once over by the police and sniffer dogs who even checked our boxes of ribbons for anything suspicious!
On the big day we woke up to thick sea-fog and resigned ourselves to the fact that our VIP visitors wouldn't be able to make it.