Slight change of plan…this blog was supposed to be letting you know that we’re building a new polytunnel to grow our summer pinks. That’s rather fallen by the wayside since the new year, because of the storm force winds, super high spring tides and driving rain that we’ve been experiencing for the last five weeks.
So instead we’re going to talk about this wild weather and tell you how we cope with it. Nothing much stops us getting out in the fields to pick flowers, except earlier this week when a couple of our taller guys couldn’t stay on their feet, so we called them in early one afternoon. But then we noticed the barometer in our cottage had swung to the lowest reading we have ever seen, and a gust of wind was recorded at 105 miles an hour. So they’re forgiven! But usually, our dedicated pickers are out in the fields – come what may.
So far we’ve escaped with only minor damage. High winds are not that unusual on Scilly, particularly in the winter. We have most things tied down and securely fastened as a matter of course, as well as tried and tested procedures for ‘gale proofing’ the farm for situations such as those we are currently experiencing. The new occupants of the Sevenstones, our Island pub had a close call when one of the largest trees on the island fell down over their house. Luckily it all happened quite slowly so the house was engulfed by the tree rather than damaged. They did wonder why it had gone quite so dark in their living room! Ben Gillett from St Martin’s Campsite dusted off his tree surgeon kit and helped them sort it all out and we are looking forward plenty of open fires at the pub when it re-opens in the early spring.
Lots of lovely people have also been asking how our flowers are fairing in the storms when they’ve called up to place an order and make the most of our current offer. We’re pleased to say that they are doing very well because the farm is designed to protect them from the weather. You may have noticed that our flower fields are quite small with high hedges around their edges. They do a fantastic job at being windbreaks, shielding the dainty narcissi and the not-so-dainty pickers from the worst of the weather. And then we have to juggle our postage schedule according to whether or not there are flights and boats. So last week, for example, our Tuesday flowers left on Monday and Wednesday’s order doubled up with Thursday’s flowers. We are of course very grateful to our customers for being so understanding of the complexities of island weather!
We’re used to being flexible at the best of times and simply getting on with what needs to be done. But that doesn’t stop us wanting spring to arrive – and soon – so that we can all calm down, and at least get the polytunnel in place!