Late February sees the start of our yearly horticultural cycle when the first seedlings that need most time to develop begin to make their appearance. From then on, our polytunnels gradually fill up as the seedlings are pricked out into boxes and other tiny plug plants arrive from growers. Timing is all important, for plants must be given time to mature, but taken to chosen sites before they have become too soft to withstand the change to harsher conditions outdoors.
In May around 100 hanging baskets are planted up and hang in these sheltered conditions for several weeks. This is our busiest time, for as well as hanging baskets, window boxes, tubs and containers must be bedded out as soon as the danger of frost has passed. Thereafter, volunteer waterers in teams of two, do sterling work tending the needs of displays by tractor and trailer.
To keep plants in peak condition, this daily task, which can take nearly two hours, must be carried out from June until mid September, while many residents also tend displays around their homes. Local gardens and house fronts always reflect the great effort expended by residents and business owners and their industry and interest is always recognised when we present our Community Awards as the season draws to a close.
In 2003 after our first participation in Britain in Bloom, we received a Silver Award while the Royal Horticultural judges also saw fit to award Falkland the Discretionary Award for Horticultural Excellence. Despite our expertise with flowers, however, hugely important is our need to ensure that colourful floral displays, however attractive, do not detract from the interesting architecture and natural appeal of our village. As a result we work hard at maintaining an acceptable balance in the number of displays and the co-ordination of the colours on show.