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Flowers for Cutting

June 18, 2015

This week is British Flowers Week and even the smallest balcony, garden or allotment offers space to grow cut flowers rather than buying imported ones.  Last year a bed on the allotment measuring about 2 m x 1 m kept me in flowers for the house from May until October.  Ranunculus ‘Aviv Red’…

download (1) started the season followed by dahlias in June and these flowered until autumn both providing  substantial pickings. Annuals such as ‘Love in a Mist’, Calendula, cosmos and nasturtiums provided extra padding throughout the summer season. I rarely buy flowers now apart from the odd bunch of tulips early in Spring and I pick flowers for the kitchen table and a huge vase for the hall table twice a week for many months.

So in April I re-designed a bed in the garden to extend my cut flower obsession. It’s been fairly successful but in reality it’s less a cutting bed more a take-away for slugs and snails. Five Salvia, five Ammi majus and four Cosmos ‘Sensation’ have been razed to the ground and the G. psilostemon …DSCN4792

has grown huge and although fantastic cut with bright pink roses it’s smothering the Achillea ‘Moonshine’ and providing cover for the slugs and snails.  But the roses planted several years ago are holding this cutting bed together especially the striped and scented R. Ferdinand Pichard…

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and the rambler R. Veilchenblau which covers the wall with its dark magenta clusters that fade to lilac…

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The Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ is flowering too and scenting the garden…

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And this new bed has definitely been improved by Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’…

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and Alchemilla mollis planted in the front of the border edging the path…

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So a bit of re-jigging of the bed maybe required in autumn and I’m inclined to re-position the G. psilostemon at the back of a border. It sprawls but I value the flowers so will need to keep it.  I would love to plant peonies inspired as I am by Julie’s blog Peonies and Posies. They make awesome flowers in the border and associate well with roses and look stunning in a vase but that said they will flower in May and June and then they’re over. So perhaps one just accepts that in a relatively small garden having one’s heart’s desire is too much to ask.

On the allotment the rainbow chard has started flowering a sure sign that is will now slow down production of the lovely leaves.  A friend who grows her own and is a brilliant and imaginative forager passed on this hot tip. She cuts off all the young flowering stems from the top and sides of the plant and gently steams them. We did this last night and they were tender and sweet with a delicious chard flavour and now the row can be cropped for a few more weeks.

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And on the subject of productive plants I’ve been carefully observing the crimson flowered broad bean outside the kitchen door.  It went from scented flowers to dried up flowers to small beans in the space of a week and the pods are now growing bigger by the day. It explains why on the allotment I was suddenly picking fat broad beans when ten days before there was nothing to be seen.

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The cut flowers this week are the  hybrid musk rose R.Felicia with Stachys lanata and G.Psilostemon.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2015 1:25 pm

    I’d love peonies too but like you don’t have the space, which is a real pity. It’s hard to accept I can’t grow everything. 😉 Sorry to hear about the slugs. Song thrushes seem to keep slugs at bay on my allotment but the garden is another story. At least this dry weather has meant the need for fewer slug patrols.

  2. June 26, 2015 2:18 pm

    This year the slugs have been a nightmare not helped by me planting Lupins in three pots on the terrace. I dug them out this morning and replaced with Ikea hydrangeas reduced to 50p !!!

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