After last year’s debacle with the non-growing vegetables that yielded about six carrots and a few lettuce leaves, I decided to try growing cut flowers instead.
The space in the garden for growing things is intentionally very limited, since tending time is spread out and infrequent. It’s rather like having a very inconvenient allotment rather than a back garden. But it has, nonetheless, been relatively successful this year.
Of course, some things didn’t grow at all and others did very well. But overall the amount of flowers was just right. Not overwhelmingly many – although it would have been nice to have had a few more to give away – and not so few that I regretted cutting them. Having a plot just for growing flowers for cutting means that you don’t feel guilty about removing from the garden, and the insects, what is rightfully theirs.
The seeds came from Higgledy Garden with a lovely, handwritten letter from Ben Ranyard. He only supplies seed that he has produced himself on his plot in Cornwall and, although he has only just moved there from Cambridgeshire (I think), that’s proof that things will grow in this part of the world, maybe even on my exposed hillside.
I planted about half of each seed packet, not bothering to sow inside first and then plant out. They just went straight into the ground on a windy and wet, late May morning in little rows, the order of which I noted (applause!) and that quite coincidentally went from A to Z from left to right. The seed packets weren’t marked with sowing instructions and I should have taken more care to look at Ben’s excellent online guides than I did but, given my rather hit and miss approach, I’ve been very pleased with the results.
My favourite has been the phlox, which has an old-fashioned, cottagey look about it and, yet, is quite geometric and modern looking. The ammi majus (kind of delicate cow parsley), eschscholzia (California poppies), nigella and gypsophila have been great, and I’ve completely loved the tall, dark purple cornflowers, which were substituted for the blue that I ordered (I’m very happy about that as they’ve been stunning). The lupins came up and were eaten before I even managed to see them, which wasn’t their fault but mine. The cosmos purity, which should have grown well, have disappointingly managed only one flower so far. The zinnias are only just starting to grow, so the pack of spring sowing varieties have been well spread out over the summer months, which has been perfect.
I’ve got some seed over for next year, if it’ll keep that long, and have separated out the hardy annuals for sowing next month for next spring. That’s really something to look forward to.