|Cut flowers with visiting butterfly|
To kick myself off, I bought a handful of perennials from the garden centre (mainly to trial them as cutting flowers) and popped them into the ground. I then bought some packs of seeds from the absolutely fantastic Higgledy Garden, made some lines with string and filled up most of my space. And then I waited a bit and weeded between the rows a bit. As ever with annuals, it feels like nothing could ever grow fast enough to pick this year but from around 4 weeks ago I have had non-stop flowers to pick.
The photo I have posted at the top is from last week and everything I've used in those vases are keepers. What I love most is that they are also (mostly) really insect friendly and as you can see a butterfly popped by to have a snack whilst I was taking my picture. So far my favourites from my trials have been:
- Calendula 'Art Shades' & 'Indian Prince'.
- Cornflower 'Black Ball'
- Cerinthe Major Purpurascens (such a snappy name!)
- Cosmos 'Purity'
- Sunflower 'Vanilla Ice'
- Echinacea Purpurea
- Rudbeckia 'Marmalade'
- Rudbeckia Hirta 'Prairie Sun' & 'Autumn Colours' (these have been really great performers)
- Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting Sweet Pea)
- Leucanthemum 'Broadway Lights'
I also have some perennials I hope to trial properly next year as I sowed the seeds in this which include a couple of the Aquilegia Barlow family, mixed Delphiniums and Knautia 'Melton Pastels'. I sowed some (very late!) Sweet Peas that are just coming into flower. Unfortunately the marker pen I used has proven not to be as waterproof as advertised so I have absolutely no idea what the gorgeous varieties now emerging are but they are great to mix in with the flowers from the very prolific everlasting variety which is sadly scentless.
|(some of) today's flowers|
Even though the Summer is not over, I'm already thinking about the changes I want to make so next year I'm also going to trial:
Annuals: Ammi Majus, Ammi Visage, Bupleurum Griffithii, Celosia 'Flamingo Feather' & Dill Mammoth which should have more impact than the bog standard version I had this year. I'm also thinking about possibly adding some Larkspur as I might feel less guilty about picking them than I do about my mixed Delphiniums!
Perennials: Echinacea Primadonna White, Echinops 'Ritro', a long stemmed Lavender and mixed Scabiosa too.
I also need to think about how I extend the life of my picking season. I'm really lucky in that the "wilderness" part of my garden is absolutely filled with bluebells in spring - so many that I can happily cut them for a few weeks. I also have several large clumps of chives which I used as early flowers along with a few daffodils that I allowed myself to pick very sparingly from the main garden.
Overall, I am really pleased with the transition from veg patch to cutting garden and am already looking forward to Version 2.0 in 2015!