Monthly Archives: March 2010

Cut flowers

So, this is b’s virgin post. I have been told I am no longer allowed to bring home scraps of paper with information on them, I must get with the programme and utilise the technology available.

So, cut flowers. We blatently have enough room for this in one or two of the beds near the polytunnel that are for the more permant stuff. I found this quite useful summary on the sorts of things to plant, where and when etc on the BBC website:

Where to grow

Most flowering plants prefer a sunny spot with well drained, fertile soil and some shelter from strong winds that could flatten stems or damage blooms. An allotment has traditionally been used for growing dahlias and chrysanthemums in long-serried rows, but if you’ve only got a small garden, this isn’t possible. However, many perennial flowers and bulbs can be grown in a border, while half hardy annuals can be grown wherever there’s an empty space.

It says: 

What to grow

Half hardy annuals

  • These flowers are among the easiest you can grow. Sow seed directly into the soil, or in seed trays between March and May, and you’ll quickly have a supply of flowers.
  • Among the best for cutting are the tobacco plants, including Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’, which has acid green blooms and N. sylvestris, whose stately white flowers look wonderful in a vase.
  • Zinnias come in lots of hot colours, including pink, orange and red, while snapdragons and tithonia (Mexican sunflower) are also worth growing.
  • Cosmos has striking flowers – try ‘Purity’ for its white blooms and ‘Dazzler’ for its shocking pink tone.
  • For something unusual, cleome or the spider flower is hard to beat. Among the best is white ‘Helen Campbell’.

Biennials

  • These flowers need sowing between May and July, and will flower the next year. Perhaps the best biennials for cutting are wallflowers – there are many different varieties in lots of different shades.
  • Erysimum cheiri ‘Fire King’, has orange flowers and Erysimum ‘Blood Red’, very dark red blooms.
  • Sweet Williams also make good cut-and-come-again flowers – Dianthus barbatus ‘Nigricans’ has spikes of dark purple flowers.

Perennials

  • These will provide you with lots of flowers, year after year. For long and prolific flower production, dahlias are hard to beat and can be grown en-masse or dotted into a border.
  • Dark varieties are very popular, and perhaps the best known is Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’. For something more unusual, go for striped ‘Pink Giraffe’ or ‘Chat Noir’, which has red cactus flowers and lasts forever in a vase.
  • Plant rooted cuttings or pot-grown plants in spring or as pot grown plants.
  • Other perennials worth growing are chocolate cosmos, for its gorgeous scented flowers and chrysanthemums, such as ‘Green Envy’, which has acid green heads and ‘Sam Oldham’ for its crimson flowers.
  • Alchemilla mollis has lots of frothy, lime-green flowers and is ideal at the edge of a bed.

Bulbs

  • Plant spring flowering bulbs at the end of summer and into early autumn.
  • Daffodils are ideal for cutting, as are tulips. There are many showy varieties including orange Tulipa ‘Ballerina’, frilly purple ‘Black Parrot’ and desirable T.acuminata, with spidery yellow petals.
  • The bulbous heads of allium are carried on long stems and look good in a vase. A.cristophii has huge purple heads in late spring, while A. ‘Purple Sensation’ has masses of rounded dark blooms on tall stems.

 

What to do

Picking

  • Pick regularly to encourage more blooms and to prevent flowers from trying to set seed.

Care

  • Keep plants well watered, especially during periods of drought.
  • Although dahlias and other tender varieties will survive a winter in a sheltered garden, they’ll need lifting or covering with a thick layer of mulch in exposed places.

I’m thinking some colour schemes would be nice, ya know, green and red for the kitchen, pink for the lounge etc. And just some ones we like 🙂


Mowing

We mowed the plot for the first time yesterday. It took 3 hours, but we recon once the chickens are in it will be a lot quicker because we will only be mowing half as much. Also may not keep the grass short in the orchard area. May mow swathes through the grass.


Permenant beds

Things for the permenant area.

1) cut flowers
2) strawberries
3) artichokes


Muscoveys

Can’t sleep. I’ve been thinking about what one of our neighbours said about a complaint against the previous owner about his cockril being too noisey. It’s making me think about ducks again. Muscoveys in particular. I just found this link on the accedental smallholder, a muscovey breeder in Kettering. I think we will still go with the backed neck meat chicks, but maybe not to breed on, maybe just for meat stocks. Keep the laying birds and not bother with a cockril. Everything I read about muscoveys makes me think they will be easy and quiet, which might make for an easier stress free life for us. With rabbit and duck meat, we may not need chickens. I now need to find out what age cocks start crowing.

Re: Muscovy ducks and table chickens for sale
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2010, 07:53:05 PM »
Hi, we have some hybrid light sussex X chicks, around 2 weeks old, still very small. All our eggs are currently being sat on. If interested in the chicks, feel free to call on 07545 999026. Thanks.


Polytunnel 2

Getting on well with clearing the polytunnel. It needs loads more water to improve the soil, and loads more manure, having to keep at it. The picture below show Becs looking delighted with her John Deere hat, we are still yet to start Deeredree, as it has been very wet today and Becs is unhappy to take it out of the garage when it’s wet (!) I can see this machine becoming a bit too pampered.


Harrowing

A nice man called Jack came and harrowed our pasture with a huge tractor and harrowing chains. £120. It now looks amazing! So much better, it really needed doing, so glad we invested in it. Now need to wait for a nice clear dry day to mow with our new John Deere, which we have decided to call Deeredree.


Bee Nucleus

http://www.fragile-planet.co.uk/buydb.php?Key=47

Shropshire bee producer. Nucleus ready from May. Need to get on and build our hive.