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.
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’.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Pick regularly to encourage more blooms and to prevent flowers from trying to set seed.
- 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 🙂