JOHN’S JOURNAL

Creating Your Own Cut Flower Garden

It’s a lovely time of year in the garden, luscious green growth in abundance with a sequential pattern of new flowers appearing, but you shouldn’t simply let these just be in the garden, it’s also lovely to cut flowers and fill a vase on a windowsill or table, especially if there happens to be a fragrance! Many plants can bloom not only once, but twice or thrice, making them the perfect counterpart for foraging sprays of flowers from, or some plants foraging foliage so let’s have a look at what’s involved in making your own cut flower garden.

Now most flowering perennials love a sunny aspect, south is ideal but if this isn’t possible then west is also good! You don’t need a big space either and if you want you can make it a raised bed too. You can grow up to 5 perennials in one square metre so a raised bed being the length of a railway sleeper, and half a railway sleeper wide is 3 square metres, giving you scope for 15x different plants! Make sure you improve any existing soil with the addition of some rotted organic matter like spent manure, mushroom compost or compost off the compost heap, and if it’s freshly imported soil make sure its grade 1 with organic matter mixed in, this helps keep the soil structure open and also gives the plants a nice boost of nutrients when you plant them.

Then it’s onto your plant choice. Now as a centrepiece you could go for a small Hydrangea tree, this will sit above with a straight 1m tall stem still giving you space to underplant, it will also aid the design of the bed and with it being prunable annually it will never get out of hand. Then I would position a pair of Nepeta (Catmint) either end as with its beautiful flowers appearing 3 times through the Summer it is the perfect counterpart to a pink white and blue colour scheme, or it can add depth to oranges, reds and yellows and with its lavender like flower sprays it’s a real must.

Then work your way through the seasons, Alliums are a splendid bulb not only for cut flowers but also their delightful seedheads, Geums bear fiery colours to add a highlight or orange, red or yellow. Then continue to choose plants that are either unique like Peonies, or maybe have the ability to repeat bloom, Delphiniums, Lupins and Foxgloves will all flower a second time if you cut the flowering stem back once the flowers are in their prime. Always make sure the plants get a good feed once you begin to remove any flowers. Tomato feed is the perfect pep up and always apply Vitax Q4 in the Spring around the base of the plant. Even little plants like Erigeron can sit around the edge, perfect for making a daisy chain with! Dahlias are also a must giving you every colour of the rainbow!

It’s sometimes a good idea to fill your bed with flowers as the year progresses, this way you will know that you have something different for each month and don’t be scared of hot colours leading into the Autumn months, Mother Nature uses that colour pallete all around us at that time of year!

 

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

How far do I cut Nepeta back after flowering?

You will see the new shoots appearing from the base, give it a hard trim back down to these, taking the old flowering stems down to 2 inches (5cm) then it’s always a good idea to give them a boost of energy with some Tomato food which helps promote more flowers in a few weeks time.

Is Miracle Grow not good for flowering plants?

There’s not enough phosphorus and potassium in it, and a bit too much nitrogen, this then causes lots of green leaves and energy to produce leaves but the plant therefore doesn’t think much about flowering and it can also be prone to flopping over due to it having grown too tall, always stick to Vitax Q4 for flowering plants.

Can Hydrangeas grow in a shady spot?

Yes they can grow in shade as long as it’s not dry shade as they like the soil normal or moist, the word Hydrangea stems from the green term Hydor meaning water and angos meaning vessel, so water vessel is their translation!

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

 

Plant of The Week

Camassia ‘Alba’

A beautiful white form of Camassia which is great for threading through planting or also incorporating into wildflower meadows, likes sun or partial shade and doesn’t mind growing in a wet soil.