My cut flower patch is such an important part of my allotment. Last year was my first year and my ideas about using some of my plot for flowers were greeted with some scepticism by the established allotment growers who couldn’t understand why I’d wasted so much of the plot on putting in paths, let alone devoting soil to growing flowers instead of potatoes and onions. However, it seems like the flower bug is catching and I won’t be the only one this year with blooms brightening up the site. A couple of the older growers were asking me where I bought my seed from, so I passed around a few seed catalogues and dished out some packets of seed I had collected last autumn. Then on a visit at the weekend I was chatting to two of them and they were telling me all about their plans for cut flowers!! Not such a strange idea after all.
My own patch is taking shape with the biennials and autumn sown annuals coming into their own. The much-anticipated flowering of the sweet williams has just started in the last week and I’ve been able to fill a good 2 buckets full of sweet rocket, honesty, alchemilla, orlaya and the last of the stocks.
Yesterday I got up to the plot early in the hope I could get a lot done before it got so hot that I started to wilt. I had to make two trips with the wheelbarrow, transporting little plants from home to the plot so that the first big plant out could commence. In went some annual asters, daucus ‘Black Knight’, white antirrhinums, didiscus, some pinks grown from cuttings taken in March and some bupleurum. There were also some small plants of lettuce, beetroot and chard for the edible part of the plot.
Still at home and waiting for the second round of planting out are zinnias, rudbeckias, cosmos, sunflowers, cornflowers, gaura, dill, gypsophila and a few more larkspur. Oh, and two dahlias. It’ll be touch and go as to whether I can fit all this in. There was quite a lot of standing around with hands on hips looking thoughtful, on Sunday, wondering whether I’d had the garden equivalent of piling my plate too high at a buffet because my eyes were bigger than my stomach. My imagination is certainly bigger than any available land I have but I’m sure with a bit of jiggling around I can do it. That’s squeezing plants in and not me doing some strange dance, by the way.
The great thing about gardening is that each year is different and new opportunities open up. I’m still very much learning just how much I can cram into a small space and for how long I can get the season to last. Plans are already being formulated for which biennials to sow later next month and which hardy annuals I’ll sow this autumn. But, for the moment, I’m enjoying this year’s first pickings from my cut flower patch.