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Cornflower

The sun shone on Saturday, after another week of heavy rain, giving me the opportunity to get up to the plot for the final push. This is the latest I have left the planting out of half hardies and tender plants. Often dictated by an upcoming holiday, I would normally expect to have empty cold frames by the start of June but not this year. Difficult weather conditions have meant a slow start to the growing season. Plants such as rudbeckias and zinnias are a quarter of the size they were this time last year.

Whilst some plants have struggled, it has been great weather for grass and weeds, unfortunately. Wellyman was on hand to tidy up the paths at the plot. With no strimmer and only hand shears to keep everything in check its a job neither of us enjoy but a trim every 3 weeks or so is better than leaving it and letting it get out of control.

Nigella damascena

Nigella damascena ‘Double White’ on the cut flower patch

I weeded the whole plot, which took an hour and a half. The ground was nice and soft after the rain making the weed removal easy. My problem weeds are speedwell, hairy bittercress and, in one bed, bindweed but none of them are too bad, mainly because I do as little digging as possible.

The last patch of stocks was removed. They had been such great plants, straggly looking things I’ll grant you, but they had been flowering since last October and had provided so many bunches of gloriously scented flowers, I’m slightly sad to see them go. They were finally giving up the ghost, though and I needed the space, so in their place are now some larkspurs and zinnias.

The plot in June

The plot in June

I managed to squeeze in two dahlias which I’d stored in the downstairs loo over winter. Potted up in April they have spent the last couple of months in the cold frame and have made good-sized plants, one is even about to flower. I have no idea which varieties they are, somewhere along the line their labels have disappeared. Still, it’ll be a nice surprise when they do flower.

The last plants went into the cut flower patch; cornflowers, gypsophila, rudbeckias and godetia. The plants were a little smaller than I would have liked them to be but I’m going to be away for a while, so they need to fend for themselves. I’m hoping I’m going to have enough flowers to take me through to October and for my first foray into the world of the horticulture show. If I can get myself organised I’ve decided to enter some flowers into one of my local shows. I haven’t decided which show yet or had a look at the schedules to see which class I’ll enter. See what I mean about needing to get organised.

Sweet Williams

Sweet Williams – I possibly didn’t need quite so many plants

Fortunately, the heavy rain and gale force winds didn’t do too much damage but some extra staking and tying in was necessary. The broad beans were now tall enough to pinch out the growing tips, this encourages the plants to divert their energy into producing pods and also helps to discourage black fly. Don’t put them on the compost heap though, they are really nice steamed – a bit like spinach but with a mild broad bean flavour.

So that’s it for another year, the seed sowing and plant nurturing frenzy of spring is over. I always feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief when the cold frames and window sills are emptied and the plot fills up with plants. But there’s little time to rest on my laurels as June is the perfect time to sow biennials. Better go and dig out my seed tins.

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