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Dahlia

It has been a while since I posted about my cut flower patch. This has been mainly to do with the weather. I’m so glad this wasn’t my first year on my plot, otherwise I may be wondering why I had thought getting an allotment was such a good idea. In many ways it has been my flowers that have suffered the most in all the rain. There were some days when I didn’t want to even look at the flower beds. Even worse, is catching sight of photos from last year. The comparison between 2011’s floral abundance and this year’s damp squib makes my heart sink.

Daucus carota 'Black Knight'

Daucus carota ‘Black Knight’

It hasn’t been a complete disaster though and perseverance has paid off. This is the first year I have grown Daucus carota ‘Black Knight’ and Ammi visnaga but both proved to be difficult to get going. The first sowings were eaten by slugs and the second failed to germinate; I’m sure they rotted because it was just so wet. Not one to give up though, I sowed some in seed trays and nurtured them to a decent size before planting out. And finally, in the last week or so I have flowers on both plants. It’s really quite late in the season but better late than never.

Cosmos 'Candy Stripe'

Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’

My Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’ are flowering now and should go on until the first frosts.

Scabious have been one of my great successes. Another new introduction to my cutting patch, not only have they provided plenty of flowers, I’ve discovered that their seed heads are very pretty and look lovely used in arrangements, too. And, if that wasn’t enough, the insects can’t get enough of them. Every day now they are covered in hoverflies, bees and butterflies.

Nasturtiums have given not only a splash of heat from their red flowers, even on the dullest and wettest of days, they have been a great addition to salads and I’ve discovered that they last about 5 days if picked and put in a vase.

Dahlia

It’s not just my own plot though that is providing a splash of colour amongst the fruit and veg. There is a large patch of fennel on one plot. I love its architectural flowers and their yellow umbels are a magnet for hoverflies.

More and more flowers have appeared on site this year and I’m particularly envious of one neighbour’s plot and his zinnias, rudbeckias and asters. His allotment shows the difference having a greenhouse makes, especially when our weather isn’t playing ball. He also buys his plants in as plug plants which is something I may consider next year, although I’m always disappointed at the varieties on offer and the large quantities in which you have to buy. I really don’t want 24 plants of one type of rudbeckia!

In my garden, the brilliant purple of Verbena bonariensis is providing a great source of nectar for the butterflies which have appeared at last. I love it and the shot of colour it provides and I’ve got my fingers crossed it might still attract a hummingbird hawkmoth into the garden this year. Along with it are the plumes of Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’ and the excellent Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ which does exactly what it says, sending out blooms from late June right through until late October.

Hydrangea 'Lime Light'

Hydrangea ‘Lime Light’

In complete contrast, in the shady border, Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ has large panicles of ivory-white flowers. My shady border is really at its best in spring and I’ve found it hard to keep the interest going into the latter part of the year so I’m particularly chuffed to see that ‘Limelight’, planted last autumn, seems very happy in its spot. Continuing the white theme is Anemone japonica ‘Honorine Jobert’. It’s white flowers and yellow centres slightly remind me of a poached egg. It is much better behaved than the pink varieties which have a tendency to take over a border and such a pure white at this time of year is a welcome change from the more autumnal colours of my sunnier borders.

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