I posted the other day about the successes and failures on my cut flower patch this year. In this post I thought I’d share with you my plans for next year. I’m getting excited already!!
Back in July I sowed some Sweet Williams, Sweet Rocket and some Honesty. These are all biennials, so you sow one year, they put on some growth and then the following year they flower. I love biennials, you can sow them between July and September, at an otherwise quiet time of the year. You then plant them up where you want them to grow next year and then they sit there through the autumn and winter tantalising you to the prospect of what is to come. If you’ve never grown biennials before and you’re worried about the state they’re in after the winter, don’t. Mine looked pretty sorry for themselves after last winters snow and minus 16 degrees C but they soon perked up when spring came.
I’ve also planted some bulbs, some Anemone coronaria and some Gladiolus colvillei ‘The Bride’.
This year I definitely lacked enough filler flowers and foliage so my plan for next year is to improve this. I found Alchemilla mollis to be a brilliant filler. It’s lime green flowers contrasted beautifully with so many other flowers and it lasted well once cut. An added bonus is that it self seeds very freely so I am moving little plants that have self sown in the garden up to the allotment and I am edging all around one of the beds with Alchemilla. In the centre will be the early flowering Gladioli and once these finish flowering I will have some later flowering plants waiting in pots to go in.
I have sitting in my cold frame a whole array of hardy annuals that I sowed back in September in the hope I will be able to get an early supply of flowers. These include Scabious, Nigella, Orlaya and Bupleurum. Although the mild autumn has meant they have put on more growth than I would have liked. I just hope they don’t succumb to botrytis. But there’s nothing really lost if they don’t make it, I’ll just sow another batch in March and have slightly later flowers.
My main aim is to make the space work as efficiently as possible. Any flowers really have to earn their place, which means they produce over a long period of time and have a good vase life. So with this in mind I won’t be growing any Calendula or Dahlias at the allotment. I love both but they just don’t last very long when cut. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a spot for them in my garden though. I’m trying some Larkspur next year and some annual Asters. The Zinnias I grew this year just flowered and flowered but it was a mix and some of the colours were difficult to use with other flowers so I think I will go for single mixes next year, there are some particularly beautiful colours in the Plants of Distinction seed catalogue along with a great choice of Antirrhinums. I will definitely be growing Didiscus ‘Blue Lace’ again, it took a while to get going but was so unusual.
And of course there will be Sweet peas. There vase life is not great but they produce so many flowers over such a long period and their scent is so amazing that they are a must. I had 3 teepees this year which was a good amount. There was a period when I had so many I couldn’t pick them fast enough and I was having to give them away at the allotment but nobody complained.
I will also be extending my bean netting support system to a third bed. I only used it on 2 beds partly because of expense and partly because I thought the other plants (rudbeckias) would be strong enough to support themselves. And for most of the season they were but then we had quite a stormy patch at the start of September and the rain and heavy winds meant the plants flopped over and some stems broke. It’s always hard to resurrect plants after this has happened. Some I’m just going to bite the bullet and net the third bed.
Growing cut flowers this year gave me so much pleasure. I can’t wait to see what I can do next year. If anyone has any suggestions for great cut flowers let me know.