When I woke up this morning I looked out of the window and thought it had snowed during the night, yesterday afternoon the sky had looked like snow so I wasn’t surprised; but on going outside to check the greenhouse, I found that it wasn’t snow but hail! With the low temperatures the hail hadn’t thawed but remained coating the beds and some of the plants, this thyme doesn’t look very happy.
I have decided to report on the cuttings bed at least once a month; Julie at Peonies and Posies is posting about hers on the last Friday of each month, I will try to coincide my reports with hers in the hope that others too will join in and I will learn something from others who are far more experienced and I am!
Living in a place with summer drought means that unless plants are drought tolerant (which often means they flower in spring and then go dormant) or have large amounts of irrigation they do not survive. This means that it is impossible to just add a few plants or seeds to a border to have flowers to cut; last year I devoted one of the new beds that had been formed by the greenhouse to growing flowers to cut and the pleasure this gave me makes me even more keen to continue and for this year I have ‘stolen’ one of the smaller vegetable beds for the biennials that I planted last autumn.
The cutting bed is empty except for last year’s Antirrhinums, which seem unfazed by the cold (below zero centigrade) nights we have been experiencing during January. There is even a bud that is about to open so may well get picked this weekend and find its way into a vase on Monday. Dahlias are under a mound of compost and some Narcissus are just poking their shoots through the ground. Knautia and some asters are rosettes; they never seem to disappear completely here.
I had intended ordering some Dahlias from either Sarah Raven or Rose cottage plants; but the cost of delivery to Italy is high and given that last year the two dahlia s I planted were from a very cheap mixed pack from Lidl I decided to check out my local DIY store and Lidl this week. The DIY store had a good selection of dahlias in quite an array of colours. My list had included several different sizes and forms of white and there were a lot available; I have therefore purchased them! Last year I purchased them March and so planted them directly into the bed. All the information I have read says they should be potted up and planted out after the fear of frost has past. I don’t really have space in the greenhouse for pots of dahlias (seed-sowing is in full swing) so any advice would be most welcome. I am considering putting them in the attic where it is cool and dark, but I will remove them from their bags. Should I maybe cover them with slightly moist compost to keep them from drying out?
The four small trays on the left are all Rudbeckia seedlings.
I know creating a cuttings garden or bed is becoming very popular so if you are just beginning or are an experienced cut-flower do join in so we can all learn together.