The Cutting beds in July

I like to review the cuttings beds each month as it helps me understand what works and what needs to be improved.  So it is useful that Julie at Peonies and posies also writes about her wonderful cutting garden at the end of the month and this prompts me to do the same.

As I’ve mentioned in almost every post this month, it has been hotter than usual and without any rain until last Friday.  Since then the days have continued hot, never below 34°C but the evenings and nights have been cooler.  In the early morning there has even been some moisture on the ground and in the air which gives the plants some relief.

This is the largest cuttings bed with dahlias, Cosmos, Antirrhinums, Ami majus

This is the largest cuttings bed with dahlias, Cosmos, Antirrhinums, Ami majus

The Cosmos in this bed are actually self seeded from last years crop, I left them because they seemed to be stronger plants than my freshly sown seeds but I don’t think they are producing as many flowers; the dark mix Cosmos from Sara Raven have produced copious amounts of flowers, such that many have actually not even been picked but added to the compost heap as they have begun producing seed.

dahlia Magenta Star continues to be just that, an amazingly productive dahlia that cost virtually nothing

Dahlia Magenta Star continues to be just that, an amazingly productive dahlia that cost virtually nothing

You can see a seedhead of the Echinacea that I planted out last year, I should have picked them so that they produced more flowers, I’ll do that now and hope for a second flush later in the month.

All the dahlias were flowering when I arrived home at the beginning of July and have continued to produce new flowers throughout the month

All the dahlias were flowering when I arrived home at the beginning of July and have continued to produce new flowers throughout the month

Cosmos are a definite favourite

Cosmos are a definite favourite

Sunflowers are fun but can be difficult to arrange and if they are to be planted again in the asparagus bed, it needs more compost to enrich it.

Sunflowers are fun but can be difficult to arrange and if they are to be planted again in the asparagus bed, it needs more compost to enrich it.

Tithonia are new to me this year

Tithonia are new to me this year

I am a little disappointed with the Rudbeckia but I think they need richer soil and this bed, in particular needs the addition of more compost; it also needs to have raised sides to contain more soil.

Zinnias, a new found favourite

Zinnias, a new found favourite

What I have learned this month (year) is that the plants would be much better planted in blocked rather than rows.  I know why I have planted in rows, it is because that is how the irrigation tubes are laid; the beds are 1.2 m wide and there are four tubes, I might just add another length of tube to each bed to make it easier to plant in staggered rows across the bed.

This year I have put in bamboo canes with pea netting stretched across at 2 heights, this has been good at keeping the plants upright, although it makes weeding and even picking slightly more difficult but is certainly worth doing.

Have a lovely weekend and good gardening!

30 thoughts on “The Cutting beds in July

  1. How lovely to have so much Cosmos. I am going to try growing it from seed next year. My shop bought ones (bargain at Sainsburies) are now beginning to flag. I don’t think they have had enough sun. I have been religious about dead heading them but haven’t really had enough to pick. Your dahlias are magnificent.

      • Yes, what a wonderful problem to have!
        Our cosmos haven’t done so well either, maybe the cold start to the summer here.
        Your zinnias are stunning, so healthy and colourful. Good tips re staking and planting patterns, thanks Christina.

        • Staking is such an important thing to do; I’ve never been very organised about it before but I had to give a talk on the subject and then a tour of the garden so was forced to act early this year and everything is growing better because of it so I have learnt my own lesson!

  2. Thank you Christina for joining in again this month – it is so useful to record what is going on in a monthly post isn’t it. I am starting to plan my tulip order so I will be looking back at all the April photos with interest – both mine and the photos of others. As usual your flowers are well ahead of mine – I have returned to dahlia buds but not flowers and my zinnias are not quite ready yet. I do love having an area of the garden that is bursting with blooms and colour when other areas have gone quiet! I think you will find planting in blocks works better than rows – the plants seem to prefer growing together in that way too. I am sure rows must work best for flower farms but in a garden blocks just look more natural. It will be interesting to see if your self seeded cosmos do better as the season progresses – in theory they should have a better root system as they have grown undisturbed. Thank you again for joining in!

    • The Cosmos are very sturdy plants with very thick stems, they just don’t have the quantity of flowers that the dark shades ones have. They may surprise me. My dahlias were already flowering by late June and the zinnias soon after that. It is very useful to keep a record so thanks for hosting.

  3. Your cutting beds are impressive, Christina. They seem much more densely planted than the raised planters in my vegetable garden – I’m going to experiment with denser planting next year. I’m also going to try planting dahlias there next year. The dahlias have done poorly for me when planted in my garden beds, probably because they get too little water there, so planting them in the raised planters in the vegetable garden, as I did with the sunflowers and zinnias this year, may make a difference. Have a wonderful weekend, Christina. I hope your temperatures come down and you get more rain!

    • We did have some short showers today, but not enough to wet the ground. I plant my vegetables and flowers quite close together on the raised beds, as long as they receive enough compost and manure it seems to work.

  4. I can’t believe you’re growing so many flowers for cutting in the heat of Italy. I thought my cutting patch at the allotment was pretty good but reading about yours (and Julie’s) makes me realise that I’m just a beginner and have so much to learn. Next year, there’s always next year!

    • I started my cuttings beds last year and I’m so pleased I did, as long as they have plenty of water, most of these plants grow and produce masses of flowers.

  5. Such a lovely and impressive set of cutting beds. The zinnias and dahlias are stunning, I especially like that white pom-pom type. I shall have to increase my dahlia numbers this year, they are such good value!

  6. I need to look at the zinnia trial – mine have been very poor and I wonder if it is worth bothering if they are so temperamental. Hmm, it was last year’s seed though… Do you pinch your cosmos out? Mine haven’t been very bushy but they do have a succession of flowers. Will you be using pea netting again ie do you feel it has been worth it and did you put it in relatively early on? My supports have been quite ad hoc but some of the blocks are good at supporting each other without anything additional. Sorry you didn’t do well with your rudbeckia – mine are only just flowering now but they germinated well and have made great plants with lovely flowers. And as for dahlias – will definitely plant even more next year! Reading our cutting garden posts you can tell how much we have all enjoyed creating them and the the pleasure (and excitement) they are giving us now, plus how much we have learned – hurrah for cutting beds!

    • I don’t know but I think Zinnias need a certain amount of heat and the weather hasn’t been that hot in the UK this year has it? I wanted to include a cuttings garden when I started the garden here and that’s 7 years ago but somehow vegetables became more important: if I were starting again I would devote a good portion of the garden to cut flowers. I think it is even more important here where nothing very much flowering from July on unless it receives adequate irrigation.

  7. I see you have the makings for many wonderful bouquets. I also grow Cosmos but my taller Zinnias and annual Sunflowers were devoured by rabbits. Do you grow Cleome? It has done well for me and the rabbits leave it alone.

    • I’ve not be successful with Cleome, I will try again as they are flowers I like. The only time I have ever been successful was when I stole some fresh seed from a public garden, I think the seed needs to be very fresh.

  8. I’ve been deadheading the cosmos and tossing them back in the bed, but I suppose I’ll need to let a few of them go to seed at the end of the season to get volunteers next year. Tithonia was new for me too, and I was surprised at how tall it gets. Every year is a learning process.

  9. I am finding planting my veggies in blocks is better too and I hope to plant blocks of flowers next year too….this is how I imagine my cutting beds to be one day. I may even grow a few less veggies an a few more annuals for cutting soon.

    • I’m thinking that I will grow some of my vegetables in blocks too, I’ll have to work on changing the irrigations tubes to give the possibilities of closer spacing.

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