April 28th 2016 Planting the cut flower beds

Well hopefully the last of the predicted cold nights is over!  It has been a week of little sun, many showers and lots of strong winds.  

Last week I decided that many of the new seedlings would be better planted into their final positions than be left to dry out in the wind in their modules.

Into the bed where I had already planted the new Dahlias (which are already coming through), I added 4 plants of Tithonia.  This bed will be a blaze of orange and purple so I’m hoping to produce some stunning vases.

Tithonia behind and annual dahlia from seed in front

Tithonia behind and annual dahlia from seed in front

Canes are in for the sunflowers but I'm waiting for the winds to drop before they are planted

Canes are in for the sunflowers but I’m waiting for the winds to drop before they are planted

I managed to squeeze a lot into this bed, they already lot as if they are growing; you don't often see my soil as wet as this but there has been a lot of rain

I managed to squeeze a lot into this bed, they already lot as if they are growing; you don’t often see my soil as wet as this but there has been a lot of rain

The bed is about 1.2 metres wide and has 5 rows of porous hose for irrigation.

In this bed are:

Cleome sown 14/01/2016

Giant White Antirrhinum sown 14/01/2016

Antirrhinum Crimson sown 14/01/2016

Ami Visnager sown 23/01/2016

Ami majus sown 14/01/2016

Daucus carota ‘Black Knight’ sown 25/01/2016 and 22/02/2016 I sowed a second batch as the first germinated patchily; interestingly those sown second have caught up and if anything are better plants.

Larkspur Blue sown 4/02/2016

Larkspur White sown 4/02/2016.  The seed of the larkspur was stored in the fridge for 3 weeks before sowing but germination didn’t take place until the seed trays had been in the propagator 3 weeks and then moved out into the cold.  they then germinated almost straight away.

On the other side of the path are Bells of Ireland sown 22/2/2016

Tuffo blocks have been laid at the end of the cut flower beds in the 'secret garden'. For the moment I will bring the small table and might even be able to arrange my flowers here until it get too hot

Tuffo blocks have been laid at the end of the cut flower beds in the ‘secret garden’. For the moment I will bring the small table and might even be able to arrange my flowers here until it get too hot

In the vegetable garden the bed containing Sweet William (Dianthus barbata) I’ve planted out the Helichysum to dry as flowers for a swag at Christmas.  My plants for a larger range of dried flowers was thwarted when my order to Chiltern seeds failed.

Helichrysum planted in front of the Sweet William, my dilemma will be whether to leave the sweet William in the ground and hope for a third year of flowering from them.

Helichrysum planted in front of the Sweet William, my dilemma will be whether to leave the sweet William in the ground and hope for a third year of flowering from them.

If I do leave them I think I should thin them out as they are very squashed together.  Do you ever leave biennials for more than their second year?

 

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24 thoughts on “April 28th 2016 Planting the cut flower beds

  1. Oh it’s so exciting to see your seedlings being planted out, Christina! I had forgotten that larkspur often like that cold spell first – although I do have some very healthy seedlings nearly ready to be planted out which didn’t have it, so perhaps it’s not always necessary. And shall I try cleome again? No joy at all with germination 2 years ago… Your annual dahlias look good – mine are a bit slow and slightly dog-eared – possibly the odd slug loose in the greenhouse? Shan’t be planting anything else out here till we come back from taking my mum home after the wedding – but I have my layouts planned for the cutting beds! Your Sweet William are obviously very happy despite being crowded – I think if I knew for sure they would be straggly for another year I would probably take them out after they had finished flowering

    • My biggest problem this year (which I must write about) is that I had a compost problem for the first time and lost a lot of seedlings, but seeing how many there are anyway maybe it was almost a good thing. I’ve not had any success with Cleome for the past 2 years but this time the plants don’t look bad. Maybe the Larkspur would be better sown in the autumn as the plants seem slow growing. Hopefully the spreadsheet will help with these decisions next year.

  2. Hi Christina, I am interested to read your comment to Cathy about a compost problem, I have been experimenting this year, with some peat free Sylva Grow compost – pricey but good and some John Innes no 1. My own compost, is never reliably seed free to use as a seed compost. And I am also frustrated with a chiltern seeds order, I have my seeds but struggling with germination on Astrantia and Aquiligea Longissima in any medium. I have almost given up with Ami majus as they seem to attract a lot of black fly here, I wonder in your hotter climate wether you have that problem. Just read that back and its sounds like a moan, sorry! Your cuttings garden is inspiring.

    • I’ve never managed to germinate Astrantia from any companies seed. I never use my own compost for seeds for the same reason as you. I bought some compost from a different supplier and I think it had some flies that part of the life cycle were tiny things that ate roots, I have a link to a site that describes the problem. I’ll add it to a post next week as I think we all blame ourselves when seeds either don’t germinate or ‘damp off’ when really it is due to other things altogether. I know I read that there is NO legal requirement for a percentage of viable flower seeds and only very low for vegetables.

  3. Christina its sweet Guillermos are precious. I also had problems with compost three years ago and since then I use horse manure packaging purchased in a plant nursery and vermicompost also purchased in the nursery. Greetings Margarita.

  4. Looking forward to seeing Daucus carota ‘Black Knight’. I haven’t seemed to be able to buy decent compost since we moved to France. I used to sow a lot of seed in my greenhouse in England (3 different locations) and here I am so much less successful. Your cut flower borders are a joy to see – so perfectly organised and attractive, even while the plants are tiny!

  5. ‘A week of little sun, many showers and lots of strong winds’. A good description. That is the very week that we have just spent in Tuscany. Now we are home, I expect the sun will come out for you.
    Exciting to see how your cutting garden is coming on.

    • You don’t have a lot of luck with your Italian holidays. A month ago the weather was lovely now it’s cold. I’m hoping it will improve for our return later today

      • Next time you really need rain, you had better let me know and I will pop over. I’m obviously The Italian Rain Lady. It’s cold here too, but at least I haven’t missed lots of garden delights. Everything looks just the same as when I left.

        • We’ve just come home from the UK and it feels much warmer here although it was pleasantly sunny most of the time but the air was very cold. I hope to see you next time

  6. Christina your cutting beds are doing well to my eye. I have started Astrantias and Dahlias from root cuttings and they seem to do well even in my cold wet clay soil. I am late with all my seeds but hope that this unusally late cold snap would have kinocked them back and so I have justified my tardiness, sort of. A warm spell next and your cutting garden will romp away.

  7. Such an inspiration Christina….you are why I have my one small cutting bed. My tithonia is so small still in my basement with others…..a few flowers are growing even in the cold nights outside….hoping the below freezing nights are over here. I need to get some flower seeds sown, seedlings planted and dahlias

    • You have proved that even a small area dedicated to cut flowers can produce enough to fill vases for a long time. I will have far more than I need!

  8. I love your seating in the secret garden, the garden backdrop is fantastic!
    I don’t know if the sweet William are worth keeping. Whenever I try they end up growing well until sometime in August when a damp heat causes the fat, heavy crowns to all rot….

  9. I’ve lost a lot of Larkspur from the garden the past couple of years and I have not been able to germinate the seed I collected. I think you have solved the puzzle, it has been too mild for them. Also I have tried some in trays but tried to keep them warm to germinate. Amelia

    • My pack of seeds recommends cold for 3 weeks; I put the packet in the fridge but they still didn’t germinate until I’d had them in the propagator for 3 weeks and then outside (when it was luckily very cold for a week or so). Sometimes fresh seed is best sown immediately and then left somewhere shady but not forgotten.

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