The cut flower beds in November

As is to be expected the production of cut flowers is in dramatic decline; I am beginning to look with more interest at the evergreen shrubs, fruits, berries and seed-heads to supply fresh material for my vases.

Let me show you what is happening.

Zinnias are still producing new blooms and would have produced more but I didn't pick any for a couple of weeks

Zinnias are still producing new blooms and would have produced more but I didn’t pick any for a couple of weeks.  They are just over 2 metres tall which means I’ve always been able to pick stems of 60 to 80 cm.

The Zinnias were sown in modules in the green house between the last day of February and the first week in March; germination took between 3 and 5 days in a heated propagator.  They were all planted out on the 2nd of May and the first blooms were cut for a vase on 10th June. Unless we have a very heavy frost I should be able to pick another bunch this weekend.  Five months of production is great value and Zinnias will certainly be a mainstay of the cut flower beds next year, they earn their place more than almost any other plant.

The foliage is now affected by mildew due to the wet autumn and the fact that they are planted quite close together.

Antirrhinum Crimson is looking fresh

Antirrhinum Crimson is looking fresh

This image shows clearly the pea netting I use to keep the plants from flopping over – this is worth the extra work as it provides nice long stems.

Larkspur seedlings!!!

Larkspur seedlings!!!

Baring in mind that I had very poor success rates with the germination of the Larkspur, despite following instructions on the seed packs to chill the seed before sowing and then providing alternating cold and warm conditions it is incredible to see how many seedlings there are in the bed from the fallen seed of unpicked flowers.  The above image was taken after I had transplanted 48 seedlings to modules in the greenhouse.  I don’t imagine that these plants will survive the winter outside, but it does prove to me that sowing good quality FRESH seed is essential for good germination.  More important even than the availability of a propagator.

This month, as you would expect it is the Chrysanthemums that are supplying the most colourful and freshest blooms.

More Chrysanthemums

More Chrysanthemums

To the left above are Cosmos which are producing quite a lot of blooms.  I really don’t pick them enough; this is partly because they don’t seem to last very long for me in a vase.  They (because of my lack of picking or at least dead-heading) have also produced prodigious amounts of seedlings; including in the bed itself and the gravel paths plus a few that have escaped into vegetable garden beds as seen above in the ex-tomato bed along with some exhausted basil.

Chrysanthemum - all have been grown from basal cuttings taken from supermarket purchased pots

Chrysanthemum – all have been grown from basal cuttings taken from supermarket purchased pots

Chrysanthemums - there are 3 white varieties including a small daisy type, a medium double with a green centre and a larger one with curved petals

Chrysanthemums – there are 3 white varieties including a small daisy type, a medium double with a green centre and a larger one with curved petals

I took the support netting down which was a mistake; the Chrysanthemums are sprawling all over this bed.

Leonotis definitely produces more of its fascinating whorls of orange flowers in the autumn

Leonotis leonurus definitely produces more of its fascinating whorls of orange flowers in the autumn

To the right of the Leonotis is the last of the Dahlias.  Interestingly I don’t remember seeing this one flowering at all this year, and possible not last, it has an attractive open star form that I rather like.

The images were taken over the last week which explains the different light levels in each photograph.  Yesterday was a glorious, warm sunny day; today is grey with heavy cloud cover and warning of torrential rain later.

32 thoughts on “The cut flower beds in November

    • My Cosmos seedlings in the bed and the path are actually flowering now. I will just hope that more germinate next spring plus I’ll do the seeds I have left but probably not but more. I want to try some different things.

    • Yes, planning has the start the year before; the biggest decision is what to grow; it’s always tempting to try too many new things but I would like to find the range of plants that I want to grow every year. I’m learning what grows well, what produces a long period of blooms etc. and more importantly what I really like.

  1. My larkspur self seed and survive so I would expect yours to do so. It is worth keeping an eye on them. I usually keep some seeds myself, labelled with the expected colour, to fill in spaces where I want them. I never have had germination problems. I had gathered the original seeds just here and there so perhaps I have bred tough mongrels. Amelia

    • You have so many beautiful blooms to cut from your garden that you don’t need such a large dedicated cutting garden Kris. Zinnias from seed are really easy and there are so many different varieties to choose from; far more, I’m sure, than you would find as small plug plants.

  2. I am convinced that the most common cause of seeds not germinating is old seed Fresh seed from the garden always germinates. My zinnias have seeded too but I don’ t know whether I will be able to get the seedlings through the winter.. I am looking forward to seeing what you are planning next year for your cutting garden.

    • Yesterday after posting I ordered more seed, probably more than I should! I even included another white Zinnia! Plus some everlasting flowers for some dried arrangements for next Christmas. I’m sure either old or badly stored seed is the reason for bad germination. Btw the Knautia you gave me have germinated and are ready to be pricked out. Thank you.

  3. I often think how (relatively) little distance there is between us, and yet so much difference in climate! It must be lovely to see the remaining flowers so late in the year. Your Chrysanthemums are pretty… I have officially become a convert! I especially like that small flowered one that reminds me of the wild asters I have seen on various blogs.

    • I’m still not entirely sure about the Chrysanthemums, but the daisy-like ones are good in a vase although mine don’t have very long stems. I am quite a lot further south and it does make a big difference to our climates. There is quite a difference between where we are and Rome which is less than a 100 miles.

  4. It is lovely to see that you still have so many flowers- my zinnias gave up a few weeks ago, the last remaining cosmos are just brown sticks & I expect to find the dahlias have gone brown after the overnight frost when I walk down to the Cutting garden. I really will just be left with the chrysanthemums and what I can forage from the hedgerows until the hellebores start flowering. I love the zinnias – mine are started from seed in May & start to flower in July – they flower continuously until late October and stand up to wind and rain very well. Thank you for sharing your cuttings plot.

  5. How wonderful to still have so much available in November. My annuals are gone thanks to a harsh frost last Monday. Zinnias, I must remember to sow some next year as yours have looked great

  6. Christina the Zinnias five months blooming: they are wonderful champions. Next year I plant them in my garden. The Crimson Antirrhinum are beautiful. Chrysanthemums are divine in all colors and varieties, I love them. Leonurus Leonotis has decided to bloom in November with its beautiful orange flowers !!!!! It should be a pleasure to have a garden where there are flowers. Greetings from Margarita.

      • As long as I do not do the flowers, they will continue to be a bit dingy: but then they dry up and become beautiful. Here comes another wave of cold with temperatures in the morning until 13:00 hours -3 ° Centigrade, at night … is too much to say. Dress warmly. I hope the rain alert you had, be gentle showers. Greetings from Margarita.

  7. I laughed when I saw the title as it’s not one you would see on my blog any more this year – or perhaps I will, with a summary of how things have gone. Reading about your zinnias makes me determined to start mine earlier next year, after deliberately leaving them later this year – need to find a happy medium as mine didn’t have long enough to flower. I agree with you about fresh seed – oh, and your echinops have been posted

  8. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – Homage to autumn – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  9. The Antirrhinum look so nice Christina and the green ground cover of larkspur is lush. I tried too late to plant sweet william, rose campion and a few other odds and ends this fall, hoping they would overwinter. It’s been way to dry and I had very little success.

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