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