It has been a very slow start for the garden and me (thanks to a nasty dose of covid and another
knee injury) this year. Thankfully the sun and warmth seems to have encouraged us both to
perform at our best at last!
Last year at the beginning of June, as mentioned in previous blogs, I persuaded Sally and Brian
that it would be lovely to have some cut flower beds. These were dutifully built for me and last year planted up with whatever I could get my hands on.
This year I wanted a more considered approach and to test out a theory that buying plug plants
was more cost effective than growing from seed.
The beds have taken an age to wake up this year. I eventually got round to sowing a variety of
seeds in one bed at the end of May and waited none to hopefully for signs of growth. The other
bed was planted up with plug plants overwintered and grown on.
Cut Flower Bed experiments: The Results
The rabbits absolutely loved the lush early growth of the plug plants despite them being under net. They feasted on several achillea, all of the aquilegia and even some rudbeckia which had survived from last year. They also took a liking to astrantia.
The seeds were slow to germinate initially (well it was a very cool spring I suppose) but once they
got going they were looking promising at the end of May as the photo shows. By the end of June
they look amazing! Their growth has been exponential. Not a single plant has been touched by the
rabbits either. There is currently a super show of cornflower, iberis, larkspur in two varieties and
amni major to mention a few.
I have been genuinely surprised by the results. The seeds have won hands down this year.
ABOVE: Cut flower beds in May.
Left: Plug plants - many eaten by rabbits, Right: Plants from seed - slow to get started
ABOVE: Cut flower beds in June
Plants from seeds on right have clearly outperformed the plug plants on the left. Also the rose and clematis on the right are much better - could this be due to extra digging from wildlife helpers?
Another interesting observation is about the climbing roses and clematis. Shortly after planting last year a fox ravaged the part of the seed bed where they were planted repeatedly, burrowing under the roots of both. We dutifully kept replacing the roots under the soil and firming the plants in. They looked very sad and I didn’t hold out much hope. Well against the odds, the ‘foxed’ rose and clematis are far outperforming the other ones! I can only assume they loosened and aerated the soil far better than we did. I won’t be so harsh about fox damage in the future…..well I will try
If you would like to come and see the cut flower beds or any other part of the garden, check out this link for our guided walks. The next one is on Saturday 5th August. There is even the possibility you can take a bunch of flowers home with you.
Next project……….watch this space…..The Tea Bed!