As a keen gardener we do our best to make the garden look great all year round. That involves growing plants with colour, attractive shape, scented where ever possible, creating good plant associations to combine height, form and similar flowering times to increase effect. We also control weeds, rake up leaves, prune as required, dead head old flowers, spread and fork in compost, and hope the weather works in our favour so at some stage we can relax and enjoy our creative garden.
However, although we have taken care of the outdoors we must
not forget the indoors, so at some point our precious flowers will be getting
chopped down and dropped into a few vases. A balance has to be struck so that
these cut flowers do not diminish our efforts in creating our outdoor paradise.
Either we grow sufficient numbers to allow for this or we grow extra plants
just for cut flower. This is where an allotment is invaluable as it can help
with the rotation by including a section for flower production, and if there is
plenty of colour it will brighten up the plot.
|Sophie with the red scented roses|
|Dahlia Thomas Edison|
In spring the show starts off with the daffodils, followed by tulips, as these make a fantastic display and very quickly multiply up, so a few cut here and there for the house are never missed. We also buy in more bulbs every autumn as there is always some border to brighten up with a few extra spring flowers.
Scented daffodils (Jonquils and the Cheerfulness group) have all got great scent and if you can sort out a few of those scented tulips that is a bonus. I tried a good dozen so called scented tulips, but only the Fosteriana Purissima gave me any scent.
|Lily Golden Splendour|
As the summer starts I look to the flag Iris for something special that is bold, colourful and scented, before the roses take over as first choice. E H Morse is an excellent scented red, as is Fragrant Cloud and Margaret Merril a great scented white rose, but there are so many to choose from with new varieties coming out every year. If you grow climbers and shrub roses they produce so much flowers that there is plenty to spare for a vase for the table.
|Rose Dawn Chorus|
Dahlias start to flower from mid summer and continue till the frosts, are easy to grow and very reliable with a wide range of colours and shapes of blooms. Everyone will have their favourites, but I find it hard to go beyond the cactus style blooms as they just appeal to me.
Chrysanthemums can be grown as sprays or with a bit more work you can grow the decoratives, incurves and reflexes with just one very large but impressive flower on each stem, as long as you disbud all competitive sideshoots and secondary flower buds.
Border carnations are not as popular as in the past, and they have their own needs with good drainage, plenty of sunshine and you must keep them staked, but they are nearly all scented with a wide range of colours so are first class cut flowers. The plants may only last several years, but propagate very easy from cuttings.
Gladioli put on a great show and make perfect cut flowers. I buy in a few new varieties every year, but save all my old corms so my stock slowly increases every year. If you have good soil that is well drained plant them deep and they should not need any support to keep them upright.
Sweet peas can grow well over six feet tall so make sure they have a good framework support, and keep removing all seed pods. They thrive in deep rich soil and like extra feeding for best results.
|Scented sweet peas|
Lilies, like sweet peas have fantastic scent so enhance any room they are in. Growing was covered two weeks ago, and different varieties will extend their season of bloom.
Japanese Anemone Honorine Jobert is easy to grow and produces pristine white flowers perfect for cutting. It grows about three feet tall and this herbaceous plant will increase in size every year.
Wee jobs to do this week
|Pumpkin ready to harvest|
Cut tips off pumpkins to curtail growth once each plant has formed two or three fruits so it can put all its energy into swelling them up. Do not rush this job as the pumpkins produce many small fruits but only a few survive. Keep them well watered and continue to feed if you want really big pumpkins. Place some straw underneath the fruit to keep them clean and free from soil.