The Flower Cutting Patch 2017
For the flower cutting patch 2017 my main focus is to grow enough flowers for my next door neighbour’s wedding at the beginning of July, so no pressure!! We have had some great weather this April, the temperature here in the south west reached the dizzy heights of 20 degrees C at the beginning of the month! It didn’t last long but long enough to super charge all the little seedlings into putting on a growing spurt. It wasn’t long before the Cornflowers, Paeony Poppies, Golden West Poppies and the Calendula were ready to plant our into the cutting patch.
The Scabiosa, Bupleurum and Larkspur were all ready for potting on and will be ready for planting out in the next few weeks and all the other little seedlings will be ready for potting on this weekend. The big problem will be where to keep them all as not all are frost hardy and we have been having some pretty cold nights, with more cold weather forecast for next week. So as we are not out of the woods yet with nighttime frosts there could be a problem with where to keep all these seedlings! As soon as the danger of night time frosts is over (traditionally mid May) then we will be able to plant out all the tender annuals into the cutting patch and into tubs as well.
Lots has been happening with the biennials as well, the Honesty (Lunaria Biennis) has all burst into flower, but pretty as they are its not the flowers that I am after but the beautiful disk like silvery seed pods that form after flowering which are great for flower arranging. They attract lots of lovely pollinators as do the Wallflowers which are still looking beautiful and the Lilac tree is also beginning to flower so lots to keep the bees and butterflies very happy.
Our flower cutting patch this May is slowly beginning to take shape. We have had some lovely warm sunny days and also some really cold nights the last week of April and the first two weeks of May. Thankfully everything has survived and we will soon be reaching that magical cut off time when the nights become too short for a frost to form and growing really takes off! It has also been very dry and so frequent watering has to be done.
This weekend we are planting out all the remaining seedlings, Bupleurum, Scabiosa, three varieties of perennial poppies and three varieties of annual poppies (yes I know, went a bit overboard on the poppies this year!). To accommodate all of these my long suffering but so very patient husband has had to extend the cutting patch just a bit, I think next year I might be banned from buying any seeds! We also have Snap Dragons (Antirrhinums) and two varieties of Rudbeckia ready to go into pots and the perennial Rudbeckia are ready to pot on. We also need to find a home for all the remaining Cosmos as I slightly over did these as well!
The survivors of the hardy annuals that over wintered from the seed planted last September are all starting to flower, Nigella, Poppies (of course) and Cornflowers. The perennials are all doing really well, the Lupins are starting to flower and the Delphiniums will be soon. We have staked the Delphiniums early this year in the hope that we won’t get caught out again with the strong winds that we get sometimes here in the south west. Last year at the end of June just when they were at their most glorious, our Delphiniums were almost destroyed by wind.
For our next door neighbour’s wedding in July, I think we will almost definitely have Delphiniums, Sweet William, Cornflowers, Nigella, Ammi Majus and Sweet Peas and possibly Alchemilla Mollis, Gypsophela and Bupleurum if they are ready in time. The Sweet Peas that we pinched out when they were very small are now really strong with good sturdy stems and lots of side stems. By contrast the Sweet Peas that we didn’t pinch out are very straggly and weak stemmed.
Ten Days Later
What a difference in such a short space of time. It just goes to show what a bit of warm weather, some sunshine and some rain can have on the plants. It has been ideal growing conditions and everything has shot up.
It was a smart move staking the Delphiniums early this year as we have had a couple of quite nasty storms with strong wind, heavy rain and also a hail and thunderstorm. Without the stakes the Delphiniums would have been badly damaged just when they are beginning to look fabulous. The Lupins are looking really colourful and beautiful and the Sweet William are just starting to flower.
June is the month when all that hard work starts to pay off. The poppies in particular are popping open every day and the bees are just having a feast!
This is the first time that we have grown Eschscholzia Californica ‘Golden West’ or Californian Poppies and they are a real delight. They were so easy to grow from seed in cells in seed compost and then potted on into individual small plastic pots in a mix of soil and compost until they were strong enough to be planted out. From then on they just took off and grew really quickly. They close up at night into tight little minarets and open again the next morning and so last longer than other poppies many of which last no more than a day or two.
The Delphiniums, Lupins and the Roses are a blast of colour and the Sweet Williams are starting to flower. We have Cornflowers, Nigella and Calendula all staring to flower and lots more still so come. As of yesterday we also have our first Sweet Pea! Apart from weeding and watering it is now sit back and enjoy time.
What has happened to our summer? On what was supposed to be the first week of the (meteorological) summer we have had torrential rain, hail storms, thunder and lightning and winds gusting up to 40 mph. The storms from Sunday and Monday and the constant battering from the wind over the last three days has left a tail of complete devastation in our cutting patch. All the Lupins are broken and at least half the Delphiniums despite being supported with stakes earlier last month.
On a slightly more positive note the sweet peas have survived and we have picked the first bunch today! Many of the poppies and cornflowers have been flattened as well but we have a few remaining in more sheltered spots.
I have totally fallen in love with these stunningly beautiful golden Californian poppies. They curl up and go to sleep at night even earlier than I do!
After the dreadful weather at the beginning of the month which destroyed all the Lupins and most of the Delphiniums we then had scorching hot weather, up to 32 degrees Celsius in the shade on Wednesday 21st June and the hottest June day for 40 years! Even after the weather cooled off there was still very little rain and we have had to water every day. We have a really good crop of Sweet William and the Cornflowers, Gypsophila, Ammi Majus and Calendula are all growing really well.
The first week of July 2017 has been a glorious one. The first day of July was our next door neighbour’s wedding day and the day dawned with not a cloud in the clear deep blue sky. After a year of planning, planting and growing the flowers for this eventful day it was finally here. On the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the big day we had half a month’s rainfall in two days. The Sweet Williams and Alchemilla Mollis were flattened and my husband worked tirelessly all week to stake up all the flowers that were being battered by the relentless rain, sometimes falling lightly but at other times it was torrential. The previous weeks had been baking hot and he had been watering the plants continuously to keep them from dying of thirst! Despite the trials and tribulations of the good old English weather we managed to have enough flowers for their wedding day.
The table centres were a mix of Achemilla Mollis, Gypsophela, Sweet Williams, Calendulas, Cornflowers, Nigella seed pods and Sweet Peas in glass jars placed inside old vintage tins. The archway into the garden was a mix of Ammi Majus, Roses, Sweet William, Alchemilla Mollis and Sweet Peas with long ivy trails. The roses in the arch were bought. Two tubs of lemon yellow Cosmos were on either side of the arch. There were little glass bottles of mixed flowers on the picnic tables in the garden and two big displays at the entrance to the marquee. Due to the devastation of our Delphiniums in the storms in June we had to buy in some of the flowers for the two big displays. The brides and the bridesmaid’s bouquets were a mix of Sweet Peas, Cornflowers, Nigella seed pods and Bupleurum. The roses in the bouquet, the same as the roses in the arch were bought. The bride looked beautiful and it was a wonderful day.
It was great fun growing the flowers for such a special occasion and we did have quite a few moments of trepidation with the weather. Now a week later we can enjoy the rest of our beautiful cutting patch and garden for ourselves and I have spent a very happy day playing in the garden. The sweet peas are quite spectacular and their wonderful sweet scent fills the rooms of our home. We still have an abundance of cornflowers and calendulas and also the very pretty and delicate pink Gypsophela. Our sunflowers are just starting to flower and also the Lysmachia and Phlox. There is still lots to look forward to.
We are now nearing the end of July and despite the weather it has been a wonderful and memorable month. The Sweet Peas in particular have been outstanding, we have had such a bounty of beautiful blooms from them and they are still going strong.
The Poppies have also been really lovely and we have grown some that we have never seen before, from the really delicate Bridal Silk to the multi coloured Peony Poppies, all have been stunning in their own particular way.
The Lysimachia are now in flower, grown from seed which we started last year in February. It has been a long journey but well worth the wait, they are really gorgeous.