We are entering year number two for the cutting garden, and this year’s garden is going to be stunning! At least that’s the way I have pictured it in my head, over and over, all winter long
Justin made my flower boxes for me last spring, just in time to plant dahlias, and summer cutting flowers. Unfortunately, it was already too late in the season for spring cutting flowers, bulbs, or rose bushes. While I completely enjoyed my summer flowers, I was looking forward to getting an early start on the cutting garden, by having a crop of spring flowers that would transition into summertime. This fall I was able to plant 50 daffodil bulbs and 4 varieties of sweet peas. All 50 bulbs have come up and I’ve been able to bring small bundles of daffs and snapdragons in the house! The sad news is only 2 of my 4 varieties of sweet peas germinated. SO disappointing! I held back 4 packages of sweet peas and started them a couple of weeks ago in peat pots. I have them tucked away in a nice place on the back porch. If they germinate and transplant well I could end up with 6 varieties of sweet peas and two harvests! But you know the old saying “Don’t count your seedlings before they sprout…”
The weather has be gorgeous. We have beautiful spring-times here in the valley but this spring has outdone it’s self. This week I took the opportunity to turn over the beds and amend the soil. The soil in my beds is a little too sandy, so it needed some compost and garden soil added to it, along with a some fertilizer.
I realized too late that I had purchased two seed varieties that should have been sown in the fall along with the sweet peas. Apparently Larkspur and Nigella like to be tucked in the ground through the winter, at least in climates that have mild winters (like the winters we have here in California). I got them in the ground as soon as I realized my mistake. I’m hoping that the month of cold nights will be enough to get them started.
Here’s a glimpse at my “spring-time bed”. I’ve dedicated this bed to spring flowers. I’ll be able to use it again mid summer to sow a second harvest of sunflowers and zinnias (if all things go according to plan!)
These beautiful English ladies will be joining the garden this spring and I am absolutely giddy about it. Giddy I tell you! I’ve been in love with David Austin roses for as long as I can remember. They are the quintessential English cabbage rose. They are so old-fashioned, dreamy and romantic looking. I know it’s just my personal bias but I think hybrid tea roses looks so sterile and boring next to these beauties. If you’d like to spend an hour of pure happiness just stop by the David Austin website and feast your eyes on rose heaven! The website also has a link to nurseries throughout the U.S that sell their roses. I got my at The Greenery in Turlock, CA. These gals will stay put in their pots until the first week of April, when they will move to their permanent home in the cutting garden. I plan on planting herbs around them. There are quite a few herbs that make wonderful greenery in flower arrangements (but more on that later).
And this is the cutting garden as of this moment. Spring bulbs shooting up, sweet peas just beginning to vine, Nigella and Larkspur freshly planted, and the beds being turned over and the soil being amended. This is shot you will see a lot this summer. I thought it would be fun to document the garden’s changes by taking this same picture throughout the season and posting it here on my blog. I hope you don’t mind, but the blog will, now and again, function as my personal garden journal. This is the most convenient place to record the successes and failings of the garden. It really is such a learning process but I’m loving every step of the way!
The summer lineup has been chosen (mostly, there might be a few last minute additions). I’ve got the seeds sorted into groups. One of the key elements of flower gardening is figuring out which seeds need to be started and transplanted, and which should be sown directly into the soil.
I’ve been reading Sarah Raven’s “Grow Your Own Cut Flowers” book and learning so much about cut flowers.
Anyway, if you’re interested, here is a list of the summer flowers that I’ve chosen for the 2015 season (click on the links if you’d like to see a photo of the flower and read up on it):
Bachelor Buttons (these did wonderfully in last year’s garden and I’m putting in twice as many in this year)
Billy Balls (or Sun Balls) these are really popular flowers right now, and I couldn’t resist trying to plant some. These need to be started and then transplanted after the last frost. I’m very curious to see if these will grow in my zone.
Hare’s Ear- this is a beautiful “filler greenery” that I have often purchased from local floral shops. The texture and yellow-green color of this plant is stunning in floral arrangements. This seed is a gamble, but I’m hoping it pays off in a big way (I’ll keep you updated).
Cosmos- these are so easy to grow! Usually. Last year they gave me fits and refused to bloom, but normally they are delightful to have in the garden. I’m hoping the improvements I made to the soil will solve my cosmos woes this time around. I purchased several varieties; “double click” mixture, “sea shell” cosmos, and the standard “Sensation mix”
Sunflowers- naturally. No cutting garden would really be complete without cutting sunflowers. I got four packs of Renee’s Garden sunflowers.
Zinnias- I purchased Johnny’s Giant Benary’s mix
Amaranthus (Love lies bleeding)- this is gorgeous flower that grows like a weed and looks so beautiful draping down the sides of a floral arrangement
Of course the Dahlias will be returning in all their summery glory!
And that’s it for now! Hope you liked the little tour of the spring garden and the summer line up! ~April