Some of us garden bloggers have been developing beds specifically for cutting and it has been really usefully sharing knowledge and experiences. To help us, Julie of Peonies and Posies is hosting a meme around the last Friday of the month for us to post a monthly update, so do check out her blog to see her own extensive cutting beds and links to others.
I took the risk of planting out some of my hardy annuals at the end of March and apart from April being such a dry month it seems to have been a good decision and they have coped with a couple of light frosts. Above we have sunflower ‘Earth Walker’, protected by cut down plastic bottles to leave a jagged edge at the top to deter slugs, a trick suggested by Wellywoman in her book – there has been some minor nibbling of a few leaves but the stems are completely undamaged and I think they will survive all but a major onslaught so I can recommend this tactic. On the right is sweet pea ‘Purple Pimpernel’, sown in the autumn from seed collected from last year’s plants and now happily shooting up the support. Ammi visnaga, centaurea, bupleurium and cerinthe are also fairly settled in the cutting beds and elsewhere in the garden. The cutting beds are also home to a few dwarf aquilegia until I know what colour they are, ranunculus, Anemone coronaria, tulip and allium, and some of last year’s sweet Williams.
With going away, I briefly wondered about planting out other young plants beforehand, but despite many sturdy little plants there was nothing that sufficiently developed to make the risk worthwhile, and I decided watering would be easier for my neighbour if things were together in the same place. I certainly look forward to being able to plant out many more seedlings on my return, like these Cosmos ‘Antiquity’, molucella and rudbeckia:
As there has been no heat in the greenhouses since February and seedlings have coped with temperatures just above freezing, a battle plan was drawn up, the greenhouses both emptied, and all trays and pots laid out side by side on the cutting beds. Would there be enough space? Yes, there was, although eight trays of the youngest seedlings were passed over the fence to my neighbour for closer attention and gentler watering.
Some rain is forecast for this weekend and beyond that is anyone’s guess, but it will be easy enough for our neighbour to water all of this bounty over the fence by using a hose. Up to now I have used rainwater on all but the youngest seedlings but again I want to make the task simple. It has been warm and dry for several days and these beds get the sun for much of the late morning and afternoon, so shading was going to be imperative. Ebay solved this issue as I was able to buy shading fabric by the metre, although slightly misjudged the length needed and had to cobble together the finishing touch by dismantling a cloche that used this same type of fabric.
So there we have the completed plan of action, looking for all it is worth like one of those art installations where a building or statue or geographical features is swathed in fabric in the name of Art. What will I come home to? Two empty greenhouses for a start…