Every month Julie of Peonies and Posies encourages us to show the progress of our cutting beds, a useful resource for those of us who like to pick blooms to put in a vase on a Monday or any other day. This month I really feel that all the effort of sowing and nurturing is beginning to pay off as many of the occupants of my cutting beds are in flower or at least in bud. The above bed in particular is full of blocks of different greens and a smattering of other colours, and definitely showing the benefit of planting in blocks rather than rows. We have three different dahlias, all in bud, white and blue nigella, cerinthe, Tagetes ‘Paprika’, Escholtzia ‘Red Chief’, Briza maxima, Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’, Papaver ‘Apple Green’, Dianthus ‘Russian Skies’ and last year’s Sweet William.
The corner bed has already produced bupleurium for a recent vase, and another dahlia, rudbeckia and larkspur are progressing nicely, zinnia less so. Various alliums also share this bed.
Zinnia ‘Purple Prince’ and ‘Queen Lime’ and Tithonia are making steady progress in the third bed, where Clary ‘Oxford Blue is in full flow. Ammi visnaga, Daucus carota and Amaranthus ‘Green Cascade’ are leafy and promising, and Cosmos ‘Antiquity’ is flowering happily but on very short stems – they are a lovely colour but I do hope they will grow taller.
The first flower has appeared on the sunflowers in the fourth bed but has been snipped for a vase. Cosmos ‘Candy stripe’ has been flowering for 3 weeks and the leggy centaurea has been flowering for longer than that. Red amaranthus and further zinnia occupy other blocks, along with feeble molucella and insignificant Lupin ‘Snow Pixie’ neither of which I will bother with next year. Late sown Ammi majus is dotted through this and other beds and is almost flowering.
In the middle foreground is a lone hosta, accidentally left behind when its overwintered brothers were moved on, and a promising little group of Antirrhinum ‘Twinny Pink’ just beginning to flower. This is not a tall variety, but I am thrilled to have finally raised snapdragons from seed and now have the confidence to try them or other varieties next year. I am also growing white and yellow ‘Twinny’ varieties but they have not grown as vigorously as the pink.
Keeping a record of what I have sown and when it was planted out and when it flowered is already proving a useful resource, as are the cutting beds. I still cut from elsewhere in the garden too but try to keep it discreet whereas I could cut all the blooms on plants in the cutting beds if I so chose – in the meantime though they are, of course, attractive in their own right. Have you found space for beds devoted to growing flowers and foliage for cutting?