One of the other things giving me pleasure at the weekend was knowing that the cutting beds were almost all planted up, the only gaps now being for zinnias which I had sown later than previous years following advice from fellow bloggers. Again advice was heeded and the zinnia was planted directly in cells as was the cosmos, to reduce root disturbance. They are still in the greenhouse along with second sowings of larkspur and godetia and a few other oddments, probably surplus.
Seedlings have been progressively planted out from mid April onwards, but as yet flowering is minimal. In the top left bed as shown on the map Mammoth Mix sweet peas, planted against the fence, have been flowering since mid May, and were joined at the end of May by Cosmos Candy Stripe. The latter were pinched out some time ago but I was a little taken aback seeing Monty Don lopping almost all the growth off his very bushy cosmos on Gardeners’ World last week! I was also surprised by the growth on the dahlias he was planting out and I think I need to start mine off earlier – or overwinter them in the ground. The Choco Sun sunflowers in the front corner are a dwarf variety meant to be suitable for pots.
Dahlias are in the back of the second bed too although here I squeezed 5 varieties in instead of 4. Here Marigold Durango Red is flowering, confirming that I have no idea why I got these seeds along with their Lemon and Tangerine counterparts – they must have looked attractive on the website when I was ordering but they are lost in the cutting beds and those planted in the bold borders were immediately prey to slugs. The latter were autumn sown but did not develop strongly and although the spring sowing has produced healthier plants I feel no affection for them whatsoever! Some of the seedlings in the foreground are self seeded bupleurium and others are just weeds…) from last year which I have tended to take up and dot around elsewhere as they have got bigger.
The corner bed suffers from having had alliums and tulips from last year in it, which performed poorly and I think I will remove because the decaying leaves are not pretty. The sunflowers at the back have their plastic bottle collars which generally do a good job of deterring slugs. There are also some self seeded poppies which may be random ‘wild’ ones or may be from the greenish white ones I grew last year – I am happy for them to stay , whichever they turn out to be.
The healthy growth in back left corner of the fourth bed is Larkspur Sublime Deep Blue and Ammi visnaga, planted out at the beginning of May but not ready to flower yet. The large clump at the front of the bed is Briza maxima, self seeded (very) plentifully from last year. Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy has suffered from overhanging tulip foliage from the Harlequin Mix that was in this bed and I have now dug the tulips out and thrown them away, determined to grow tulips for cutting just in pots next year. Perhaps it’s not too late to sow another batch of rudbeckia? I had already sorted out some other seeds for a belated second sowing, but have been busy with other tasks – must make a list and get it done! I have already second-sowed cornflower, nigella, larkspur, godetia, Lavender Spanish Eyes, clary, Californian poppy and cerinthe, all but the larkspur having been first sown in autumn. All this year’s sowings, not just those for the cutting beds, are listed under The Garden tab above.
It has been so dry here recently that although seedlings in the cutting beds look healthy enough they are not yet romping away, and although I water a few times a week it has been hard to pick a time when the water won’t just evaporate – a day of steady showers would be most useful! The water butt between the greenhouses and the linked one in the fruit cage next to it are both virtually empty, and I try to bring a filled watering can from water butts elsewhere when I ramble up to this end – bearing in mind the bigger greenhouse is home to several young tomato plants and the Winter Sunshine sweet peas which all need daily watering.
Christina of My Hesperides Garden has posted about her cutting beds today and invited others to do the same; we all grow in different conditions with different resources and different preferences, but it has been most helpful in recent years to compare notes and learn from each other in many different ways so do watch out for similar posts. It is encouraging to compare our failures as well as our successes!