Cutting Bed Progress, June 2016

IMG_7420One 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.

IMG_7417 IMG_7418Seedlings 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.

IMG_7410Dahlias 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.

IMG_7411The 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.

IMG_7412The 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.


IMG_7413It 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!

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23 Responses to Cutting Bed Progress, June 2016

  1. I’m so impressed with the way you organise your planting.

    • Cathy says:

      It might look organised but underneath it all many of the sowing choices are quite haphazard – I need to be more selective!

  2. Christina says:

    You are better than me at giving plants enough space to grow. I tend to cram too much in. That’s true of my vegetable beds too. I might try some more larkspur, I like it a lot and I don’t have many plants. We should both have a good supply of plants for our vases!

    • Cathy says:

      And I thought I HAD crammed mine in!! I have certainly crammed seedlings in amongst plants in the other borders – and perhaps need to learn to be more selective. I was really pleased with how well the larkspur germinated – definitely looking forward to the flowering stage ☺

  3. Thanks for the tour, Cathy. I too am considering leaving my dahlias in the ground. Lifting them this year was not a success. They did not sprout enthusiastically when potted up in spring, and one day I found the whole lot dug up by squirrels. Though we always get frosts through to May here, I am going to experiment with leaving them in the ground under a very deep mulch, plus judicious placing of cloches on cold nights, to see if they fare better. More and more I read about other gardeners doing the same. Would love to hear if this experiment goes well for you, if you decide to do it. Everything else is looking great too. Thanks for the tip about cosmos and zinnias in cells. I’ll try that next time.

    • Cathy says:

      Leaving them in the ground is the easier option of course, but then there is the risk of a hard winter finishing them off – and by the time that comes to light will it be too late to replace them..? Decisions…

  4. It is exciting to see all of these seedlings beginning to grow and a few producing flowers. It will be so pretty when they all get to flowering even if you don’t cut them.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh yes it is indeed exciting – and that was one of the unexpected things we realised last year, just how attractive the cutting beds were in their own right.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    Do you pre-chill your larkspur seeds? Mine didn’t germinate and I think it may be the weren’t chilled long enough in the fridge. I think I might have better luck sowing in the fall.

    • Cathy says:

      Actually Eliza, I completely forgot about the recommended chilling (the seeds didn’t come with sowing details) – but they began germinating after about 9 days and came through in dribs and drabs over a week or so. The first sowing was on 3rd Feb, the second on 9th Feb although the 2nd sowing was a little slower to start. I haven’t grown them before so am chuffed that they have grown into healthy plants – just need them to flower now!

  6. Renee says:

    Whenever you share your cutting gardens (and greenhouses), im always so impressed! These will look great in the beds and in vases later.

    • Cathy says:

      This is only the third year I have sown seriously and the first of those was with limited success, and I enjoy it hugely – it’s magical to watch seeds germinate and develop into flowering plants!

  7. Sam says:

    The mesh you’ve put up for your sweet peas is a great idea. I need to give mine something finer to grow up as they’ve only got thick hazel wigwams at the moment and they’re flopping around, poor things. Impressive planting plans. Very organised! You’re going to have masses of blooms for your vases. How lovely 🙂

  8. Cathy says:

    What wonderful vases you are going to have, Cathy. Thanks for telling us about Monty Don and his cosmos. I missed that GW episode and mine always grow like monsters, so that I’m sick of them by the time I come to cutting the flowers! I’m not sure about that zinnia in cells things. I have absolutely no experience with zinnias, but last year I sowed them (for the first time) in cells and others in pots to prick out. The ones in pots were stronger growing in spite of the root disturbance. In the cells they didn’t germinate too well. Although were ok. This year has been a disaster for them because we’ve had no heat to speak of.

    • Cathy says:

      I am only just in the habit of watching GW regularly as we used to be out on Fridays. The other thing bloggers suggested about zinnias was sowing them later, so I left them till May. Even with sowing in cells I still had to move them into bigger ones which was a nominal disturbance – we shall see how they do in due course

      • Cathy says:

        Perhaps you’ve provided the answer – late sowings! I over-sowed after my first sowings failed this year and the seedlings came up a treat (and then damped off because of overcast, cool weather!)

  9. You’re going to have so many lovely flowers to choose from! We’re not growing many annuals specifically for cutting this year, though we did cut some of the Spring Alliums to bring inside.

    • Cathy says:

      Hope so! I started growing them to fill gaps at first but have realised how useful and attractive cutting beds can be

  10. You have been SO busy. Going to be amazing when they are in flower. I leave dahlias in the ground at work. There it is chalk soil so very free draining which helps. At home here is heavy clay so I was most surprised to see them reappear this year. I am however plagued with snails and slugs who are getting fat on the leaves.:(

    • Cathy says:

      Decisions decisions! I am still so unsure about this winter – it’s not as if it’s TOO onerous digging them up…

  11. Anna says:

    I imagine that you’ve been busy with the watering can of late Cathy. You will have rich pickings soon. Some of my annuals at the allotment have had some rather brutal pinching out recently courtesy of a bunny. Funnily enough it wasn’t partial to cosmos.

    • Cathy says:

      I wouldn’t water on a regular basis normally, but felt it was a necessity in recent weeks – with a bit of comfrey tea too! I wonder what your bunnies have against cosmos – although you should be grateful for small mercies I suppose… hope the others survive the onslaught

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