Cut and Come Again

As the cutting beds have progressed this season I have tried to post regular updates although it must be three weeks since the last cutting bed post. It is obvious from recent vases that there is plenty to cut, and to cut and come again. In the far corner we have three dahlias, Cosmos ‘Candy Sripe’ and Cosmos ‘Purity’, annual dahlia ‘Figaro’, Alonsoa, dwarf sunflower ‘Choc Sun’, Rudbeckia ‘Goldilocks’ and blue and pink clary sage:

IMG_7872‘Karma Serena’, the greenish white dahlia we all fell in love with last year, was just budding up nicely but something (possibly a cat) has broken the stem so we will have to wait a little longer for that. There seems to be a misspelling issue with the other two, but hopefully the mystery will be solved in due course when the other one flowers. The rudbeckia and dwarf sunflowers are both dead certs for next year, and it will be interesting to see what other colours emerge when the annual dahlia mix:


There are five dahlias in the next bed , two Bishop’s Children, ‘Twynings After Eight’, ‘Nuit D’Eté’ and another of last year’s Karma ones. In front of these are Antirrhinum ‘Admiral’s Purple, Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ and not yet flowering Zinnia ‘Purple Prince’. Meanwhile, self-seeded bupleurium plugs some of the gaps.

IMG_7875The antirrhinum have been brilliant and regular deadheading is encouraging new flower spikes whilst ‘Irish Eyes’ have been smiling for weeks:

IMG_7876At the back of these two beds the sweet peas have been suffering with the heat and lack of rain, and although still flowering are doing so on very short stems, so perhaps a second sowing would have helped to prolong the season – although sweet peas elsewhere in the garden are still flowering well…

IMG_7890The corner bed is one of two halves, with the sunflowers ‘Ruby Eclipse’, ‘Italian White’ and ‘Earth Walker’ beaming away to the sun and our neighbour at the top, and Amaranthus caudatus and Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ lurking happily at the bottom:

sunflowers IMG_7877 IMG_7878The fourth and last bed contains Larkspur ‘Sublime Deep Blue’, Ammi visnaga, three shades of cornflower, Amaranthus ‘Green Cascade’, Godetia ‘Azalea Flowered’, Aster ‘Milady Mixed’, Zinnias ‘Sprite Mixed’ and ‘Luminosa’ and self seeded Briza maxima, the latter already reseeding for yet another year.

IMG_7879Despite cutting back, the godetia does not seem to be going to reflower, so perhaps a second sowing would be useful for this too. The asters have been slow getting to flowering stage but you can see they are just about there and will no doubt appear in a vase very soon. The tassels on this amaranthus have been decidedly short this year – is there any way it could have been because this was ‘old’ seed? I was not going to include cornflowers, which readily sprawl, in the cutting beds next year but the ones that have been corralled at the back of the bed look OK so I think I will keep a narrow strip of them here next year, supported from the start.

cuttingbeds2 IMG_7882

What I need to do at this stage is plan for next year, allocating spaces before I actually order seed, unlike the retrospective planning after an autumn of random seed purchase and a spring of sowing that has been my ‘modus operandi’ in these last two seasons. These regular updates have certainly helped me assess progress and make informal but informed decisions about the plants used – and the feedback and shared information from other bloggers has been a huge help, so please keep it coming. If any one else wants to write about how their cutting beds are doing please feel free to link to this post as the shared experience is proving invaluable.

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21 Responses to Cut and Come Again

  1. I really enjoy these posts. You have such a lovely choice of blooms.

  2. rickii says:

    I am so impressed. My attempt at a cutting garden was a complete wash-out.

  3. Debra says:

    I like your encouragement to plan a little more. I haven’t been doing that! I am a bit random in my choices which end up being pleasing to me, but I think I’d like to try a year where the garden appears more, well…PLANNED! LOL! For one thing, too many options and I don’t end up cutting anything because individual flowers and plants aren’t in as much abundance when they’re hidden by too much variety in a small space. I do have some lovely zinnias! I really enjoy your photos. What an inviting garden!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Debra – and I too feel that way about my other borders, defintely no planning there and that tends to show! The joy of a cutting bed, however small, is that you can stuff different things in and enjoy the variety and colour as well as the pleasure of cutting them

  4. kate says:

    What an impressive lot of colour you still have – yup, I’m jealous. I’m particularly jealous of you dahlias, as mine have been stripped to the bone by slugs. Tempted to give up, but you’ve tempted me back…

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kate – admittedly the colour is focussed in the cutting beds and is more soradic elsewhere, but it’s a joy to behold. Sorry abut your slug damage – I seem to be the only one who has had minimal nibbling this year which I am attributing to the dryness and the presence of a hedgehog

  5. Christina says:

    I’m still trying to catch up with everything so I think it will be next week before I manage a post about the cut flower beds but I’ll link in anyway.

  6. Eliza Waters says:

    I love looking at all the variety – it gives me ideas for next year. Like a kid in a candy store. 😉 The burgundy cornflower is beautiful and would look great with pink.

    • Cathy says:

      The dark cornflower is Black Ball. The variety of colour in the cutting beds was one of the unexpected pleasures of them

  7. Very colourful, Cathy. I’m struggling a bit with keeping the dahlias free from slug and snail damage, how do you manage to keep yours looking so pristine?

    • Cathy says:

      Sorry about your dahlias. Strangely, we have had very little evidence of slugs this year (although there were many big ones under the rocks when the rockery was dismantled – what a sad life they must have been living!). It has been a relatively dry year which will make a difference and also we have definitely got a resident hedgehog but I don’t know how many slugs one hedgehog can it – although hopefully there is a whole family of them, or tribe even…

  8. Amy says:

    Beautiful garden, Cathy! It takes a lot of effort to plan. 🙂

  9. Lots of lovely blooms, my I ask where you get your seeds from..?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks. I buy most seed from eBay where there are lots of reputable seed sellers – which means I might see something on someone’s blog or read about elsewhere and I can just pop over to eBay and order it, which I tend to do throughout the year but especially from autum to early spring. Most don’t come in fancy packaging, but that’s fine. Then in January our local Garden centre sells all seed half price and I will top up on anything I am short of or new varieties that take my fancy.

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