Gardening Magazine

News From The Cutting Garden

By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk
The new raised vegetable bed in our back garden is doing well. Although I broke a long standing rule of mineNews From The Cutting Garden and sowed last year’s seed - some from opened packets - everything has germinated and is growing well. Some soft rain as I write this is much appreciated towards the end of what has been a very dry and non showery April! I sowed the seeds quite thickly in the rows to compensate for its age and now will have to thin some of it out!
The cutting garden is still work in progress and I have confined my Dahlia tubers to containers for this year until the area is ready to be planted. There will be a battle to keep this for flowers and not allow it to be taken over by the burgeoning vegetable area! However I am determined to have some plants for the vase and have grown some Sweet Peas from seed. They are hardened off and growing away now so a place must be found for them. I like to prepare the ground well for them as they need plenty of moisture at their roots to produce the best flowers. I dig a trench out the depth of a spade and add homemade garden compost to this. A sprinkling of Blood, Fish and Bone then follows along with a couple of cans of water to help the moisture levels. The displaced soil is put back over the top of this rich mixture and the six foot bamboo canes that make the wig-wam can go in. The plants are put into the ground with as little disturbance as possible and encouraged to begin climbing! 
I would not be without Sweet Peas through the summer and although I do not have the room or patience to train them as cordons to increase the length of the stems, I usually get good results and friends always gasp ‘Oh! Sweet Peas’ as they breath in the delicious scent. 
I have grown a mixture of annuals from seed this year and if the cutting garden is not finished (or taken over by vegetables!) I will use them in other areas. The sea-green leaves of Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ are bewitching enough and make an eye-catching mound in free draining soil and full sun but the flowers are clusters of beautiful dusky blue tubes with inky purple middles, freely produced over a long season and excellent in a vase if the ends are seared first in boiling water. The common name is Honeywort and the bees adore it, buzzing happily around the blooms and encouraging the plants to gently seed around the garden! 
Sunflowers are a classic for the vase but the taller varieties are a challenge in our exposed garden so I have opted for varieties which will only grow to three feet at the most. ‘Little Dorrit’ is a new one to me and I am looking forward to the large, golden yellow flowers that have the typical brown center again loved by bees. This variety will grow to two feet and will be ideal in a big pot if I cannot find room in a border. The seeds have come up very well and I have plenty of plants to experiment with!  Honesty is a biennial that has long been grown in our gardens and it is easily raised from seed. Happy in sun or part shade, I love it for the early flowers that attract plenty of bees and for the translucent discs that are the seed capsules. These follow the flowers and persist on the plants for many months making them attractive for dried arrangements. I have raised some of the purple flowered plants (Lunaria annua) and will plant them in a shady corner for flowers at this time next year. Along with late Daffodils and Forget me Nots they will light up an area that until now has been somewhat neglected.

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