I have an unfortunate addiction to cut flowers. Unfortunate and expensive. I buy the cheapest I can find, and get what I can from the countryside, but even so I am not even going to contemplate adding up how much I spend on them in an average year. Although, I’d argue it’s worth it.
Added to that, there are ethical considerations when buying flowers – all those air miles and valuable farmland given over to growing fancy blooms for first world countries. There are more and more UK-grown flowers available these days, but they don’t come cheap. There’s a shop on my cycle ride home from work that sells the most gorgeous posies of locally-grown flowers, which I find completely irresistible.
It’s getting out of hand, so I’ve decided I need to turn as much of my garden as I can over to growing them myself.
Earlier this year, I posted about my endeavours in planting a rose border and sowing sweet peas in a container for cutting. Well, here’s how it’s all looking now:
The sweet peas are thriving and I cut them every day to keep them flowering as long as possible. Even one or two of them fills a room with fragrance, and they look so pretty tumbled into a jar.
But sweet peas are not enough, I need a plan for a year-round supply.
So much for my elegant roses-and-lavender border, I’m going to have to cram it with bulbs so that I have plenty of daffodils and tulips for the Spring, and alliums in the Summer.
Classic annuals like nigella (love-in-a-mist), poppies, cornflowers, borage, rudbeckia and flowering tobacco are essential. Growing annuals from seed is cheap and you can vary them each year, trying new species and varieties. Cut-and-come-again annuals like sweet peas are especially useful.
Larger spaces in the herb beds can be filled with perennials like euphorbia, chrysanthemums and carnations. I’ll hopefully also have room for a peony and some ranunculus as well.
Gladioli are fabulous, and look as stunning in a garden border as they do in a vase. You can also wave them round your head and pretend to be Morrissey. Or Dame Edna.
And don’t forget herbs. We’ve got more herbs in the garden than we could ever use in the kitchen, and the interesting foliage and aromatic scents make them ideal for vase arrangements. They last a long time when cut too, and things like rosemary and bay are evergreens so you’ll have them all winter as well.
Most of these ideas for cutting flowers will work in containers, and you can fit some into the tiniest of gardens, although if you want a house full of your own cut flowers 52 weeks of the year you’ll have to look into getting an allotment! Failing that, you can search for a supplier of locally-grown flowers at this website: http://flowersfromthefarm.co.uk
So that’s the plan! Growing my own flowers – especially from seed – should cost much less than buying them, so hopefully I’ll have a decent crop over the next twelve months. So far so good with my sweet pea bonanza…
How is your garden getting on this year?