When I wrote the last sowing & growing update in early July I was bemoaning the fact that we hadn't had much sun and the cut flower season was a little later than usual. Since then we've had two heat waves and lots of sun and now my cut flower patch is blooming and I am harvesting flowers for the vase on a daily basis. The photograph opposite is today's crop and all the flowers are grown from the seeds from Cut Flower Patch boxes. Flowers in the photograph include are rudbeckia, cosmos, sunflower, scabiosa, achillea and statice.
The January Seed Box - Sweet Pea, Godetia, Gypsophila, Delphinium and Cleome
Sweet pea week 31
My sweet peas have pretty much finished flowering now, I think had I planted them in a bed rather than a container they may have kept going for a little longer as during the heat wave, even with regular watering, the compost in the pot dried out very quickly.
I pressed my last few sweet peas as I think, especially on the vine, they make lovely pressed flowers pictures. If you'd like to have a go at pressing sweet peas it's best to pick and press the flowers when they're at their freshest and also when they are dry. I think they look good if you press the leaves, tendrils and buds, as well as the flowers.
Godetia week 31
I cut my last godetia flowers at around week 27 and then removed the plants from my cut flower patch and put statice in its place. The godetia didn't disappoint, from just 4 plants I got many many flowers for the vase.
Gypsophila week 31
Like the godetia, I picked my last gypsophila at around week 27. In the last Sowing & Growing Update I suggested that maybe gypsophila is not the best filler flower to grow if you have a small cut flower patch. However, many of you came back to me and said you'd been really pleased with how many flowers you've cut from your gypsophila so would like to see it included again in next year's seed box. I love to hear about Cut Flower Patch grower's successes, especially when I've not had such good results.
Talking of which...
Delphinium and cleome week 30
I'm afraid I didn't have any success with the either the delphinium or cleome, the delphiniums I'd nurtured carefully for weeks were eaten one rainy morning and, despite 2 sowings, I didn't mange to get any cleome to germinate.
The February Seed Box - Dahlia, Ageratum, Aster, Achillea and Rudbeckia
Dahlia week 27
The dahlias in my patch started to flower a few days ago, however they are a little droopy. I think this is because it has been so hot and the plant is diverting the water from the roots to its leaves. Am hoping it will perk up now it's a bit cooler. I will water a little more thoroughly but as dahlias like well drained soil I'll make sure it isn't too soggy. I especially love the coral colour of the one in the photograph.
Ageratum week 27
I've been cutting ageratum now for around 6 weeks and it's still going strong. Makes a lovely vase filler.
Aster week 27
There's only 4 aster plants in my cut flower patch, some have already flowered and have made their way into the vase but there's lots more to come.
Achillea week 27
I've been a little disappointed with the achillea, although I've cut quite a few I don't seem to have had the density of flowers that other cut flower patch growers have enjoyed. There's always next year!
Rudbeckia week 27
The rudbeckia are pure joy, again because I only have a smallish cut flower patch I planted out just 3 plants , but every day for the last 2 weeks there's been 4 or 5 flowers ready for cutting. I love the green centres of this variety (Prairie Sun) and they have a long vase life too. Happy days.
The March Seed Box - Sunflower, Zinnia, Cosmos, Cornflower and Greater Quaking Grass
Sunflower week 23
This variety of sunflower, Valentine, has been perfect for cutting, it doesn't get too tall and the heads aren't too large. Again I've been cutting a few sunflowers every day for the last week.
Zinnia week 23
This year I put my zinnias into pots because they don't like root disturbance but they didn't seem to be making much progress so I took a risk and moved them into the patch. Am pleased I did, I cut some beauties a few weeks back and now there's more ready for the vase.
Cosmos week 23
Cosmos never fails to please, my plants are coming along nicely and I can see in a week or two I'll be cutting armfuls everyday. So far I've only had one or two flowers so have had a go at pressing these, watch this space!
Cornflower week 23
I finally pulled up the last of the cornflower plants from my cut flower patch around 4 weeks ago, but my goodness, they've earned their keep! From just the half a dozen plants I out in the patch I've cut dozens for the vase, made a number of pieces of botanical art and dried a few bunches (for the first time).
Greater quaking grass week 23
The greater quaking grass (aka briza maxima) has been another plant which has really delivered. I planted out just 3 plants into the patch and I've been cutting grass every day for around 8 weeks now. It's starting to go a little brown so is coming to the end. This week I'm going to cut the last stems and dry them out for use in a winter arrangement.
The April Seed Box - Amaranthus, Scabiosa, Campanula, Ranunculus and Anemone
Amaranthus week 19
I've seen lots of Cut Flower Patch growers' photos of fabulous cascades of coral flowers. By comparison I'm a little disappointed with my amaranthus plants. They certainly look big and healthy but the volume of flower heads isn't as good as I'd hoped. Next time I grow them I'll try pinching them out more vigorously. In the meantime please keep your photos coming in so I can look on in wonder.
Scabiosa week 19
The scabiosa has been another flower which has kept giving and giving. I've been cutting it everyday for a few weeks now. I'm also in the process of drying some too; after stripping the lower leaves I made up small bunches taking care to ensure the flower heads weren't touching. I then tied them tightly with string and hung them in our cloakroom where it's dark and dry. Will keep you posted.
Campanula week 19
I'm still a little concerned the campanula is a bit slow, it's out in the patch now so we'll see if that makes a difference.
Ranunculus week 19
As I said last month, I'm not entirely sure what happened to the ranunculus, all was fine then we went away for a few days and when we came home they'd wilted and I couldn't revive them.
Anemone week 19
Thankfully my anemones did much better than the ranunculus, I think they are just about coming to an end but from just three plants I must have cut at least 20 flowers. Aren't the deep, vibrant colours just amazing too?
The May Seed Box - Statice, Globe Amaranth, Sweet William, Bergamot and Strawflower
Statice week 15
From seed to vase in 15 weeks, the statice definitely gets the award for the fastest growing flower in this year's patch!
Globe amaranth week 15
The globe amaranth has had a growth spurt but still no sign of any flowers, but there's still time.
Sweet William week 15
The sweet william are looking strong and healthy, I expect to be cutting some flowers in the next few weeks.
Bergamot week 15
The bergamot is looking ok too and, again, am expecting it to flower in September.
Strawflower week 15
Despite two sowings of strawflower I've not managed to get any to germinate. I do hope you have more success than me.
Until next time, happy growing, harvesting and arranging!