Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Workday

With a garden full of my favorite perennials, there never seem to be enough flowers to cut for the house.  So, for years I have wanted a cutting garden.

Not that I haven't tried.  I've planted lots of zinnias over the years and a cosmos or two, but I've never had a real cutting garden.  Enter the generous Belinda from Wild Acres.  Last fall she did a seminar [bloginar?] on how to start a cutting garden.  I learned two things:  that gardening conditions in England are not that different from those in Central Virginia, and that I needed a new approach - no more sticking a few annuals in among ("amongst", Belinda would say) the perennials and shrubs.  I needed a new garden.
Space is still in good supply in the yard, so I took [what seemed at the time to be] a big chunk out of the unused side yard - which fortunately gets 6-8 hours of morning sun during the growing season.  It will be visible from the street once there are flowers to see, and my office window overlooks it, so I can keep track of what's happening "down there".

You know the tricks.  Last September I laid out the space with a hose and walked around it for a few days; then added Roundup.  A week later and a lot of spade work and voila!
Belinda had provided a list of flowers that she recommended - many of which were unfamiliar to me - so I dived into the fall seed catalogs [did you know that spellchecker doesn't like "catalogue"?] and placed orders with Rebecca's and Stokes seeds as well as orders at Brecks and Brent and Becky's bulbs.  And the seeds came rolling in!  Such fun to read and re-read the packages and plan what needed to go where.
You also know what happened next.  By the time I had planted half of the fall seeds, my bed was nearly full and I still had many more packages for spring planting.  Snug in the bed were nigilla, stock, larkspur, poppies, and bachelor's buttons.  Following Belinda's instructions, I watered and then watched them all winter.  She said they would look like weeds, but since I planted in stick-straight rows, it was easy to tell that they are not weeds!

Clearly they did well this winter, because the local rabbits took to dining on the larkspur.  I had to cover part of the bed until they got tall enough to not be tender and delicious!
Which brings us to this Wednesday Workday.  I have finished planting this bed - maybe.  You can see that stock, larkspur, nigilla and bachelor's buttons are growing well.  I actually need to thin some of them a good bit.  This week I planted seeds for scabiosa.  Only three spindly little poppies have come up, so I am thinking that they may not make it and I will replant that section with more scabiosa - but will give it two more weeks.
And I have cleared a second full bed for astrantia and dahlias and a smaller area in the perennials.  Brent and Becky sent me a little something yesterday and Breck's has a shipment on its way from Holland.  Much more planting in my near future.  Thanks, Belinda!


  1. Just found your blog - it's lovely! You are being so industrious - it puts me to shame! I am still at the 'planning stage', and am surrounded by gardening books 'organising' everything that I want to do. Then I take a stroll around the garden, checking each area for optimum sun, and then it's time for a cup of tea and more reading about gardening on blogs. Sadly, all of this 'planning' seldom leads to the actually physical work of 'gardening' - a fact that I really must endeavour to rectify this year - after I've read about which order to do things in of course...
    I shall be back for more updates of your lovely flowerbed and vegetables!

  2. I need to take some planting lessons from you! :)

  3. I am v. impressed by your industry and your results.

    Expect to see you front and center Monday!

    xo Jane

  4. How very exciting to see them coming up! Can't wait to see it all in bloom. It will be gorgeous, (and I am envious :-)).

    Gardening is such fun.

  5. So pretty! Love seeing the work and the impending results. I wish we had flowers in our yard!

  6. Oh, I have always wanted a cutting garden. But, I have a friend who has taken another friends extra acreage and turned it into a HUGE cutting garden - and she delivers flowers to me to boot.

  7. We have always wanted a cutting garden also. When I was growing up my mother did not have a cutting garden per se but there were always fresh flowers by our bedside. Sometimes they were pansies, other times the were daffodils and sweet smelling hyacinths. My favorite were the anemones and camellias.

    We've never had any luck growing very much other than herbs and a few summer annuals such as zinnas and butterfly bushes. I wish you luck and will definitely follow your progress.

    I'm so glad I've met you and look forward to getting to know you better. Maybe I'll just move in next door and you'll bring me flowers from your garden (smile).

  8. Always a lot of yard work in the spring~when everything blooms, it will be gorgeous!

  9. I'm impressed you're setting up a proper cutting garden! I can't keep flowers in the house because the cats eat them. Actually, the cats DESTROYED the lady banks rose I brought in to photograph. It was there when I went upstairs to edit the photos and GONE when I came back down - only a stick in a pair of hand grips remained.

  10. how fun (and what a lot of work) to create a new garden area. love seeing your plants rising toward the sun, and look forward to seeing them in bloom.

  11. Webb, I am so envious. I have no sunny spot for a cutting garden. I have to be satisfied with lots of shade plants. I can't wait to see you wonderful flowers. Bonnie

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Webb, Sorry, I inadvertently posted a comment meant elsewhere here. So sorry! Bonnie