Monday, January 6

Thinking Flowers

As well as growing fruit and vegetables on the plot we like to grow flowers. For years we had a large area devoted to dahlias. 
Originally these were grown from bought in tubers which we dug up each year and then had to go to the trouble of storing overwinter. Inevitably we lost some and the whole process was time consuming, space consuming and generally not the type of gardening that we enjoy.

So phase two was to leave the tubers in the ground covered by a pile of straw and a sheet of black plastic . This worked - the dahlias survived - there was one unexpected event in that a hoard of bees decided to set up home in the straw and we had to wait for them to vacate before uncovering the plants. 
This was less of a chore but the dahlias were slow off the mark and had a very short flowering period for the space they took.


The next idea was to grow dahlias form seed which again worked but I was disappointed in that the resulting flowers didn't turn out as described by the suppliers and I ended up with pompomless pompom dahlias and the wide range of colours promised turned out to be mainly yellow. Again the flowering period was disappointing as the plants had the do quite a bit of growing before flowers were produced.
At this point we fell out of love with growing dahlias and so last year I decided to direct sow some annuals in the ex dahlia bed. This resulted in a mixed success mainly as the emerging seedlings had to compete with the weeds and the bed was too big to allow me to weed from the edges without standing on seedlings.
So as I posted here that wasn't as successful in reality as it was in my head.

The ex dahlia/flower bed has now been prepared for a new role on the plot as described in this post and I am rethinking how I will grow flowers. I've already planted some flowers - sweet William, wallflowers, sweet rocket and dog daisies - that should give a show next year and these are looking good so far.
That said they have still to make it through winter and flower.

As you will know if you visit regularly we have a weed control fabric addiction and these were planted through fabric as described here.

Next season I intend to concentrate on hardy annuals again (half hardy tend to be neglected as vegetables have priority when it comes to greenhouse space and attention).

New seeds ordered are:
From Kings Seeds
Cornflower Double Blue
Cornflower Polka Dot Mixed (for containers)
Cosmos Carpet Formula (for containers)
Godetia Dream Double
Larkspur Giant Hyacinth Flowered
Sunflower Music Box
Sweet Pea Kings Chelsea Scented Collection
Sweet Sultan
Viola Sorbet Mixed (for containers)
Wallflower Simplicity Mixed

From Thompson and Morgan
Wallflower Tom Thumb (for containers)
Orlaya
Poppy Angels Choir Mixed
Heliomeris multiflora 'Sunsplash'Goldeneye
Calendula Citrus Cocktail
Calendula Fruit Twist (for containers)

From Plants of Distinction
Eschscholzia Jelly Beans (for containers)

I do have some seeds left over such as; Cosmos - SensationCandytuft  -Spangles, Chrysanthemun - Rainbow and Sweet William - Auricula Eyed Mixed to add to the new selection.

Some of the chosen seeds are going to be used for containers.

My intention is to sow the seeds in rows through weed control fabric in the same way as we sow carrots. The seeds will be sown in a bed where I can reach over to pull out any weed seedlings, that germinate along the rows, at an early stage. I intend to sow seeds in patches along the rows to give a more mixed feel which will hopefully look more natural.

Let's see if this produces a satisfactory effect this year and also gives me some cut flower material.



26 comments:

  1. So this is the point I reach every year where I regret not sowing wallflowers. The scent from so many will be amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is worth it just for the scent, Victoria. Pity the half dozen near the shed didn't like the acidity as it is where we sit for a coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A lovely selection Sue, I always get a surprise in my front garden as my neighbour plants any surplus that he had. I look forward each year to seeing what wallflowers he has planted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your very own private gardener eh, Jo?

      Delete
  4. I shall watch with interest to see how they all do, as I could do with some flower growing tips. I'm going to plant some insect-friendly ones in the back garden this year, as the soil there is very poor and the vegetables don't do well in it. Hopefully we will get lots of bees and butterflies and things for the boys to watch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bees loved the annuals this year, CJ

      Delete
  5. My Dad used to grow Dahlias, and I clearly remember all the palaver that it involved! I think you are in good company - in that these days people generally want a better results-to-effort ratio. Your huge selection of flowers makes my few perennials look a bit pathetic, though I am making some modest progress in this area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are just annuals though Mark. We have a few perennials on the plot but they need sorting out and are generally garden refugees.

      Delete
  6. That's a great selection of seeds, you should have a riot of colour this year. I don't really grow many flowers from seed, I'm busy enough with the veggies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do hope so, Jo. Remember there are two of us full time gardeners, Well maybe not exactly time.

      Delete
  7. I leave my dahlias in the ground. in York .They don't all survive but many do. I find that that my named varieties (although I have forgotten most of the names!) make very strong plants and if necessary I can fork the odd one out to divide in Spring. As long as they are in a sunny position they flower earlier and better than traditionally lifted ones. I think one of the secrets is to plant them very deep. New tubers tend to continue nicely deep down. I had to start again after 2010!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we were growing them in a mixed bed in the garden I may have grown some single flowered varieties. But on the plot devoting a bed to them meant that for most of the time the bed was uninteresting. I also want something to draw in the butterflies and bees which I know some dahlias do but I think the annuals may be better for this and also I can grow something different next year if I don;t like them.

      Delete
  8. Oh how I love dahlias - but you are right - they are a pain. I grow mine in containers now and replace them every year. Can't wait to get sowing the annuals - looking at the garden at the moment it's hard to believe than in a few months it will be full of colour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, Elaine but hang on to that thought!

      Delete
  9. God luck with all those Sue. I find with annuals that the type of summer we have make a bigger difference than with perennials. If it is a nice summer, they do much better. I was also disappointed with Dahlia from seed, and as you say, the others are a lot of work.I lost mine the previous winter and did not get new ones but I will when I see good ones. The tubers in garden centers and nurseries are often not very good. I suppose one is to get them as soon as possible, when there is still a selection of good tubers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose it's the same with dahlias though, Alain.

      Delete
  10. I've never been a fan of bulbs or tubers that need lifted and stored, always seems too much work.Your plans for growing flowers sound really interesting and you've a good variety of plants listed, hope it will be successful using the weed proof fabric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure the weed fabric will work, Kelli as it does for carrots and parsnips. It will just be a case of how the annuals perform

      Delete
  11. I must admit to forgetting about plants that need to be lifted. Your plants look great so far, let's hope we don't get snow. What a lovely selection od seeds you've ordered. I love larkspur!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping they will provide some cut flowers too Snowbird

      Delete
  12. Mixing flowers and vegetables on the garden will look so wonderful. Our garden will be more colorful

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it should encourage beneficial insects too, Endah

      Delete
  13. SO much pretty flowers! I love sunflowers! Happy sowing seeds and gardening!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love Dahlias and lift them each year but only have a relatively small area it's not too onerous. Hope your flower plans go well this year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We ended up with about 40 Damo - no doubt lifting and starting them off our off the ground would produce an earlier flowering period but it just wasn't our thing. Still love the flowers.

      Delete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It isnot published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.