Ok. I’m taking my second foray into the world of flower growing. Last season saw me build a bed for the sole purpose of having cut flowers. It was a brilliant idea. I figured if I treated them as a crop then I would have greater chance of having beautiful flowers to have, hold and give away. I even bought some lovely vases with the intention of having vibrant displays around the place.
You see the thing is I find it extremely difficult to pick the flowers growing around the house as I wouldn’t want to ruin the display. Having said that the flowers around the house a lucky to be able to show themselves at all as I wouldn’t say they were in formal beds. Even informal would be a bit of a stretch as they are generally the survivors from burst of good intentions years ago and rear their beautiful faces in spite of their situation. So who am I to pull off their heads?
The cut flower bed was to be my answer to it all. However the reluctance to remove their pretty heads dogged me all summer. I just couldn’t make myself do it. This was compounded by the fact I didn’t actually know what I was doing and had begun my garden in my usual ‘give it a whirl’ style. This didn’t work well for me. I made the classic newbie mistake of planting things too close together. And the final straw in my garden was the rogue tomato and pumpkin that sprung up from nowhere and I couldn’t bring myself to evict them. So they ran rampant and took over the bed leaving little room for the flowers to get a bloom in edgewise.
But all was not lost. My sunflowers towered above the tangled mess below and zinnias pushed through with a bright boldness that quickly endeared themselves to me. The blue salvia had such a magnificent colour and the cosmos and dahlias were vibrant rays of sunshine. In hindsight I can picture the lost potential for something amazing, so this year things are going to be different. Things are going to be better. I am going to make a plan. On paper. I’m taking this garden seriously.
After a good couple of hours and a lot of rubbing out of my pencil plan and much rearranging, I think I have it sorted. I hope. I have sealed it in permanent marker so there is no going back. I started out by drawing the size of each plant on grid paper and then marking how tall they get. Then in rough height order with the tallest at the back in the south, I began marking out on the master plan.
My bed is 3 metres by 2 metres and is the biggest of all my gardens so I was quite surprised just how few plants I could actually fit in if I space them properly. I thought for a moment that I wasn’t converting my centimetres to metres properly and added another zero, until I realised I’d just made my garden 3 kilometres x 2 kilometres. So out came the eraser again. I had divided the bed down the middle to ensure most of the tall plants were actually at the back. So each half was a metre wide and I even got the calculator out to divide 100 cm by the size of the plants just to make sure. It’s not that I can’t do simple maths, but I just could believe how few plants I could fit into my big garden.
Last year I had about 9 rows of half a dozen plants each in each half of the garden and hoped for the best. That’s 108 plants. This time I have 49. No wonder it was such a nightmare and the tomato and the pumpkin couldn’t have helped. All I need to do now is figure out which are perennials and which are annuals so I know which ones to pull up at the end of the season and which ones to leave and watch for next spring.
Oh my goodness my head is spinning. Now all I have to do is sow the seeds. I’ll sow extra just in case, so if I’ve got this completely wrong then please tell me and I’ll pop in some more. Please don’t tell me if I need less, it would be too much to bear!
Come again soon – the garden in coming along nicely.
Sarah the Gardener : o )