It's late January, the winter has been cold and frosty. That's good for ensuring we get less bugs this year, but not good for keen gardeners who want to get going, so here's 5 easy to grow cut flowers that you can be planning and plotting for if this is your first time growing.
yes, my last blog was about these, and you can sow them in October, and then plant them out at this time of year. But you can also sow them now if you must, or through March and into April. If you're a beginner gardener, I recommend the Spencer varieties. These are great for scented summer blooms.
- Sow in a deep pot, or a root trainer
- You can soak them first, or even leave them on some wet cotton wool or tissue for a few days to sprout, but i'd just suggest buying good quality seed (i.e not those that are in the cheap rack at the garden centre)
- Make sure your compost is sieved, and add some vermiculite for good drainage
- When they've got a good healthy root growth plant them out, but they often sulk for a couple of weeks after planting, so don't worry.
- Tie them into something so they grow upwards
- feed and water well
- pick, and pick and pick, as soon as they start flowering
There are lots of colours of cornflowers now, and as a cut flower, although fiddly to pick, they are beautiful on their own or with other things.
- wait until March to start sowing, early seeds tend to get very leggy
- Sow seeds in modules, or prick out when just 2 leaves
- they germinate very fast, sometimes within 3 days, and can then grow into rosettes within weeks so don't sow too many
- Plant them out at least 30cm apart, this will mean that each plant produces a minimum of 20-30 flowers if you cut them regularly
- Pick and pick and pick
Ammi and Cornflowers grow so well together that really they shouldn't not be both grown. This was a picture (by Emma Davies) of one of my first arrangements, and just a few plants of each will give you a similar arrangement every week for several summer months.
- Ammi Major is slightly easier to grow than Ammi Visnaga
- Both are small seeds, don't sow to thickly, or sow in deep modules
- They don't like root disturbance, so prick/ thin out when very small
- Plant at least 30cm apart as they'll grow tall
- Pick and pick and pick
Now one of my favourites, and easy to grow from seeds. As well as the multicoloured flowers, there's also Scabious Stellata Pingpong that has amazing seed heads.
- Wait until March, then they'll be enough light for them to grow on quickly
- Seeds are larger, so easy to sow one per module in seed trays
- plant out as soon as the roots fill the module, can be as quickly as 6-8 weeks from sowing
- space at least 30cm apart, these will produce masses of flowers
- pick and pick and pick and pick, on as long stems as possible. They will start flowering in July from an early March sowing, then will have pause, but will reflower again in September.
As easy to grow seeds go, Nigella is up there, in fact it often sows itself profusely, often so profusely that you don't get good results, so here's my
- It can be direct seeded (here's how to do that and the advantages and disadvantages of direct seeding) or it can be module grown
- You get a lot of seeds in a packet, don't sow them too thickly
- If you sow into the ground, make a straight line so you can weed round them
- Thin out if you've got too many plants (i know it seems harsh but you'll get small plants with few flowers otherwise)
- Pick and pick and pick and pick
Want to have a go? If you've not grown cut flowers before, these are the ones to try with first. My friend Ben over at Higgledy Garden sells all these seeds - (Not sponsored, just that he's a good egg, and sells high quality seeds)
Or if any of those terms like sowing direct, modules or pricking out were alien to you, why not treat yourself to a morning at the farm to find out more about propagation, and take away a garden of plants to grow on. Details of Workshops are here particularly of interest may be the Growing your own from cuttings and seeds