A trip down to Barnes last month saw a jolly distinguished group of plant lovers learning how to sow and grow your own cutting patch. Georgie Newbery from Common Farm Flowers in Somerset was our course leader for the day. Georgie owns her own flower farm and floristry business in a beautiful part of the southwest England.
Food (actually delicious food) made up an important part of the day. On arrival we were chewing our way through the most delectable almond macaroons; at lunch we ate a goat’s cheese and beetroot quiche, Somerset cheddar and village brownies. Georgie had made considerable effort to ensure our tummies were satisfied and we laughed a lot.
Growing a cutting patch in your garden must be one of the most rewarding gardening activities next to growing your own fruit and veggies. You need just a small area of 12’ x 3’ to give you enough room to grow annual flowers that will keep your house adorned with blooms up until the first frosts. The trick with annuals is to keep cutting them; an annual plant, sweet peas for example, wants to flower, seed and die all in one season and if you keep cutting the flowers you’ll be stopping its process of seeding then dying.
Georgie talked us through the importance of getting the compost mixture right and the most fail safe annual flowers to grow as well as insider secrets on how to keep your soil in tip top condition with ‘compost teas’. Men’s wee-wee is needed for a successful compost tea….
Georgie gets things going down on the flower farm early as she needs the flowers for her floristry business but we were advised on the best time to sow indoors and directly outdoors depending on the weather and time of year. Some seeds can be broadcast directly into the soil after the frosts yet some seeds needs a longer pre-flowering growing period and must be started off under cover.
At the end of the day, the group had seeded-up half a dozen pots each to take home with detailed instructions on how to pot them on once the first set of leaves made an appearance. We also learnt how to grow, store and propagate Dahlia’s, as no cutting garden is complete without a Dahlia plant or two. Suitable evergreen foliage shrubs were suggested such as Eucalyptus, Viburnum, Euonymus and Cornus.
The choice of seeds on the day included; Lathyrus Odorata (sweet peas) Ammi, Cornflower, Bells of Ireland, Nictotiana. Mine have now all germinated and are due to be potted-on in the next few days. I’m setting up some wigwam canes for the sweet peas and have some twiggy pea sticks ready to support the shorter growing plantlets.
Can’t wait for these babies to do their thing in the garden.