This week I'm thinking about the focal flowers - after foliage this is the next one to be thinking about for your cutting garden, as this is where you need to decide about the stars of your designs. Some are tubers, some herbacious perennials and some are shrubs, but they all need a fair amount of space (although lots are great for problem areas like against walls or shady spots) so set aside as much as you can for them and get planting!Read More
Winter is often seen as a time of quiet in the garden. But there are stirrings underground and every day I see more tiny green shoots poking out of the earth. The bark mulch covering the tulips is being pushed aside as they reach up towards the light. Yesterday I noticed the first snowdrops, today the buds of the dark pink hellebores starting to unfurl.
The bed at the bottom of the garden is north facing, damp and shady. We've planted fruit trees there, they will grow high enough to stand up tall above the fence and soak in the light from across the valley, but the flowers at their base get no light at all until lunchtime. Last year I planted bulbs down there, and I've recently potted up snowdrops, fritillaries and hellebore seedlings to move into the bed later in the spring. In a couple of years they will have naturalised and will provide a wonderful show to get us through the winter days until the foxgloves bloom and anemones open.
Astrantia is another wonderful plant for shade and I've got 15 of them waiting in pots to move into that bed and help it earn its keep during the summer. They're going to look wonderful alongside the climbing roses I'm training up and over the fence. Hold tight for a few months and this blog will be full of them! My seed order arrived today too, more precious packets of potential to fill the summer with colour. And a reminder there's an awful lot to do before March - plants in pots to move into the beds, seedlings to take their place, a greenhouse to build. It's never quiet in the cutting garden and it'll just get busier as wedding season kicks off... but that's the joy in growing!