After months of sheltering inside, wrapped in layers of wool, the garden finally called to me last month and with a few days of glorious sunshine forecast, I dragged myself outside. The cutting garden has been sadly neglected over winter – weeds have popped up everywhere and spent annuals, without enough cold weather to fully kill them, had flopped, no longer flowering and barely clinging to their foliage.Read More
It is my humble opinion that everyone should make room for a herb garden - whether it’s a couple of pots on a windowsill or a full on knot garden. A touch of fresh herbs can elevate a dish or a drink to something really special, and their fragrance and texture do the same to floral arrangements. Of course, there are countless different herbs and varities, but these are my favourite 5…Read More
I'm writing this (slightly late, as ever) looking over a garden filling up with early summer flowers. The lavender is just opening up, the climbing roses are blooming and foxgloves are towering over everything. We had a glorious May and the garden was grateful for a bit of warmth and sunshine after a cold, wet and snowy spring.
Filler flowers - an essential part of the cutting garden for bouquets and wedding designs, and I'd have countless varieties if I had the space for them! However, I'm working with just a few beds, and have to be very selective about what I grow. I'm growing no more than about 15 different fillers and these 5 are my absolute favourites.Read More
Our hedges, verges and abandoned corners may look bland and green at first sight but look closer and they are filled with treasure. I'm lucky enough to have friends with fields who don't cut their hedges, but if you don't (and you're not using your materials for profit - see note at the end of this post) then head out for a wander along a verge and see what beautiful things you can find. These are my favourite wild things to hunt for when I'm foraging.Read More
My post the other week on focal flowers quite noticeably left out all spring bulbs because I felt they needed a category all of their own. I love bulbs in spring, they're a cheap and cheerful way to add pops of beautiful colour into the cutting garden, and are especially useful to the hobby florist as they enable you to get the specialist varieties without having to purchase 50 stem bunches from the wholesalers. Now it's November it's the perfect time to be planting them as you clear spent annuals and lift dahlias for the winter.Read More
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
Foliage is a funny old thing. People disregard it as just 'greens', but it's the mainstay of almost all floral design. There's a vast range of different textures and colours available, and it's an easy way to fill spaces in the cutting garden and create permanent structure . These are my 5 favourites, all of which are easy to grow in most of the UK.Read More
Autumn is here and the garden is slowly starting to wind down for the winter. I'm working with a fairly small space in my cutting garden, beds are precious and only the most beautiful and productive plants get a spot. Even so, there's a lot to do and I've been out over the last couple of weeks pottering about; taking cuttings, planting out and clearing spaces for the spring bulb order that's coming soon.
It's got me thinking about my favourite plants, which ones I'll always make space for, so I thought I'd do a 'My Top 5 Plants for the Cutting Garden' blog post. But after about 30 seconds of writing I realised that would just be impossible - there are far too many! But I've managed to narrow down my top 5 in various different categories, and over the next couple of months I'm going to be sharing these with you, and hopefully inspiring you in your garden planning for next year!Read More
Summer is in full swing in the cutting garden and the beds are bursting with colour and beautiful blooms. Roses and clematis are scrambling over the fences, the dahlias are towering over Imogen's head and cerinthe is spilling out of the herb border. We've had a few rainy days that have rotted roses and encouraged slugs which has been frustrating but things are, thankfully, looking up!Read More
This week I finally pulled up the tulip bulbs to get some space back for perennials. They bloomed for weeks and filled that little corner of the garden with gorgeous soft pink tones. So beautiful but also such a learning curve, it appears I have a lot to learn about growing tulips!Read More
I hope you've had a marvellous weekend in the sunshine. I'm home now, settling back into the rhythm of the garden and preparing for a crazy week next week (shoot flowers on Sunday, wedding flowers next Thursday, flower crown workshop for 30 (!!!) on the Saturday.) I'm off to Polzeath tomorrow for a couple of days so today I've been catching up in the garden, but also reflecting on the wonderful weekend I've just had!
I was down in South Devon for Easter with my parents and assorted silbings/in-law. It's so wonderful to go home and be together and take part in all our traditions. There was chocolate, trips to the sea, chocolate, church, hot cross buns, more chocolate, roast lamb... you get the idea!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!