I have had such a good day in the garden today! I am finally getting my energy back and the mild temperatures lured me out to the Cutting Garden to see what was going on. As photo opportunities are limited in the bare beds I am interspersing this post with photos I took on Saturday which are mainly spring flowers in pots.
The flooded beds in the Cutting Garden are finally draining and just poking above the soggy surface are the many tulips that were planted in the autumn. I had feared that they would have rotted away in this wet winter, but they seem to be developing very nicely. I was shocked at the number of weeds that were growing strongly though, so although I had promised myself another recuperation day I could not resist a trip to the greenhouse for my wheelbarrow and tools.
The air was quite warm today – I even had my coat off when the sun was shining. It was a perfect day to start working through the Cutting Garden beds. I have four large square beds in the Cutting Garden, each focusing on a different colour palette. The beds are white, pink & purple, orange, peach & acid green and maroon, black & blue.
-Camellia Bowen Bryant, Primroses & Tete a Tete-
Today I started my work in the pink and purple bed. I had put box edging around this bed last spring with tiny box plants. I am pleased to see they have all survived the winter and so should put on some growth this year. Within this bed I grow peonies, poppies, phlox, scabious, a pale pink sedum and purple salvias. There are probably other things that I have forgotten, but these are what I could identify emerging from the soil today.
Into that mix I then add bulbs, annuals and dahlias. Today I planted two new peonies -Kansas and Sarah Bernhardt – and pink nerines, ranunculus and freesias. There are a variety of pink tulips planted in the autumn popping up. For the annuals I will certainly include asters, snapdragons, cosmos, stocks and verbena in this bed. I have a number of dahlias on order as well as tubers saved from last year, so there will be plenty of pinks and purples to fill any remaining gaps.
-Narcissi Tete a Tete-
My aim with this bed is to be able to create a pink or purple based arrangement at any point from April when the tulips start to flower until the last frost when the dahlias die back. The beauty of this being a cutting bed is that although I hope it will look good, looks are not its primary purpose.
In the main garden I am planting for shape and form as well as colour, so much of the space is taken up with greenery. In the Cutting Beds I can concentrate on wall to wall flowers and so indulge all my floral whims.
This will be the pink & purple cutting beds second year. I have ordered some roses from David Austin to add to the centre of the bed – hopefully they will go in later this week. I am letting the existing perennials planted last year develop for another season before adding more to the bed. My plan is to use these four Cuttings Beds as stock beds, with any new plants I buy going in here first to get established. They can then be split and used in the main garden after they have bulked up.
-Hardy enjoying the weekend sun-
Once the roses have been planted I will move on to preparing the white bed. This will be new this year (last year I grew annuals in rows here), so I need to start with the box edging and then add some white perennials. I am planning white roses, peonies, lupins, phlox and veronicastrum as the basis with lots of white tulips and annuals. Most of these perennials are already in the garden so I can split them to get my new plants. There will be a few white dahlias, but not too many as I am not overly fond of them (funny as I love dahlias so much). For the annuals I am planning honesty, nigella, orlaya, ammi majus, foxgloves and cosmos. I might also add a couple of Hydrangea paniculata as they may enjoy the rich soil in this bed.
-Camellia Bowen Bryant-
I will post photos of these Cutting Beds as soon as the tulips start to flower – at the moment they are too bare for photos! I am so pleased to have had a day in this part of the garden. It has really got my enthusiasm going for getting the beds tidied and the seed sowing underway.
Please do post comments about your own Cutting Garden plans, or questions or suggestions for mine – I love to hear your thoughts.