Create your own cutting garden
After decades of decline, recent years have seen a colourful upsurge in British-grown blooms, with plenty of Northamptonshire growers ready to meet your flowery needs.
Alongside the increasing interest in locally and ethically sourced food produce, artisanal flower production is a growth industry that helps cut carbon emissions and boost biodiversity. If you fancy creating a cut flower patch of your own, Northants grower and florist Suzy Cubitt-O’Neil, who runs From Garden to Vase in Culworth, has some top tips on how to get started and what to plant in order to fill your home with gorgeous displays.
WHERE TO GROW
Most cut flowers like to be in the sun and need a minimum of 6 hours sun to flower well, so select a patch of ground which is in the sun for most of the day. It doesn’t need to be massive, you’ll be surprised how much you can grow in a relatively small space, even in containers.
WHAT TO GROW
Bulbs, tubers, perennials, biennials, and annuals. It can be a bit mind boggling! Many different types of plants make up my cut flower garden. However, you don’t need to grow on a large scale to provide enough flowers for your house.
Here are my top recommendations, starting with annual seeds which you still have time to sow now if you’re just getting started:
Sow under cover from Feb:
Try Orlaya Grandiflora (White Lace Flower), Ammi Majus (Bishops Flower) and Anethum Graveolens (Dill). These can also be sown direct in September to give you flowers a little earlier the following year.
Direct sow March-May:
Try Scabiosa Atropurpure ‘Summer Fruits’, Antirrhinum Majus ‘Appleblossom” (Snapdragon) and Japanese Forgot-Me-Not.
Thin/plant spring sowings to 30cm apart. Autumn sowings will be larger and more prolific so give them a bit more space. These can be sown indoors in September and overwintered with a bit of protection to plant out in early spring or sown inside in early spring for planting out after the last frost.
HALF HARDY ANNUALS
Try Zinnia Elegans ‘Queen Lime Orange’, Phlox Creme Brûlée, Limonium Sinuatum ‘Apricot Beauty’ (Statice), Helichrysum Bracteatum Monstrosum mixed (Strawflower) and Callistephus chinensis ‘King Size Apricot’ (China Aster). These don’t need sowing until April as they are tender so will need protecting from frost. Limonium & Helichrysum also make excellent dried flowers.
You can combine these with a few Dahlia tubers which can be planted direct into the ground in April. I grow many different varieties but 3 of my favourites are Dark Spirit, Jowey Winnie and Philip Campos, which look fabulous together in a vase.
Tulips and Narcissi, which are planted in the autumn, and Acidanthera and Gladiolus, planted in early spring, so start planning now for later in the year.
There you have it, all the ingredients you need to fill you home with beautiful blooms from April to October.