This week I have been taking the chance to look back and see just how far the garden has come on. The weather probably has a lot of us thinking of booking last minute flights abroad for some sun now the school summer holidays are nearly upon us! Cold temperatures, rain and wind has meant a very slow start to the flowers in the garden this year and it has taken every ounce of patience to wait on them coming. Now everything is starting to come to life and I constantly find new flowers blooming every time I go up to the cutting patch, which is a delight after such a slow start! Looking back at some old photographs from a few month ago and looking at the garden now I can see just how far it has come on.
Below you can see pictures of the garden in February on the left and then how the beds look now with all the summer annuals establishing.
The sweet peas at the beginning of May on the left are now really starting to climb up the netting and the first few flowers with their gorgeous perfume are just coming into bloom.
My scented border
The herbaceous border in March is shown on the left and then on the right it is shown now with all its new plants. Some of the perennials I have planted are phlox, delphiniums, choisya, pittosporum, nepeta and philadelphus. Over the next few years these will establish and provide lots of colour and scent in the garden.
This is my first year growing nigella which are just flowering now. To protect them from the wind I have supported them with some horizontal pea and bean netting. These flowers are so unusual I really love adding them to arrangements. I have spaced them out a lot which has not been necessary so next year I will plant them closer together.
My bed of corncockle is really flowering well now and is full of strong plants that were overwintered.
This year I have been growing blue ball and black ball cornflowers which I sewed in the autumn last year and overwintered too. Now they are strong plants full of flowers.
This has been flowering for a few weeks now and makes an unusual and very pretty cut flower with a great vase life. It also can act as a green manure for your garden.
This is gypsophila convent garden which I have found difficult to grow successfully from seed in any volume, but I am determined to work on this as I absolutely love it for its delicate beautiful flowers.
This is my bed of calendula which have been welcome brightly coloured flowers for the last few weeks. I have found that they do attract greenfly and I dislike to use harsh chemicals in the garden. So I have been spraying these if needed with a very dilute solution of washing up liquid and water. What I really need are a few more helpful insects like ladybirds to feed on the greenfly!
My dahlias have been planted out since the beginning of June but I am afraid the weather has not been kind to them and they have shown little progress so far. I will have to watch them over the next few weeks to see if they improve and hopefully keep the slugs away with nightly patrols to check for them!
Hesperis and Honesty
My bed of hesperis and honesty keeps on flowering. These have really given a lot this year and were wonderful during a time when other flowers were scarce.
This particular hardy annual I love as it provides some really useful foliage in arrangements. However I have real trouble getting it to germinate! So I have been particularly proud of this one in the garden which I sewed last autumn. It survived the winter and is now a really strong plant compared to my spring grown ones this year.
I have some truly amazing foxgloves starting to flower in the garden. These are so tall they are bigger than me! Foxgloves make a good cut flower, although they are toxic if eaten so should be kept well away from children. For a grown up party or event they make a spectacular statement!
Anemone and Ranunculus
Earlier in the year I tried growing these gorgeous flowers and much to my dismay I got only a couple of successful ones out of a good hundred or so bulbs. I was very disappointed and unsure what did not work. Maybe the mice ate the bulbs or the weather was just not conducive to growing them this year. However I decided to have another bash at it with a later planting. I am very excited to say that under the far tunnel in the picture I look like I may just have quite a few of these beautiful flowers in the next few weeks to pop in my jam jar posies. Here is the first ranunculus just blooming now.
My roses are really starting to grow now. The ones in my new beds are coming on, but it is the ones in the containers that are shooting ahead and even have the first buds on them. Unfortunately one of my favourites a David Austin climbing rose called Claire Austin that I planted next to the house to grow up round the front door has been well nibbled by our friendly garden rabbits. Although this has been disappointing it is showing signs of regrowth and it just made me really glad that I fenced the 2 new rose beds at the front otherwise I think I would have had no roses this year! I have now fenced round the one at the door to give it some time to recover! The photo below shows my New Zealand rose in a container and its first buds.
Starting my business Cloudberry Flowers over the last eighteen months has been an enormous learning opportunity. I have learned so much through reading, meeting other flower growers and through trial and error. What I have learnt this year is that I cannot have too many flowers and that next year I really want to increase again the amount I am growing. So very kindly my lovely husband has been out in the evenings recently digging me some new beds. Last year when I first had the idea of Cloudberry Flowers I started with 2 small beds that I had dug and now the whole field at the top of the garden is converted to a cut flower patch! It means exciting times next year as I can plan what flowers to grow more of.
The final beds in my cutting patch
Next week is the end of the school term for us and I will be busy enjoying making some thank you presents from pupils for their teachers. Here are some I made this week for a few early gifts.