July I thought would be a quieter month with the seeds all sown and the flowers blooming. In theory I should be enjoying my time cutting and arranging the flowers for customers and spending time with the girls on their holidays. However the Scottish weather has become quite a challenge this July and kept me on my toes!
Today I spent a lot of time staking things that had grown and now needed support, before they were battered by the strong winds we have had the last two days. The wind I am finding is my nemesis. It is soul destroying to go out and find plants that you have raised from seed damaged beyond repair after a nights strong winds. I have come to expect this early and late in the season and now know not to leave anything to chance over the summer months either. I thought I had gone a bit over the top with my heavy duty bamboo cane order in spring but today I used the last of these to support flowers and could even use more.
The rain this month has been either absent or coming down in torrential showers, which has been its own challenge with the plants. I had been sewing biennial seeds for next year and put the young plants out to harden off the other day. My timing was very off as this happened to be a day of torrential rain and I came back to some very drowned trays of seedlings. I think after pouring all the excess water out and letting them recover they might just be ok but they have had a hard start!
On a brighter note the cut flower patch is full of flowers. Beautiful cornflowers, corncockle, sweet peas, alliums, alstroemeria, achillea, salvia, nigella, calendula and phacelia have all been stars of the show this month. I love that each week I have new flowers to put in arrangements and the sweet peas smell gorgeous!
Cornflowers and Corncockles
Allium cristophii and graceful
Sweet peas and alstroemeria
Some flowers are still behind this year, but are starting to show signs of coming on now. These include sunflowers, stocks, cosmos and ammi. The sunflowers in particular have been disappointing, especially since it is the year of the sunflower! They have been proving difficult as the leaves keep being eaten by something and I am not sure what. However I am glad to see that despite this they are starting to grow well now and soon there should be some flowers.
July has been a great month for my new roses. They have come on brilliantly in the containers and are coming on well in the new bed too. I was hoping they would live up to their reputation for being beautifully scented and they are! Here are some of the roses blooming just now in the garden:
New Zealand and Chris Beardshaw
Queen of Sweden
Whiter Shade of Pale and Gentle Hermione
I have been having an experiment this year too with a late sewing of annuals. With the weather so poor I thought we might get some better weather in the late summer and if so it might be worth sewing some seed. Whether they have enough time to mature and bloom before the frosts set in we will have to wait and see!
I have planted out some biennial seedlings to give them a start at putting down roots before the cold weather sets in. Hopefully they will overwinter well and provide some lovely colour in April and May next year.
My next job is to narrow down my bulb order I will make in August. I have so many ideas for bulbs to grow for next spring which will look lovely in bouquets and jam jars on the stall. I have enjoyed pouring over the bulb catalogues and writing a very long list of my favourites. Now to narrow it down and remember that I will have to plant all these! I wonder what favourite spring bulbs you like to enjoy in your homes as a cut flower?
Also this month I was delighted to write a piece for the Wednesday guest blog at gardeningknowhow.com. Look out for Cloudberry Flowers on Wednesday the 22nd July.
So July has been an unexpectedly challenging month with the weather really testing me. It has at times sewed seeds of doubt in my mind and made me really question can I do this? On the other hand I have had the excitement of seeing all these beautiful flowers blooming which I grew from tiny seeds. I have had the fun of making jam jars and bouquets full of flowers which are constantly changing as new ones bloom. I have met some lovely new customers and the smile homegrown flowers bring to someones face makes the hard work and the weather all worthwhile.