At Long Last The Garden Awakens

It has been a very long winter and the growing season is off to a very late start. But at long last there are signs of life in the garden and I can start to catch up on the many jobs that need done outside. It is so nice being back out there working, even in the rain!

Growing flowers indoors has been a saviour this year for having early spring flowers and being able to fulfil my orders. I have also been able to buy in flowers that have been grown by colleagues in the South of England to use alongside my own for larger orders. Being able to provide flowers that have been grown in Britain is important to me and it is lovely to be able to buy from fellow growers if I need to. Next year I have some early weddings and we have no idea what kind of a winter we are going to get. Luckily my brides have booked over a year in advance and this means that I can plan the planting for them specifically. I will grow flowers both indoors and outdoors for their weddings to cover all weather conditions we might have thrown at us then. Booking so far in advance also means I can grow the colours of flowers they would like too.

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The flowers outside are a month behind so far which is the latest they have ever been since I started growing for you. Just a tiny bit of sunshine this week has been enough though, to get some hyacinths, narcissi and iris flowering. The daffodils are finally getting buds. I wonder if they will end up just flowering all at once rather than staggering themselves like they normally do? At long last the tulips are getting larger and the perennials are putting on new growth too. I always find this time so exciting to see my plants remerge after a cold winter and my seedlings come on indoors. Nothing can beat planting seeds and coming down in the morning to see a whole tray germinated overnight. Or going round the garden and seeing some aquilegia and astrantia leaves peeping out from the ground.

Inside we are bursting at the seams with plants everywhere. In the last couple of weeks I have started hardening off a lot of my autumn sown hardy annual and perennials. This involves taken them all out in the daytime and then putting them all back at night as the temperature dips. With so many trays going in and out it can take a good half hour at the beginning and end of the day to do this. After a couple of weeks of doing this they are ready to plant out. We are not out of the woods yet with threats of ‘beast from the east 3’ looming! so any I am planting out are getting covered in heavy duty fleece to protect them.

Today was the first day of planting out which felt such a satisfying thing to do after being stuck in limbo for so long, waiting for the snow to go. Below is a picture of some feverfew  that I grew from seeds in August and now are ready to grow on outside.

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I have been trying out my new bulb auger I got as a present for Mother’s Day and boy does that make planting bulbs easier on areas of tough ground! I am looking forward to putting it to better use in the autumn. Here I am just transplanting some snowdrops from one area of the garden to another.

I have been planting lots of new hellebores. Every year like my roses I like to add a few new ones. These ones are all a white variety to be used in spring bridal work next year. Many people think that hellebores do not make a good cut flower as they wilt, but if cut at the correct time and conditioned properly they are magnificent.

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I have been making new pressed flower cards with the flowers I have in bloom and these will be ready to go on the stall over the Easter weekend along with some jars of my first outdoor flowers, sempervivums, the last bulb baskets for this year and my seed jars. If you fancy having a go at growing some mixed cut flowers using seeds from the Cloudberry Flowers garden these little jars contain a good mixture of some of my favourite annual flowers. The stall is already open 7 days a week and as new flowers start coming into bloom more arrangements will be added daily so please pop along anytime for a treat for yourself or a gift for someone.

Its time to get the dahlias out of storage. In late autumn after the first frosts I lifted these up and prepared them for storage. I tried a new technique of wrapping them in clingfilm I had been reading about and I was impressed to see they have all come through the winter with no shrivelling or rot. In the last few years I have just repotted my dahlias in the spring, brought them on inside and then planted them out after the last frosts. This year I have been dividing the tubers for the first time to give me more plants. To do this you must cut a tuber away from the old plant making sure that you have a few eyes on them. A tuber without eyes will not grow into a new plant. They look like little raised bumps close to the top of the tuber. Below you can see the original plant on the left and the 4 new tubers I have cut from it.

Crows, pheasants and pigeons are a bit of a problem in our garden as well as the rabbits! They like to nibble on the narcissi so I have invested in some bird netting to put over the top of the growing flowers to keep them off.

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I have been laying more ground cover over the grass paths. This week I have been doing the ones surrounding the beds built in the front garden last year as I had some left over from doing the top flower patch. This will help cut down mowing time for Robert and keep the weeds and grass from getting into the beds. I have also been putting black polythene over particularly weedy areas over the winter, mulching the beds and laying fleece over the perennial bed to give them a head start getting established again.

Inside I am still sowing seeds constantly. Up until now I have been sowing hardy annuals and perennials. This week I have started off the more tender annuals such as cosmos and statice. These will be brought on indoors until the risk of frost has past in late May, early June. Seed sowing starts in January each year with my first sweet peas, but did you know I will be sowing different types of seeds every week up until September. This is what allows me to bring you flowers right through from spring until late autumn.

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This blog has been all about the garden and me in waiting, on the brink of getting those first outdoor flowers. Next time I write my blog I am hoping to have lots of beautiful pictures to show you of them all blooming away and ready to find good homes. I am so looking forward to providing you with beautiful locally grown seasonal flowers again this year and if you would like to find out more about how you can buy them to enjoy please just get in touch anytime.

Catherine x

Email: cloudberryflowers@gmail.com

Tel: 07813700786

 

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Surely not more snow! A chilly April in the cutting patch

It might not have been the warmest April with unexpected snow at times but the spring flowers have been beautiful. One jam jar posy containing a hyacinth is enough to fill a room with exquisite scent. I have loved the daffodils/narcissus I planted in the autumn and for me it has been the double varieties that are fast becoming my favourites.

Double narcissus.

The tulips are just starting to bloom now. They have been battered by the wind and the snow but have come back fighting. It’s amazing how resilient plants can be. I am hoping there will be some beautiful varieties in bloom for a May wedding. Many growers treat tulips as an annual crop and get rid of the bulbs after one season. I have always wondered why? It seems such an expense to buy new bulbs each year. However having both this year I can see the new tulips are stronger and have taller stems than those planted in 2014. This winter was wet rather than bitterly cold so the stem length on some tulips is very short. Others have been fine. I love the shorter stemmed ones for arranging in jam jar posies.

Tulips just starting to come into bud on the flower patch.

Ollioule tulips flowering in the garden.

The annuals are coming on well, outside for the ones I have grown last autumn and still inside for the ones sewn in the last few months. In the next couple of weeks I will start to harden these off (get them used to being outside a little at a time) ready for planting out when it’s warmer and it stops snowing!

Cornflowers I planted in the autumn.

During April I have been keeping the seed sewing up so I have a constant supply of flowers through to October. As soon as one set of seeds germinate in the heated propagated bed I take them out and put new seeds in. The germinated seeds grow on in cooler conditions inside until I start to harden them off.

Seeds are started on the heated propagated bench and then transferred to the unheated bench.

Seedlings are transferred into larger pots and grow on the conservatory shelves before being planted outside.

We laid the soaker hose (leaky hose) in April and were excited to see that when the different sections were all connected up it worked. This will hopefully make a big difference to watering over the summer.

Laying the soaker hose in the flower patch.

I have taken a bit of a risk and planted the sweet peas out. They were starting to get too big to stay indoors and I know they will be happier with the room to grow in the beds. The temperatures are still low, especially at night, so to provide a bit of extra protection for a few days I have popped some fleece over them. You might be able to spot the clothes pegs if you look closely. I seem to have a rapidly diminishing supply to hang up washing as they are coming in very handy to clip fleece onto tunnels and canes!

Fleece tents for the sweet peas.

The weather in Scotland is as challenging as ever. For me it is the wind I lose sleep over. It can be so destructive. There may have been one or two tears shed over broken tunnels and flattened tulips and ranunculus. Everytime there is some bad weather I do learn from it and the resilience of the garden always puts a smile on my face a few days later! What has been difficult with the snow and wind recently in Peebles is that is has not always shown up on the weather forecast. This had made it difficult to take precautionary measures outside.

Unforecast April snow on the flower patch!

I love being out in the garden in spring with all the wildlife. The friendly robins that come and perch beside me when I am weeding, the two ducks that have been visiting our garden again and sleeping on the front lawn, not to mention the girls tadpoles! We had visiting ducks 2 years ago whom the girls named Lily and George. They came every day for a few months, coming up to the doorstep to visit the girls and were really tame. Last year there was no sign of them but you can imagine the excitement of the girls when 2 ducks arrived again this April, who of course must be Lily and George!

Our visiting ducks Lily and George!

When we moved to our house we built 5 raised beds to grow the family vegetables. The idea was the girls would help us do this and get stuck in in the garden. Over the last 2 years I have steadily taken over these raised beds for my flowers but the girls are still very keen to grow their own things. This weekend we all helped build a new raised bed outside their playhouse with a section for each of them. We had lots of fun building it, got very dirty and now they are going to have the fun of deciding what to grow in a space that mum promises not to take over!

The girls busy at their raised beds.

The garden gate stall has been open through out April. If you have visited it this month you may have thought there was a little less on display than last year. My aim has always been to bring you the freshest flowers I possibly can. Flowers cut straight out the garden for you to enjoy at home, which gives them an amazing vase life. Last year in my enthusiasm I tended to cut everything that was in bloom and make them all into jars and bunches. This meant there was a high wastage of flowers and when they are cut unfortunately they are cut! This year I am putting a few flowers out, enough of everything that I offer and as soon as I sell anything I am replenishing the stall with a brand new freshly cut jar or bunch. This way you get the freshest of flowers and there is hopefully less waste from unsold jars.

So what will May bring? Well hopefully no snow!! Much as I love it in winter the time has definitely past for enjoying it now! A few sunny warm days would be nice and warmer temperatures at night so I can plant out all these seedlings that are taking over our house! May too will bring the first wedding of the year, which I am so excited to be providing and arranging flowers for. There are some beautiful flowers you can grow for a spring wedding such as tulips, hellebores, narcissus, ranunculus and muscari.

To finish this months blog here are some of my favourite flowers from this spring on the stall. I have really enjoyed being able to get creative putting arrangements together after a few months of no flowers over the winter. I hope you have enjoyed the first flowers of the year again too!

Jam jar posy with hyacinth, hellebores, muscari, narcissus, wallflowers.
Jam jar posy with tulips, hyacinth, hellebores, hesperis, honesty, muscari, narcissus

Jam jar posy with tulip purissima and narcissus.
Jam jar posy with hyacinth, narcissus, wallflower, muscari.

Jam jar posies with viburnum, anenome, hyacinth, muscari, narcissus, wallflower.

Jam jar posy with fritillaria, narcissus, hesperis, hyacinth, muscari.

Jam jar posy with fritillaria, narcissus, tulips, hyacinth, muscari.

Spring bouquet of hellebores, narcissus and purissima tulips.img_4561

 

Squelchy mud, strange weather, surveys and signs of spring

The last couple of weeks have been somewhat muddy in the garden. The arrival of the gas men to dig up the back garden and drive, alongside storm Gertrude has been a muddy combination. I did not envy them the task of digging in the wild weather we have had but I do wonder wether our garden will ever look the same again?! I have found it somewhat frustrating being cut off from the flower patch in the day whilst the work goes on. I did sneak over the gas fencing late afternoon on a couple occasions to do a bit of planting and weeding. It made me realise it is no longer dark at 4pm anymore. You can work in the garden until 5, Spring must be just around the corner!

The gas works in the garden


  

There are other signs of Spring in the garden. The hellebores and snowdrops have really come on over the last couple of weeks.

  

Here are the first tulips emerging too, much earlier than last year.

As it has been so mild it may be that the stall opens in March rather than April this year. It is looking in a bad way with the sides breaking down and some panels fallen off. Robert has brought it round to the garage for repair and thinks he can keep it going for me to do another season.

Robert works hard behind the scenes of Cloudberry Flowers. He loves practical jobs and getting outside when he gets the chance. At the moment he has been working out a way of getting water up to the flower patch for me and then we will start to put in some kind of irrigation with leaky hose. This will be a godsend in the summer and help reduce the hours I have to spend watering the flowers. No more carrying heavy watering cans and buckets up the steps or dragging hose up to the patch as there will be a tap up there. He has also been building new flower beds and has found decking makes a good affordable edge to a new bed.

The hose is now in the flower patch connected back down to the garage. Next step installing a tap.

The new flower bed with its decking edging. Just need to top it up with homemade compost.

As last week I could not get out to the garden it gave me a good chance to do some badly needed admin for Cloudberry Flowers. It’s always easy for me to put off paperwork and spend time in the garden instead. Now I feel much more organised to start the new season. I have also had the chance to look at the results from the survey I put on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. A good number of customers completed it, which gave me a picture of what people liked at Cloudberry Flowers or wanted to see more of.

What did the survey tell me?

I was reassured to find the stall was more easily found than I had thought it would be. Our location up a quiet street away from the centre of town and up a steep hill I had thought might be off putting and make it difficult to find.

The majority of my customers use Facebook as a means of finding out about my flowers. I have found Facebook a very useful tool for advertising a business but somewhat unreliable! From experience the only way to guarantee someone will continue to receive notifications about my flowers is for them to like, comment or share any posts from Cloudberry Flowers they see. Facebook then allows them to see future posts. So for me it is a very useful way to let customers know when the stall is open and what flowers are available, but I cannot rely on it completely.

The survey showed that the jam jar posies on the stall are really popular. I love them as they are such a beautiful natural way to display flowers in your home and can be used in so many ways from one simple arrangement on a bedside table to a more impressive statement with a row of them decorating your dinner table. Jam jars of flowers use stems that are short and it is also nice to be able to buy long stemmed flowers you can fill your own vase at home with. The results of the survey did show that customers would like to see mixed or single flower bunches on the stall. This year as soon as the longer stemmed flowers start to bloom I will include some bunches alongside the jam jar posies and this will give my customers more choice.

The days I open the stall in the week is something I have thought a lot about since October. I had thought about changing the opening times from Thursday to Saturday as I felt sales were poor on a Sunday and I was wasting a lot of flowers. It was not a surprise that the great majority of people surveyed would visit the stall on a Friday or Saturday. However Thursday and surprisingly Sunday were popular too. From this feedback I have decided to open the stall on Thursday – Sunday this season. Flowers will be available every day of the week made to order too.

It was really encouraging to see that my customers thought the flowers were good value for money as deciding on the price of my flowers was something I found difficult last year. Running a business for the first time did mean I made mistakes with my costs. I underestimated my time and labour growing and arranging them grossly, concentrating more on the cost of the flowers and sundries. This winter I have been looking at my pricing a lot to make sure I get it right so Cloudberry Flowers can continue. It does mean there will be changes to some prices, which I hope my customers understand and I hope to keep further changes in the future to a minimum.

One of the ideas suggested which I found really interesting was providing plants to sell on the stall. This is something I would like to give some thought to in the future when Erin has started school and I have more time to devote to Cloudberry Flowers.

All in all the survey was really worthwhile and it was so valuable to have feedback from my customers. A big thank you to everyone who completed it for me.

It felt like Christmas again this week as I received another package through the post full of hedging plants. I do love a box arriving full of things for the garden! When I started the idea of cutting up the field for a cut flower patch we collected all the sods and placed them upside down along our back fence in piles and left them to break down. Now they have turned into a lovely bed of soil between the wooden fence and the rabbit fence but I hadn’t done anything with it. Today the snow had thawed, the girls were playing nicely in the front garden and I grabbed the chance to plant the bare root hedging plants and shrubs which had arrived. I chose each one to provide some interest from flowers and scent to hips. They will also be a haven for birds and other wildlife. The planting has included hawthorn, crab apple, willow, daisy bush, osmanthus burkwoodii, euonymus japonicus, viburnum tinus, prunus avium, rosa rugosa, June berry and dog rose. I hope I will be able to use them in time in my bouquets and jam jars too to continue the natural feel I like to have in my arrangements. I will so enjoy watching this area grow over the coming years.

  

And finally this week I don’t know about you but when I spend hours digging in the mud it just seems to get ingrained in my hands even though I have been wearing gloves! This year for Christmas I got some Crabtree and Evelyn gardeners hand scrub with pumice. What great stuff. I think it’s the only thing I have found so far that really gets the mud off my fingers. I think I will be using a lot of that this year along with an awful lot of handcream!! Has anyone come across any great hand creams for gardeners?

The week ahead will be another few days of the gas men in the garden working on the pipes, so it will be indoor time for me to spend sorting out my new seedlings and potting on. There is nothing like seeing seeds emerging as wee plants to nurture and know given the right care they will eventually turn into beautiful flowers.

Oops didn’t quite make the once a week blog resolution!

It has been a crazy few weeks here. So much so that my good intention to write something on the blog each week has already gone out the window! I would like to say it has been so busy because of all the things I have been doing for Cloudberry Flowers but family life has taken over! We had Erin’s 4th birthday and party last week, a poorly Kirsten off school for a few days at the same time and this week we have been looking after our friends little girls and dog while they had a gorgeous new baby. We did manage to finish painting our bedroom too. A very longstanding project that has always been put off. Next week the new carpet will come. I am so excited as we have a mixture of 3 different ones in the room at the moment!

The old carpet is going!!

Not much gardening was getting done last week when we had an important frozen cake to bake! Baking is my other love next to gardening.

Aside from all this busy family time I have managed to plant a few seeds. Mainly sweet peas as everyone loved them last year and they do smell gorgeous! I am excited to be planting all sorts of new varieties, Oban Bay, Molly Rilestone, Winter Sunshine Varities, Charlie’s Angel and Eclipse to name a few. I have been soaking the seeds overnight before sewing and if some have not noticeably swollen up I have been nicking their seed coat to allow them to absorb water. I am keeping my fingers crossed for some good germination rates. Oban Bay I am particularly interested in trying as it is meant to be good to grow in cooler climates such as Scotland.

Although it is very early in the year I have sown some other seeds. I just get too carried away with wanting to get the season going. I have limited it to Knautia Macedonica ‘Melton Pastels’ as they need some cold to germinate and some antirrhinum more commonly known as snapdragons. These are new seeds I am trying this year and I am hoping they will make good cut flowers.

In the greenhouse the ranunculus I started off in December are doing well. I really loved these flowers last year but did not plant many. I am hoping we will get some more beautiful blooms now I have so many more corms planted. They are delicate flowers a little like roses but can flower earlier in the year.

Ranunculus in the conservatory now

Ranunculus flowering in the cutting patch last July


Outside in the garden:

The first snowdrop is just emerging.

The buds on the hellebores are showing too. These make really lovely cut flowers in spring so I hope you will enjoy a few from the stall when the flowers have matured enough to last well in a vase.

We have also had some snow and clear sky’s over the last couple of weeks which has been such a welcome relief to all that rain! The garden looked beautiful in the snow. If has all melted again now with exception of a slightly lopsided snowman on the front lawn. The rain didn’t stay away long either with it pelting down outside now! The snow was lovely while it lasted though.

The cut flower patch in the snow

A snowy garden

We still have a touch of spring in the house with the girls narcissus ‘bridal crown’ they planted back in September. They truly are gorgeous and amazing that 1 single stem can produce so many flowers. They each have 4 flowers per stem now. Definitely one for the stall in future years. I planted a few of these in with the bulbs I planted outside so they may find their way into some mixed daffodil bunches in the spring.

Painting our bedroom has been a good distraction for me away from the seed and nursery plant catalogues over the last 2 weeks. I am very much turning into a seed and plantaholic! I start with a basic list before Christmas of the ones I have ran out of and new varieties I want to try. With more time after the holidays to have a good look through the catalogues my list starts to grow with the temptation of trying new flowers! I have so far ordered half my seeds from Seedaholic. I really like the information sheets they give with each seed you buy, they are good value and have a reasonable number of seeds per packet. The other half of my list is still growing and I will order them from Chiltern Seeds for the first time this year. My aim is to have ordered all my seeds by the end of January and then keep myself away from the catalogues!

Over the last couple of weeks I have also been talking to a bride about flowers for a spring wedding. This is an exciting time of year with so many lovely spring bulbs to choose from. It is also an unpredictable time as the weather can be so variable. Therefore you cannot promise particular flowers as they may not be in bloom yet or they may be past if the weather was particularly warm for that time of year. What you can promise is a mixture of beautiful homegrown spring flowers in a variety of colours that will be unique to your wedding. In years to come you may choose to grow those same bulbs in your garden and always have a reminder of your special day when you see them.

Also this week I posted a survey on my Facebook page to get some feedback about Cloudberry Flowers last season. I was unsure whether it was a good idea to do a survey as I know people are short of time and I hoped it wasn’t going to feel like getting junk mail through your letterbox and then put people off the Cloudberry Flowers Facebook page. In the end I decided to go for it as even if I only got a few responses it would help me greatly knowing which direction to take my small business next year.

As the stall is a self service one with an honesty box I unfortunately don’t get the chance to meet all my customers. I had always worried whether they could find it ok when it was tucked away in a quiet side street? I also felt I could not get across information about the stall and available flowers to my customers on Facebook easily. Facebook seems to only  show you notifications sporadically once you have liked a page. It seems that you have to like and share individual posts on the page continuously to keep getting updates. I wanted to ask people were they being kept up to date regularly? I also wanted to know what flowers customers wanted on the stall so I can provide what they would like next year. The survey is still ongoing until Sunday but so far there has been a good response, so a big thank you to everyone who took the time to complete it. I now have some valuable feedback to work with. I am hoping I will be able to look through the responses and make it the topic for next weeks blog, or the week after if we run out of time again!

A few favourite flowers

With another week of snow, ice and all the snowdrops covered up I thought I would write about some of my favourite flowers I grew in the garden last year and what makes them special!

Hellebores

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Last year was the first year I really took notice of Hellebores in the garden. It was our second year living at our new house and I had never grown them before. Unless you looked closely you might just miss them altogether as the flowers tend to face downwards and get buried behind their leaves. Hellebores in our garden are the first flowers to bloom alongside the snowdrops, a first sign of spring after a long winter. They are beautiful and make a good cut flower as long as they are conditioned well and cut at the right time. If you cut hellebores too early before their seed pods are developed they will wilt in the vase.

Philadelphus Mock Orange

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Philadelphus is a flowering shrub I just love due to its fantastic citrusy scent. It grows at the top of our steps leading to the cutting garden and as you climb them the scent just hits you. Philadelphus Mock Orange was one of the main reasons I wanted to grow flowers for other people. Shop bought bouquets were often so disappointing with virtually no smell. I wanted to grow flowers that smelled wonderful for my stall so other people could enjoy bringing a cottage garden feel into their homes.

Alliums

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I like alliums, so much so I have planted a lot more to come up this spring! They look very striking in a bouquet of flowers and provided you change the water in your vase every couple of days there should be no problem with the oniony smell associated with them. A couple of drops of thin bleach in your vase water will help too.

Roses

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I think roses have always been a firm favourite of mine. For the last two years I have had a couple of climbing roses in the garden including Dublin Bay which you can see in the picture above. As I had so few roses last year I was not able to use many for cutting and the ones I did have were not strongly scented. One of the main things I wanted to expand this year was the number of roses I had. I have created a new rose bed and also potted some in containers for the patio. All the roses I have chosen are good for cutting but also most importantly strongly scented! Some of the roses I have planted include Queen of Sweden, Gentle Hermione, Diamond Days, Chandos Beauty, Ice Cream, Caroline Victoria and Warm Wishes. At the moment they are all bare root roses just peeping out the soil and I can’t wait to see them grow and flower later in the year!

Sunflower Vanilla Ice

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Last year I enjoyed growing sunflowers as a cut flower for the first time. I had only ever tried to grow the tall varieties before with the kids to see whose could be the tallest! The vanilla ice variety produced smaller heads on branching stems which were lovely in jam jar posies and bunches of flowers. The one problem I had last year was the wind and I lost one or too plants after particularly stormy nights. I had staked them but obviously not enough! 2015 has been declared by  Fleuroselects Home Garden Association to be the year of the sunflower so I will be trying to grow a few more varieties as cut flowers for you and I will be using much stronger stakes!

Cosmos

cosmos1

I loved growing cosmos last year as it just flowered and flowered! It is also a beautiful delicate flower and lasted well in a vase. I will be growing lots more of these this year and trying some yellow and orange ones for a bit of variety.

Scabious

scabious

I grew this flower as it was a cut and come again flower and it did just that all the way to the first frosts. It starts to look good in bud but then develops into the most beautiful flower and the stems were nice and strong for using in bouquets.

Phacelia

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I really loved the look of phacelia in bouquets and jam jar posies last year and it was something a little bit different. It also has the added bonus of being able to dig it into the soil at the end of a season where it acts as a green manure!

Ammaranthus

ammaranthus

I grew ammaranthus last year because it was something completely different with its bright red tassels! It lasted brilliantly in a vase and produced flowers right up to the first frosts. You could mix it in with other flowers in a jam jar posies or it looked great with a few stems together in a vase on the kitchen table.

Zinnia

zinnia

Zinnias were a favourite of mine last year firstly because I really did not think I could grow them! I knew they liked the sun and warmth in the soil and being Scotland I just did not think it would be warm enough! To begin with there was very little growth and then I put them under fleece tunnels, we had some good weather and they took off.  They were so bright and colourful and lasted a couple of weeks in a vase. I am going to grow them again this year and fingers crossed for a warm season of growing so we can enjoy them throughout the summer.

These flowers are just a few of my favourites from last year. There are far too many new gorgeous annuals that I discovered to mention! It makes you want to fast forward winter so you can get growing and enjoy them again! I would love to know if you had any flowers from the garden last year what your favourites were! Maybe you can remember flowers from your childhood or gardens you have visited that you would like to see again. I am always looking for new varieties to try!