Allotment in June
I must apologise for my lack of blog for the last few months. It’s been busy here, cultivating the ground, which is addictive, joyous, painful and time-consuming.
To start with a quote ‘Garden as though you will live forever’ (William Kent) and that is what I have done.
In January’s Looking Forward blog, I wrote about the nervousness and self-deprecation around New Year’s and my main plans which were to:
Remember 2018’s achievements
Put a plan in to action to have a cutting garden before the end of the year
Here’s the update:
So it has been 6 months since the beginning of our allotment adventure. My boyfriend and I chose a small plot in a hidden allotment in front of a deer sanctuary in Essex. It is a truly beautiful, peaceful place. In fact, it’s slowly becoming my favourite place in the world and we are very happy with the progress thus far.
After all of the arduous digging and making beds - it’s time to plant. I researched and was minded to choose flowers which would bloom more successfully (this is my first shot after all). I also wanted my allotment to be useable, I was thinking creatively and sustainably when choosing what to plant in this, my first season.
My advice for growing cut flowers is that it’s important to have a varied mixture. You have to have colour, texture and form in mind, so that you can balance your arrangements. I didn’t want to grow flowers that I see every week at the flower market - I wanted something different, something that I can’t easily buy. For me, adding British flowers to any arrangement makes such a difference, it allows the design to have movement and character. English flowers are so delicate and whimsical and these are two descriptive words that I would want to use when describing my own work. I also wanted to ensure I had both Focal flowers and filler flowers so that when it came to arranging I would have ingredients that could make ideal compositions.
Here’s a list of some of the flowers we decided upon and why:
Nigellas - robust, shoot up like wildfire, used for out of water designs and flower pressings which I use for note cards.
Calendula officinalis 'Indian Prince’ - For it’s bright and vivid colours and long-lasting vase life.
Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity' - One of my all-time favourite flowers, that I think adds wonders to any kind of arrangement.
Scabiosa atropurpurea 'Tall Double Mix’ - Affordable and a high success rate in first year growth.
Rose bushes - You can’t beat an English rose (how my love for English flowers began)
Dahlias (many varieties) - We love Dahlias, I’ve planted many different colours. They are an expensive flower to buy from the market so can help any budding florists keep their costs down.
Ammi Majus - A brilliant filler, tall stems and lovely green foliage with white flowers. Perfect for the natural look.
Gladiolus ‘Sapporo' - For it’s contrasting colour tones - this variety is lime green and purple.
Lagurus ovatus (Bunny's Tail Grass) - Works fantastically in my dried arrangements, a real head-turner.
The first sights of blooming heads have been ‘The Calendulas’ (Marigolds) bright orange and sunny yellow, these are growing strong and tall each week and I love using them to brighten up any design. They add some real verve to the plot and each time I cut, more and more grow.
Our first garden rose called koko loco, this early bloomer has such an amazing colour, so rich and dreamy and the scent will blow your mind.
Then, there are my nigellas, which are growing tall and slender, a sea of lovely flowers - pale pink, bright pink, white and blue. These flowers are surprisingly hardy and long lasting - perfect for button holes or any arrangement out of water.
June has been an exciting month and I have seen my first sight of success in growing. I feel very close to my garden and am looking forward to learning more and more as the year goes on. So if any one has thoughts about growing or questions let me know. I couldn’t recommend it more - the satisfaction is next to none.
I look forward to updating you in the following summer months.
Warm wishes and forever flowers,
Some wise words to consider…
‘Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors’ – Mary Cantwell
‘If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden’ – Robert Brault
‘When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden’ – Minnie Aumonier