Annual cutting gardens
Filling your house with the colour and fragrance of fresh flowers cut from the garden is one of the great pleasures of gardening. The trouble is, though, if you take all the flowers from the garden, there's nothing left to look at outside.
The answer is to create yourself a cutting garden – an area of your garden dedicated to raising flowers to enjoy indoors. The whole purpose of such a garden is to be harvested regularly, rather like a vegetable garden, so you don't mind if it's sometimes got a few bare patches.
You'll find all you need to create your cutting garden in our garden centre in Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare. Here's how to go about it:
- Find the right spot: you'll need somewhere in full sun, as your plants will only flower to their full potential with plenty of light. Planting densely also demands a lot from your soil, so choose the best-quality patch you've got.
Get ready: before you start, dig over the area, removing weeds and large stones, and work in plenty of well-rotted farmyard manure. Then put in hedging and edging: you'll find plants for low hedging in our garden centre, and materials to lay a smart path.
- Choose your plants: select 'hardy annual' seeds from the range in our garden centre. Great choices are white, frothy Ammi majus, Cosmos bipinnatus with lovely daisy-like flowers and of course sweetpeas to train up a wigwam in the centre.
Start sowing: Sow your flowers from March onwards just like vegetables, in straight lines to make picking them easier. Make shallow drills and sprinkle the seed sparingly along the bottom. Cover with a little soil, label and leave.
- Keep the display going: sow little and often so you've got some plants to pick, some coming up to flowering and some just sown. Support taller varieties like larkspur by sticking canes in each corner of the row and threading round string at intervals up the height of the plants.
Please ask the staff in our Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare garden centre for more information and advice about planting an annual cutting garden.