Planting the Dahlias

Fierceblooms Cutting Garden Progress And On Doing Things The Hard Way

In Fierce Cutting Garden, Fierce Thoughts by Fierceblooms0 Comments

WORDS: Kathryn Cronin PHOTOS: Ricky Bache
I have been waiting – waiting for the right conditions and now is the time. That cold snap has passed and at last it is raining! I have used nematodes as a method to control my snails and slugs before. I confess I was highly sceptical but being the old scientist I did conduct a controlled experiment in my canalside cutting garden. That water with the invisible creatures dispersed in it that I was not sure was doing anything at all – it most certainly was.

I will wait a wee while until I mention creation of a small pond to a certain other person – well, the rabbit fencing is barely in.

You’ll perhaps not find many in dear ol Blighty cheering for rain, or perhaps you will. It feels like the world is a changing – so along with the farmers, I now study the weather. I know when there is the merest hint of the risk of frost – and I can assure you everyone growing flowers up and down the country will be doing exactly the same. It made me smile to see Instagram posts of hammering rain to whoops of joy when normally there would be a groan, concern even over the damage it would do to plants outside. This year, everyone is singing a wee song and continuing to do their rain dance because we need more.

My other half would say I have decided to do my cutting garden the hard way. I decided long ago on no chemicals, ironic for one employed so long by an old chemical company. It is not that I am against chemicals per se – I think they have their place – but for my canalside cutting garden I wanted the flowers to have benefits beyond the aesthetic. So when there is a general concern over bees, I can say quite happily that there a fair few hanging around here. I was also heartened to see an article by leading organic company Neals Yard warning florists on the residue present in imported flowers. It is an enlightening read and one that has me thinking of persisting with gloves for stripping stems. Even stems grown in my cutting garden have their own issues, she says, casting her mind back to the opium poppies that I harvested from the patch. Suffice to say I will leave it there but the squirrel who found the seed pods is now dearly departed. His conker burying days are over.

Despite my best endeavours, my nails have not been clean for over a month now, the lists are getting longer and while I started out thinking I was all organised, I realise now that I was anything but. I am learning though – on the job.

the squirrel who found the opium seed pods is now dearly departed. His conker burying days are over.

Already, I have filled the new beds with half hardy annuals, and wait for it, gasp, shock, horror, dahlias. What I hear you cry, before June the 1st? That was brave (meaning fool hardy). The truth of it dear readers was that I had just plain run out of room, housed as they were in my one cold frame and on tables in the house. Believe you me, my desire and need for an outdoor growing space is now acute.

While there is still plenty of planting to do, she says in understatement, and I’m not quite sure where it is all going to go, May is already passing us by. It is just now that I have started to anticipate the growing of my British blooms, done the hard way. It is a labour of love for sure but I am looking forward to the time when I am able to use outstanding british flowers grown in my evolving canalside cutting garden in beautiful wild garden style floral designs.

Read more from Fierceblooms on the floristry blog.

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