The Cutting Garden

The Realities Of Growing A Cutting Garden

In Fierce Cutting Garden, Fierce Thoughts by Fierceblooms1 Comment

WORDS: Kathryn Cronin PHOTOS: Ricky Bache
Ihave this dream. As the sun rises, my favourite snips are slicing through rows of flower heavy stems that I have grown in my very own cutting garden ready for some wild garden style floristry.

The realities of creating such a cutting garden are proving rather more tricky I hasten to add.

First of all, I’m still in shock at having killed quite so many mice. The chap at our hardware store said it was his most efficient trap. He wasn’t wrong. Now I’m left wondering quite how many furry friends we might have if I have caught so many in such a short space of time.

Perhaps it’s because I know where to find them. After all, I have attempted to catch them with humane traps. Too sleekit for that. So caught they have been. Caught and killed. Their heart wrenching dead eyes pierced my guilty heart but the gloves were off when they ate an entire crop of newly emerged sweet peas.

It’s not only mice. There is the odd shrew thrown in the mix too. I am seriously considering ferrel cats once the rabbit fencing is in.

Ah, the bunnies. They looked so “Watership Down” as they hopped across the lawn in the early morning light. 50 runner bean plants later, their death knell had also tolled.

I feel bad even for malkying the slugs with their beautiful patterned bodies but they too pushed their luck when an entire crop of ammi disappearing overnight last year. You may laugh but this veggie sometimes vegan girl is finding this growing your own cutting garden milarky psychologically tough! After my best friend bought me a pot hole torch to strap to my head, my darling other half thought I had finally lost it but the reality was I needed both hands free when hunting as dusk. Thank goodness for friends who know and still love the eccentric us.

Let me assure you though, dear readers. The hungry mistle thrushes will still have a good population of snails to go at in my clay soil. At least when I water the nematodes in, I won’t witness the deed.

My consolation is the thought that what I am growing will be beautiful beyond words, and the killing fields of spring will become a dim and distant memory as my flowers sway around me in the warm summer breeze.

Ah, the vagaries of the British weather. Need I say more. I grow outside currently and dream of owning my own greenhouse and polytunnel. I have turned our home into a makeshift growing station. Complete with lights beaming out from dawn to dusk, even the neighbours are wondering what I am growing. I fear I cooked my seedlings on the heated mats initially but have the hang of it now. The kitchen floor still hosts the dahlia tubers before they move to the cold frame with its Fort Knox slug protection.

I am now the proud owner of a wrecked lawn – my darling’s words not my own. A turf cutter saved the day and quite frankly our backs. Now as my seedlings need transplanting and the number of pots expand exponentially, I’m left with this vague sense of panic about where it is all going to go. Note to self. The time for a plan was before I sowed the seeds like a mad whirling dervish!

Ah, the bunnies – they looked so “Watership Down” as they hopped across the lawn.

As I wonder whether my first proper crop of tulips may end up covered in snow by the end of the week, I remain in awe at the amazing British flower growers that I know and love. So why do it? Because scent and provenance have been important to me for as long as I can remember, and quite frankly, because I must.

Read more from Fierceblooms on the floristry blog.

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