The light is fading earlier now and like it or now the season is changing. The annuals are giving themselves up for seed and producing very few flowers. Such is their life cycle.
As I have said many times before this growing flowers for cutting is a constant learning experience and this year I tried six new to me annuals in an attempt to flex my flower arrangers muscles.
That beauty in the photo above is Phlox ‘Creme Brulee’ and it has become a new favourite even if it wasn’t as prolific as I’d hoped. Totally my fault as I planted them out late and didn’t pinch the growing shoot to encourage branching stems. But they still gave me some blooms and lasted a long time in the vase to say they are so delicate.
Another new to me were the Malope. They are the bright pink ones in the photo above. I have tried to grow these before without success so was very pleased I got them to germinate and provide some stunning flowers. Their colour falls into that bright bright pink, similar to our native foxgloves, that is hard to capture on ‘film’ but certainly packs a zing into a vase.
Also new were Scabiosa stellata, Orlaya grandiflora and Ridolfia pictured below from their seed packets.
The scabious was great. Grown mainly for its seed heads it is so unusual and beautiful. I did use the flowers too.
So delicate. You can see the seed head emerging under the petals. I’ve saved lots of those for winter arranging.
Both the orlaya and ridifloia didn’t do so well. I only had one orlaya plant that produced blooms which was a shame as they are so lovely. The ridifolia didn’t get going at all. I’m not daunted yet though and have sown both as part of an autumn sowing experiment. I always say I’ll sow hardy annuals in September and never do but this year I did it!
The final annual I tried was another that I’ve attempted to grow before and like the malope this was the year of success. It is Delphinium Consolida perhaps better know as larkspur, the annual delphinium. As instructed on the seed packet I put the seeds in the freezer for three weeks before I sowed and at last I got about three seedlings.
Here’s a peek at an upcoming arrangement and you can see the beautiful purple stems of the larkspur off to the lower left.
They also lasted for a week in the vase so even if they are tricky to germinate I’ll be growing these again. So lovely.
I had two cutting patch beds this year plus a space out on in the kitchen garden (or allotment!) for the Dahlias and sweet peas.
I planted one of the beds in mid May, another first but I was going off to Portugal and wanted something planted so I got on with it. Much to my delight it worked great and they started producing quicker that I remember in past years. Will definitely be planting both bed as early as frost allows in 2020.
Another important factor that I always have in my mind when growing leads on from that idea of late spring frosts. The weather. It has much to do with my success or lack of success in the floral adventure. It’s just the way it is up here in the north of England. This summer has had rain and sun, heat and cold. Pretty much typical but some years it’s much cooler and others, like last year, are baking. I can’t do anything about the weather so although I know it has an impact I need to remember to get on with early planting anyway.
I have had my most productive year of dahlias yet in 2019. Still not bucket loads but a very decent crop and now I have labels tied to each stem I know what I have and can add some different colour and flower shapes next spring. Above is another photo of Cafe au Lait. She is such a beauty. Hope that tuber survives the winter but if not I’ll be buying another because it is heartbreakingly beautiful.
All in all it had been a great season of flower growing.
Still some more arrangements yet to share in the next couple of weeks and then I can start pondering Tulips and Daffodils…….