Reflections on the Flowerbed

I wrote about my vegetables in this post, which if I’m honest seems to be more failures than successes. But this year was going to have a focus on flowers. I had never grown flowers (other than a sunflower) from seed before and while I was dead keen on becoming a mega gardener, I didn’t know my hardy annuals from my herbaceous perennials. Sometimes the best way to learn is to just do, and a book or three never goes amiss. You can take the girl out of the library but she always finds a new shelf to explore.

Growing from seed

I started things far too early, though I did treat myself to a heated propagator. I started petunias, pansies, lobelia, impatiens and antirrhinum all from seed, and while the lobelia were leggy and a bit poor, everything else grew well. I was especially pleased with my petunias which were monstrous and full of gorgeous colourful blooms. My impatiens came up really well, and one plant is a wonderful gradiated pink colour and I love it. I tried to grow fuchsia and alstroemeria from seed, neither of which did anything at all. I had a false start with the antirrhinum, though my second sowing were much, much better.

I also tried growing verbascum from seed. Some of them I popped in the garden but another I did something a bit strange with and put in my gothic hanging basket. He did better than the ones in the ground!

 

I spy with my little eye something that shouldn’t be here?!

 

In one of my raised beds I sowed cornflower and cosmos seeds, however they too fell prey to pests of the white cottontail variety. Some have started to flower and are really pretty, so I will go about that a different way next year. I also grew consolida from seed in a pot until I cleared a bit of my garden for it and it’s come into flower. Mum didn’t have a clue what it was but I think it’s gorgeous.

Bulbs and tubers

One thing I am very proud of are my dahlias. I ordered three tubers from J Parkers of a variety called Viking. They are a pompom dahlia. I potted them up and they’ve had a flush of gorgeous deep red perfect flowers. Hopefully I’ll get enough to put in the village show.

While I didn’t plant them, this spring the borders were full of daffodils. I’ve embarked upon an ambitious garden redesign which has seen me dig up a lot of said borders. I’ve kept all the daffodils and they will go back into the ground this September. Along with the daffodils, I have found many other bulbs, mostly tulips and muscari, though some which I hope will be hyacinth. Some I planted, and a lot were already there. One of those that I did plant was this magnificent Stargazer lily, who I disturbed and quickly potted up. 

I’ve also been tackling my grandmother’s huge daylily forests. These bad boys take some lifting! It was also through this that I discovered huge clumps of what I hope are crocosmia. I bought two plants from Scampston last year and they never flowered this year, though I have rescued them from the weed bed. There are many iris dotted around the garden, but rhizome and bulbous. The bulbous flowered but the rhizomes are in desperate need of dividing. Hopefully they might flower next year – as it is, I haven’t a clue what colour they are!

Perennials

I’ve been adding to my stocks this year. My favourite flowers in the world are alstroemeria and these have primarily made up my perennial collection. I moved a lot from my old house and plonked them in the borders here, where they were then overtaken by the invasive weeds already well established. As I’ve been digging up the borders I have found the plants and tried to save them. I’ve also been hitting the garden centres and adding to my collection.

I’m branching out too, in terms of what else I will be putting in my borders. I bought a beautiful astrantia from Scampston, and my mum has given me plants she has grown – a tree peony and many geraniums. I have two roses, one from Rogers nursery and another from J Parkers, both of which have flowered this year. I bought an iris from Vertigrow on the A64, another geranium and of course a gorgeous alstroemeria. I bought a different variety of alstroemeria – a tall version, so ideal for cut flowers – from Breezy Knees near York.

Finally, as I’ve become more interested in plants this year, I’ve discovered two types that I really like: hostas and heucheras. I have a heuchera collection of four, now: obsidian, which I bought from Scampston plant fair, Fire Chief which is a stunning specimen from Scampston, *Little Blondie from Vertigrow, and then a little woebegone Purple Palace* that I bought from Morrisons for a quid who is now perking up.

Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’ (left) and ‘Obsidian’ (right)

I was about to buy a hosta until I discovered one in my weeding endeavours. I have divided him up (since he was a monster) and hopefully if I can keep the little ones safe they will flourish for next year.

I have big plans for next year. I don’t know a great deal about plants but have a lot to learn. I can’t wait to get started!

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