We’re cutting so many gorgeous flowers from the garden – for bouquets and for weddings. Two Young Blooms brides this weekend have requested locally grown British flowers to make their day special and we’ll be out picking the best of what we have on offer in our little patch of heaven at Hartley Farm.
The garden is buzzing with bees, customers at the farmshop taking a stroll in the garden and anyone we can spare keeping on top of the deadheading and weeding, which is a constant task in August.
Some gardeners don’t bother to deadhead and some plants like salvia don’t need deadheading, because they don’t set much seed or the plant neatly does the job for you. However, if you want to prolong the length of the season when plants look great and maximise flower production -which we do – it’s a must.
We try to remove spent flowers as soon as they look scruffy. The simplest method is to just pinch off the faded blooms with finger and thumb. This works particularly well for roses, where snapping the stalk just below the flower head results in more blooms being produced more quickly. Pop into your wheelbarrow or bucket and add to the compost heap.You’ll need sharp secateurs for plants with tough stems (dahlias, calendula and some shrubs).
Like other busy gardeners we don’t always have time to keep on top of deadheading. But there’s a silver lining – leaving sunflowers, cornflowers and rudbeckia to go to seed will keep the birds happy; some roses produce beautiful hips and the seed heads of nigella look pretty in the vase too.
Of course if we are ever at a loose end, there’s a whole heap of jobs to keep the flower grower occupied in August – clearing and feeding beds ready for sowing hardy annuals in September; ordering spring bulbs for delivery in the autumn; cutting back herbaceous plants; taking pelargonium cuttings; propagating pinks by layering and laying traps for earwigs among the dahlias. (An upturned flowerpot filled with straw on a garden cane works wonders.) The thrifty flower gardener will also be collecting seed from calendula, papaver, aquilegia and cerinthe.
Pop into the garden, feast your eyes on the flowers and introduce yourself. We’d love to hear what you think.