I feel incredibly spoiled in saying this given how lucky I am to have all of our growing space, but I am sometimes paralysed by indecision when it comes to growing. Coming from a tiny terraced garden where I had so little space, I’m slightly overwhelmed by the amount of potential I have here. I didn’t really grow inedible things in London but I’m thrilled at the idea that here I have the space for a cutting garden that I think can use to supply our house with flowers all year round. I’ll even have the space for a few flowering shrubs so that I can use to bulk out the annuals. But my inexperience growing flowers has made me a bit nervous. I’ve tried to lay the cutting garden out as a set of formal squares but I’m a bit worried that they could be seen as lines of triangles. The seating area should be pretty self-explanatory and as the whole garden is south-facing and roasting on sunny days, I’m going to get a small pergola erected over the bench there so that I can grow a sweet pea shade screen. Deciding what to grow has been hugely difficult and I hope I’ve managed to get a good spread of things that will flower across the year. Our landscapers cleverly modified my original design of the garden to incorporate a few “steps” made of sleepers that will flank the entrance gate once it is finished next year. We’re adding in two ornamental olive trees on either side of this gateway too, and I’m going to grow a scented climbing rose over it from one side, and a winter flowering clematis from the other. In the “steps” themselves, I’m planning a successional planting lasagne mix of bulbs (tulip and snowdrop) and poppies covered by creeping thyme to hopefully keep the weeds down in those. For the actual cutting beds, I wanted to incorporate a wide variety of flowers across the year. I’ve also planned to have various foliage shrubs dotted about the place and I’ll have a border of strawberries and standard gooseberries to mirror the edge of the large berry bed opposite it on the other side of the kitchen garden. I suspect I’m going to decide to simplify things next year but for now my plans include:
Foliage plants: Myrtle, hydrangea “limelight”, pittosporum “silver sheen”, “June” hostas, standard bay, corsican mint, fennel and thyme
Roses for cutting: Ferdinand Pichard, Boule de neige, Princess Alexandra, Graham Alexander, William Shakespeare, Winchester cathedral, Golden celebration, Buttercup and Susan Williams-Ellis
Flowers: Lilies, Gladiolis, Daffodils, Tulips, Candytuft, Achillea, Nicotiana, Zinnias, Iris, Nigellas, Scabious, Cornflowers, Borage, Cosmos, Poppies, Euphorbia, Ranunculus, Giant chives, Verbena Rigida, sweet rocket, dahlias, crocosmia, montbretia, michaelmas daisies, rudbeckia, freesias, snapdragons, agapanthus, echinacea and anemones
As is becoming standard for this property, we’ve been turning up all manner of interesting things as the beds have been installed – horseshoes, half a gun, and two very well made drains that apparently lead from and go to nowhere. It’s all very mysterious but par for the course, I suppose, on a very old farm.
We’re now starting to line the paths with weed-proof membrane so it’s starting to feel real, as is the fact that I’m finally starting to plant the bulbs this week. I love the idea of having fresh flowers for the house from the garden every week and I’d like to improve my arranging skills too so hopefully this is really going to give me the push I need to do that!