In a Vase on Monday – My Cut Flower Patch

One of the joys of June is to walk out into the garden and pick a bunch of flowers for the house- flowers that have been nurtured all winter, and are now ready to harvest.

Sweet williams are currently my favourite. They provide masses of flowers which last at least a week in a vase. Sown in June last year, they were pricked out and grown on, and then planted out in late August. And today I’m picking basketfuls of fragrant flowers.

Regular readers will know that all my flowers are grown for my mother in law Joan and my wonderful mum, Marion. Once a week I fill every vase they own with home-grown flowers.

Here’s some photos from my cut flower patch. I have 10 3m by 1.2m beds. Half are planted with sweet peas, dahlias and sweet williams. Half are set out with potatoes, beetroot, beans, courgettes and strawberries

In the background you can see the fruit garden. It’s completely overwhelmed with brambles and stingers this year. A renovation project is planned, when I get a minute to spare.

I’m growing a range of old-fashioned Sweet williams with seed from Higgledy Garden. As you can see, bees love them too. I’m always thinking of what would be best for pollinators.

I particularly love the auricular-eyed sweet williams. Rich Venetian colours really stand out in the summer sunshine. And they go so well with summer roses. This one is called William Shakespeare. Looks like red velvet to me.

And another favoured rose for picking right now is the highly-scented Constance Spry. It only flowers once, but what a spectacular show.

I’m sowing more sweet williams right now, preparing for next summer’s bounty. I use half seed trays filled with good quality seed compost. Fill them right to the top of the trays. Press down gently to level. Sow seeds thinly to prevent moulds and damping off disease. Seeds germinate at 17 – 19C, room temperature at this time of the year. So no propagators are needed. When seedlings have two leaves, I prick them out into full size seed trays to give each plant more space to grow. I’ll place the trays in a bright place to grow on, making sure the plants don’t dry out. And I’ll plant them out into the garden in August, 25cm apart, when I’ve harvested one of the vegetable crops to make space. I water plants with seaweed extract and home-made comfrey liquid which makes them grow healthy and strong. I’m adding some almost black sweet williams Nigricans and white alba for next year.

Here’s another view of my cut flower patch with Diascia Hopleys in the foreground. Another good do-er for flower arranging.

I’m joining in with Cathy for her In a Vase on Monday meme. Why not go over and see what Cathy and the others are growing and putting in their flower arrangements this week. Let me know how your gardens are doing this summer. How are you coping with unpredictability weather, rain and high winds? I think summer storms are becoming the norm.

48 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday – My Cut Flower Patch

    • Thank you Marian. They were really pleased 😀 and so was I when I drove home and looked back at both front windows to see them with vases of flowers looking so cheerful. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch. Enjoy your day 🙂 x

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  1. Your mums are very lucky to share the bounty of your garden Karen. The Sweet Williams I remember from my childhood, a lovely old-fashioned flower.

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    • Thank you Jane. I used to walk past a front garden full of Sweet williams on my way to primary school each day. I always loved to stop and compare all the different colours and take in the scent. This is the first year since then that I’ve driven past and there’s no flowers, which made me very sad indeed. And now the house is up for sale. I bet that gardener never knew how much he’d inspired me to grow the same flowers. Thanks again for reading.

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  2. I’ve enjoyed reading your gardening tips, as well as enjoying seeing those lovely Sweet Williams, and roses. It must be so lovely to be close to your relatives and take them flowers each week.

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    • Thank you Noelle for your kind words. Well, it all started when they used to come to visit me each week to walk the plot and give help and advice. Then they became less mobile and couldn’t come. So now each week I gather samples of everything in flower – and foliage too and take it to my MIL so she can “see” my garden even though she can’t easily travel here. It gives us something cheerful to talk about, keeps us connected, and fills their house with colour and scent. There are a lot of carers coming and going and I think they like to see vases of flowers too. Luckily it’s only 25 minutes journey for me, so me and the flowers don’t wilt. Thanks again for reading and for your lovely comments. Ps. My Mum lives next door to them, very luckily for me. So I manage to see them all at the same time.

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  3. I love your cut flower bed with the sweet peas and sweet williams. What a fabulous basket of blooms….so abundantly beautiful it took my breath away. I hope to see sweet williams in my garden and meadow soon. I seeded them there and they come back most years.

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    • Thank you Donna. What a great idea. I hadn’t thought of putting them in the meadow, but that would work here too. I’ll try it! Thanks for reading and for your kind comments. Have a great day 🙂 x

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    • Thanks Christina. I can highly recommend that diascia. It has really long stems and lasts a long time in a vase as the flowers keep opening to the tip. Having the flowers in beds with slabs surrounding them means I can keep control of the weeds. And it’s not overwhelming. I can go out and just say to myself I’m going to work on one bed at a time. There’s a sense of achievement when you’ve sorted one bed, and the rest will last until another day. Also the slabs mean I don’t walk in the beds. And they are no dig too, which keeps down the weeds and saves the worms and beetles from being chopped up.

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      • I use the bed system too for my vegetables and my cut flowers and agree wholeheartedly with all the advantages you mentioned. Because it is so hot and dry here, only the veg and cut flower beds are irrigated automatically. I rarely water the rest of the garden, doing so only when plants are stressed.

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      • I learned about the bed system and no dig from Charles Dowding. He has been an enormous support and a wonderful mentor sending encouraging messages every now and again. I only water the seedlings when they are first planted. After that, they have to fend for themselves. Irrigation is a good idea though and saves a lot of time. I’m envious of your dahlias. I’ve just been out to look at mine again and they are only in bud. I’m being a bit impatient. The plants left in the ground are only just shooting. I won’t leave them in again. They take too long to get going and the slugs massacre the new shoots. The ones started from the greenhouse are doing much better. Just seen that we have a glut of strawberries in the uk. I’ve just bought 1kg for £3 and will make jam. Poor farmers. It’s hard enough for us, but terribly difficult form them.

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      • I’ve used the bed system for 20 odd years; I’m not sure I even remember where I first heard about it. I used it on my allotment in England. I’m always recommending it to people.

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    • Thank you Peter. That scent is quite amazing. Thank you for your very kind comments. I’m extremely lucky to have essentially two mums. Both been a huge support to me over the years. I couldn’t have achieved half of what I have without their help and advice. Thanks again for reading. All the best. K

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  4. Karen with how busy you are taking care of your father-in-law who has broken his hip and your mother-in-law who is not in good health and you publish this magnificent blog with your beautiful flowers. You are amazing! Let your father-in-law and your mother-in-law recoupe soon. What a wonderful heart you have giving every week to your mother-in-law and your Mother flowers! Let’s start with the flowers. The photos are magnificent. The wicker basket full of those beautiful flowers is a dream. The Sweet Williams I like a lot and have a wonderful perfume, there are also many to choose from. Your plot of cut flowers with Sweet Peas, Dahlias, Sweet Williams and Diascia Hopleys I love it, it is paradise. The Rose William Shakespeare is velvet, I like it a lot. The Rose Constance Spry I love for its color, its shape and its perfume. I would like to have that wicker basket full of wonderful, beautiful flowers: I love it. This year I do not have flowers in the garden, my leg and hip are very painful and I can not do anything. The strong pain comes from January of last year, so last summer I did not do anything in the garden either. Sweet Williams endure temperatures below zero in Winter? Because if I get seeds now I could plant them and have flowers next year. Karen give many memories and love to your Mother from me. For you the best and love. For your whole family, love. Take care. Loving greetings from Margarita.

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    • Thank you so much for your very kind words Margarita. I am so sorry to hear that your leg and hip is so painful. I wonder if you could grow flowers in raised beds? Less bending and weeding. What I did was lay down a strip of thick cardboard down over the weeds and pile 6” of compost on top. Plant directly into the compost. By next year the cardboard will have decomposed, but the weeds will have died. It’s a quick way to create a bed. Sweet williams are quite hardy. They survived our very cold winter last year. Look out for auricular-eyed varieties. Many greetings and love to you and your family. Best wishes from karen xx

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  5. What a beautiful garden! We are in the process of completely gutting our front landscaping and replacing everything, so many bushes have been eaten by deer. Looking forward to having many flowering plants all for all seasons!

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  6. Those sweet William are rad! I know that they ‘can’ be grown as cut flower, but I never see it here. We do not grow carnation like that either. They survive, but stay quite low and tired looking.

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    • Ah, thank you. That’s made my day. I’m out there cutting carnations and sweet peas. The garden is just filled with hoverflies. Such a joy to be outdoors. Thanks again for your kind comments 🙂 x

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