Flowers in February
Although we’ve finally experienced the first good cold snap of the season, it’s still been warm enough that some colourful surprises have bloomed early in my flowerbeds. I had completely forgotten that I’d planted these gorgeous anemones last year, so it was a real treat to wake up one morning and find my drab winter flowerbed studded with their jewel-coloured blooms.
I have a real thing about having fresh cut flowers in the house – it feels like such a luxury. We tend to buy local produce as much as possible, and that extends to flowers – meaning no Kenyan supermarket roses for me! Although our primary gardening focus is vegetables, I have been slowly building up our flower stocks too, as I think there is something so satisfying about being able to just nip outside and gather a little hand posy to adorn the kitchen table.
The Royal Horticultural Society advises dedicating a section of your garden to cut flowers, so you don’t end up with ragged-looking borders. This year I am considering turning an allotment bed over purely to flowers – but as many good cutting varieties only bloom in the second year, I may need to convince my husband that this is a worthy sacrifice!
If you are interested in growing flowers for cutting, it is worth thinking about the seasons in which your plants will bloom, so that you will have a good supply of flowers for as much of the year as possible. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Sweet peas: These are easy-peasy for beginners (and children) to grow, especially if you use FIGO frames to support them! They flower again and again after cutting, and come in a range of perfect pastel shades. Just make sure you give the blooms a shake before you bring them inside the house, as they are a favourite hidey-hole for little black beetles!
Alliums: I just love the firework blaze of colour that explodes from these ornamental onions. They are quite an expensive cut flower, as you only get one bloom per bulb, but they are so showy and stunning that I think they are worth it. If you can’t bring yourself to cut them when they are in full bloom, you can always leave the starry heads to dry on the plant, before cutting them to bring inside.
Shasta daisies: I have just sown a whole tray of these little lovelies, as I am a big fan of simple, country-style flowers. They look like big ox-eye daisies, and cutting them will only make the plant bloom all the more profusely!
Nigella (or Love-in-the-mist): You can get these dreamy little flowers in a whole range of pretty colours, but I love the sky blues most of all. They are ethereal and delicate, with lovely frondy foliage, and their dried seed heads are fantastic in flower arrangements. They are also phenomenally easy to grow: since I first planted mine three summers ago, they have successfully self-seeded every year.
How do you use FIGO to support your flower growing? And what are your favourite varieties of cut flower? Do let us know!