This year I finally feel like I understand my garden and the best way to grow plants in it. It’s taken me a few years of experimenting and learning but I finally feel like I’ve cracked it, as I type, my mantle is full of homegrown tulips, anemones and ranunculus (it was the blooming ranunculus that made me feel like I’ve reached a new level). If you’re new and feeling daunted then here are some simple ways to get going, like with anything creative I find the best approach is to get stuck in and have a go. Don’t worry if it goes wrong, I’ve learnt so much more from plants that have failed than bloomed on the first trial.
Be inquisitive – As a starting point take a walk around your local area and see what’s growing in front gardens or in parks. Take pictures or ask (if you’re feeling brave) of plants you like the look of and start to research. I figured if a plant was doing well in someones garden close by then it’ll probably do well in my garden too – as a result I’ve added so many roses and am beginning to add more and more hydrangeas which do really well in my heavy clay soil.
Focus on a few – Every year so far (and a little bit this year) I’ve brought too many seeds that I don’t have time to properly care for which has lead to a few lanky plants that never do that well. This year (manly due to two small people) I’ve kept it really simple and focused on a just a few plant types that I can care for all in the same way and at the same time. My main plants are cosmos, sweet peas and dahlia’s, I’ve gone for loads of different varieties but kept to the same plant type. As a result I’ve got a greenhouse full of gorgeous green seedlings that I cannot wait to see flower.
Cut and come again flowers – I love fresh flowers so its really important for me to grow plants that flower abundantly which probably explains the cosmos, sweet peas and dahlia’s in the greenhouse! If you don’t have much time then I think it’s really important to focus on plants that make life easy and provide loads of flowers for your time.
Plant in blocks and rows – Last year I made a small cut flower bed in my garden and also took on a bed at my mum and dads allotment – whilst the flowers that grew were totally different, the common theme was flowers that I grew in blocks did much better than the flowers I grew in rows. This year I’m planting the same amount of seeds in square blocks rather than singular lines, safety in numbers works.
Plant what you can afford to lose – Whilst I say focus on a few plants that are easy to care for it’s also fun to set some time aside for experimenting. My rule is to buy only what I can afford to lose, I often buy one of a plant to see how it does then will add more the following year if its looking good. This year I’ve been buying lots of bulbs, tubers and a few tiny shrubs from the Poundshop which are all performing really well, although the only downside is they’ll take a few years longer to establish, its been a great way to fill my garden on very little money.
Read as much as you can -As much as I love the internet, it can be a little overwhelming when looking for information as research I’ve loved reading The Floret’s Farm Cut Flower Garden and The Cut Flower Patch . Both are great starting points and really helpful to refer back to once you get going. I especially love the photography and simple break down of each plant type in The Floret Farm book, I read a page before bed every night!
If you want to follow along, I try and update my garden instagram (@lottsinthegarden) on a weekly-ish basis and I share my weekly pickings on my main instagram @LottsandLots .