I am on a bit of a mission to increase the number of perennials in my cutting garden. I have so far relied heavily on annuals and grown most of them from seed. This is fine when you have the time and attention to devote to seed raising but this year is not the year for that. I can pretty much guarantee that if I disappear down to Devon every couple of weeks for a few days things will die and I can do without that. The garden has to sustain me this year and not be too hard work. It has to be somewhere that restores and recharges my batteries (is that possible? not looking too likely just now with the march of the creeping buttercup and the return of the monster bindweed.) Anyway, I digress.
I love echinacea, its a great favourite with pollinating insects and it works really well as a cut flower so I decided to devote one whole square of the patchwork which is the cutting garden to echinacea.
As before the plants are sturdy and well grown with good root systems. Some came as starter plants in these square pots and these will be potted on in a couple of weeks. Some came as plug plants and these I potted up into square pots as soon as they arrrived. I will grow everything on in the greenhouse for another few weeks and put them out when they have a hope of being big enough to survive marauding slugs.
I have chosen four varieties of echinacea:
|Double scoop cranberry|
|Pow wow white|
|Pow wow wild berry|
Now I really must dig over the cutting garden and put lots of compost on to give everything the best start in life. I try not to have to feed constantly but conditions here are not that easy and it really helps to give everything a good start. It also helps if plants go in reasonably small and grow to maturity in our stony soil.
I am dreaming of a long hot summer like last year's, with bees on the monarda, clouds of butterflies and a rug under the sycamore tree.
Do you have any other suggestions for a more perennially focussed cutting garden? I already have lupins, rudbeckia and achillea and I always grow a lot of dahlias. I suspect I need more foliage plants but am a bit stumped as to what will really earn its keep.