This year, knowing that I had limited energy, I decided to plant only flowers for cutting instead of a vegetable garden. We dug up flower beds along the front and side of our house, and I bought some things in a nursery and started others from seed. At the moment my flower beds look rather wild, which is perhaps the way cutting gardens look? That’s what I’m telling myself. It’s okay with me that they look a little wild, because they are providing us with a profusion of color and gorgeous bouquets. I’ve noticed that the neighbors all have a solitary hosta or clematis surrounded by wood chips…very tidy, but not much good for filling up jars and pitchers. A few things I want to remember for next year:
#1. I’m not going to start any seeds ahead of time indoors. It wasn’t worth the work, and the things that did best from seed were the things I sowed directly into the soil.
#2. I’m going to double down on the gladiolas, which were gorgeous, and dahlias, which are just now starting to bless us with the most beautiful while blooms. BUT! I’m not wasting my money on the disappointing dahlias from Breck’s that didn’t even come up…the ones I purchased from American Meadows are doing quite well. They are more expensive, but they came up! I’m thinking a sack of 100 glads (the ordinary kind- the frilly ones ended up smaller and blah) and 4 or 5 dahlias- probably white and a color, and definitely dinnerplate sized.
#3. I’ll buy plugs of snapdragons again but I’ll plant them further back and give them more space.
#4. I’m definitely going to plant zinnias, cosmos, and nasturtiums (all from seed) along the driveway again. They are fabulous. And cheap!
#5. I want to buy more Benary Giant zinnia seeds for the front beds- they don’t bloom in the same quantity but the size is fun and impressive. I bought mine from Swallowtail Seeds online and had excellent luck with them. There was kind of skimpy number of seeds per envelope though…anyone have tips on saving zinnia seeds? Does it work?
#6. I’m giving up on hanging baskets. They dry out too quickly and don’t catch any rain. Instead I’m going to plant a couple pots to put on the steps.
#7. I’m going to stick to mostly annuals again next year. I just think they are so easy, cheap, and satisfying. Plus, it’s nice to have the flexibility of changing things up every year.
#8. I bought double cosmos seeds this year, and I think I’ll do the same next year. They look much more substantial in bouquets.
On the whole, while I think it would be fun to have a little raised bed for some herbs and a pumpkin or gourds for Alice, I think I’ll mostly focus on flowers again next year. I enjoy being able to buy things at farmer’s markets, and I have to say that I’m having more fun with flowers than 20 tomato plants like in the past. I guess I’d rather arrange flowers than can tomato sauce. I know growing food is really trendy right now, but what’s wrong with a little urban flower farming?