Autumn Sowings Of Hardy Annual Flowers. First Effort This Year.

An old scaff board made making straight lines super easy.....under the watchful gaze of Furface....
An old scaff board made making straight lines super easy…..under the watchful gaze of Furface….

The best thing about Autumn sowing is that it makes you feel ahead of the game…and just a little bit smug with it. Today I have been sowing  my ‘Seeds To Sow In Autumn Collection‘.

As an experiment I am sowing half the collection now…and I shall sow the other half on the equinox of the 21st, in three weeks time and see how they both fair.

The photo above only shows half of the bed…the full length is about 25 feet….the autumn seed collection will EASILY fill this space. 25 feet x 7 feet. (Roughly 2 meters x 8 meters)

I wrote my plant labels before I left home for the allotment....told you I was coming over all German.
I wrote my plant labels before I left home for the allotment….I’m turning into my father…

I used an old scaffolding board to mark out my rows….which are a foot apart. Please note my cut flower beds are usually all three foot wide…with three rows going down the full length of the bed. This bed is seven foot wide and so I have chosen to run the rows across the bed….let it never be said I am stuck in my ways. I have also kept these rows as single varieties…usually I mix my rows to create a meadow style cutting patch….this autumn I seem to have come over all German…

Cornflower seedling...laughs in the face of frost and snow.
Cornflower seedling…laughs in the face of frost and snow.

These Autumn sown seeds should flower a month earlier than spring sown ones and also be much stronger and bigger plants that will provide more blooms….they will however ‘go over’ before the spring sown chaps have quite run out of steam.

I shall post updates on how the bed is getting along through the autumn….I know….you must be on the edge of your seats…

Kind regards

Benjamin Higgeldy

Related posts:

Five Swimmingly Good Reasons To Sow Up A Flower Bed In Autumn.

Guide To Autumn Sowing Of Hardy Annuals.

The Higgledy Seed Shop.

List of flower seeds you can sow in early autumn.

 

 

Cut Flower Garden Gems: Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’.

Thx to Debbie @plymouthpotter for this pic of her 'Irish Eyes'...very tip top they look too.
Thx to Debbie @plymouthpotter for this pic of her ‘Irish Eyes’…very tip top they look too.

Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ are not widely grown…most folk go for ‘Marmalade’ (which is understandable as ‘Marmalade’ rocks out for the free world)…but I always have some space for ‘Irish Eyes’…it’s doesn’t produce quite as many blooms as ‘Marmalade’ but they have wonderful pale green centers (Hence ‘Irish Eyes’)….they are like the quieter…more sophisticated cousin…

How To Grow Rudbeckia For Cutting:

*Rudbeckia sowing at Higgledy takes place in early April. Being half hardy the seedlings can’t go near a frost.

*I always sow my Rudbeckia undercover…in a coldframe…on a windowsill…in a greenhouse…or all three. They can also be direct sown after the frosts…but it’s something I have never tried.

*It makes life much easier if you sow in pots rather than seed trays…I prefer three inch square pots…I sow a few seeds into each pot and then discard all but one seedling.

...and one from Rose Mckerrell @rosemackerrell (Twitter)...Rose's have taken a slightly more shaggy rock star take on the summer fashion. :)
…and one from Rose Mckerrell @rosemackerrell (Twitter)…Rose’s have taken a slightly more shaggy rock star take on the summer fashion. :)

*Only cover the seeds super lightly with your compost…or use a sprinkling of vermiculite if you are organised enough to have some.

*Nearly always you/I will sow too many seeds…they are tiny and the urge to sprinkle too heavily is irresistible…but you must  thin these out to one seedling per pot.

Seeds To Sow In Late Summer/Autumn Collection. 25% Off. Free Shipping. £20. Fourteen packets of seeds delivered to your door. #Simples

*After about six weeks…and after the frosts have finished being boring and have naffed off back up to Lapland, then your seedlings can be planted outside….this is usually around mid May.

Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes'
Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ ..sorry…I can’t remember which customer of mine kindly sent me this pic, so I can’t credit her.

*Make sure they are planted in full sun.

*I plant mine to a foot…or perhaps a little more apart.

*Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ are fairly drought tolerant but they will need water whilst they are getting established.

*By cutting the blooms for the vase she will produce more flowers…we like this sort of behavior.

Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes' & 'Marmalade'
Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ & ‘Marmalade’…spot the difference?! #TEST

*If we have a VERY mild winter the plants may survive for another season…I am going to try fleecing a square metre of them this year as an experiment. (*geek.)

‘Irish Eyes’ is an outstanding cut flower…and with just a little effort you can have a good amount of plants that will provide lashings of flowers from mid/late summer through until the frosts.

I sell Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’ at £1.95 for 300ish seeds 

 Try growing and showing ‘Irish Eyes’ with Dill ‘Mammoth’ (For some height interest)…and something citrus green to compliment the heat of the yellow/orange…Bupleurum would be good…or Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’…also use Blue flowers as an opposite…for some contrast…’Blue Ball’ cornflowers will rock with Rudbeckia…

Kind regards

Benjamin Higgledy

Related waffles:

Rudbeckia…the late summer rock stars.

The Best Rudbeckias For Cutting

The Higgledy Seed Shop.

 

Borago officinalis. Borage. The Lovable Rogue Of The Cutting Patch.

...yes its a thug...but Borage has a magical beauty and is underrated as a cut flower.
…yes its a thug…but Borage has a magical beauty and is underrated as a cut flower.

I was reticent to give Borage any space in my cutting garden..I knew what a beastly and troublesome cad he can become if left to self seed. However…we got to know each other and have become good friends. The bright blue, star shaped flowers seem to attract bees from all over the northern hemisphere to my plot down here in soggy Cornwall and in the vase Borage not only adds great colour and form but also gives a good base through which you can thread, poke and winkle your other flower stems into.

Growing Borage From Seed.

Thank you to @MrsEmma (Twitter) for this glorious photo of a honey bee having a swimmingly good time with his colleague, Borage.
Thank you to @MrsEmma (Twitter) for this glorious photo of a honey bee having a swimmingly good time with his colleague, Borage.

..frankly it’s very difficult not to grow Borage if you have some seeds…they are probably the easiest seeds to grow that I stock in the shop. Just cover them lightly with soil and give them a water…let them get on with it….space plants to about a foot apart.

Sow seeds in either early September or April….Borage is a hardy annual and laughs in the face of frost. Sow in pots if that is your fancy…

The Higgledy Garden Seed Shop.

Back in the days of old…it was the Christian crusaders who brought Borage back from Syria after they had finished fighting the native people over who had the best invisible friend….they would steep their wine in Borage before battle, believing it gave them courage. (In fact the word Borage is probably a derivative of courage)

Photo credit Sarah Robinson Designs
Photo credit Sarah Robinson Designs…thank you.

Young Borage leaves are edible and can be treated like spinach…the flowers are also edible…you may have seen that middle class folk can’t help but throw Borage at glasses of Pimms…this is hard wired into their brains…it comes from generations of training and breeding.

Borage flower in salad
Borage flowers in a tasty salad with Nasturtium, Sanguisorba and lettuce leaves (I made that cup, yes I did) Photo Credit: Karen Wells

Borage plays a role in my ‘Seeds To Sow In Late Summer And Early Autumn’ collection…which has 25% off the collective price of the 14 packets of seeds and also comes with free shipping.

If you don’t want your Borage all over the garden, it’s best to cut down the plants before they set seed…they compost down very well…and I imagine they are packed full of nitrogen as they have long tap roots…..but I may have made that up in my head.

Kind regards

Benjamin Higgledy

Related posts you may be able to put up with:

Growing Godetia From A Late Summer Sowing.

Larkspur From Seed…a guide for the confused.

Why you should sow up a cutting patch bed in late summer/autumn.

 

 

Cosmos ‘Sensation’ From Seed, For The Cutting Patch.

Cosmos 'Sensation' grown by @plansandplants LOVE that colour!
Cosmos ‘Sensation’ grown by @plansandplants LOVE that colour!

Cosmos ‘Sensation’ is well know for producing mountains of flowers of wonderful, soft, ferny foliage. Flowers go from a ‘Purity’ style white…through to pinks and carmine. The stems are strong and long….perfect for cutting. Cosmos will also keep producing flowers as you harvest…a total darling in the cutting patch.

Cosmos is half hardy and therefore will get in a right flap if she gets anywhere near a frost…so…either sow outside after the frosts have gone northward or sow in pots from early April on a windowsill or in a greenhouse. Most seed suppliers will suggest you can sow throughout March…but the truth is this is usually unsatisfactory as plants just won’t get enough light…they will stretch and become ‘leggy’….and we don’t like this (not in plants anyway)…even if they survive..they will not flower any earlier than ones sown in April.

Cosmos 'Sensation' with Rudbeckia 'Marmalade' in the background.
Cosmos ‘Sensation’ with Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’ in the background.

I sow in three inch square pots….in mid May I harden the plants off and then plant them where I want them leaving about a foot of space between plants.

Cosmos generally flower from July….this year they didn’t really get going in my cutting patch until August…and even then…they weren’t as good as they could have been….it’s been a funny old year for annuals.

Cosmos plants will easily get to 120 cm…and often much more…in a good year I’ve had them to 6 ft…..hummm…what’s that? ….185 cm or thereabouts? Make sure they get a position that gets heaps of sunshine. (insert gag about British weather)

Photo Credit: Lamberly.co.au
Photo Credit: Lamberly.co.au

One thing to bear in mind is that Cosmos don’t like a soil that has been enriched with manure…if this is the case they will produce squat plants…with thick stems and lots of greenery….but fewer flowers. Think ‘soil structure’ rather than food…so by all means dig in some organic material…home made compost is good…this will help drainage but still retain moisture.

'Sensation' Seeds.
‘Sensation’ Seeds.

After Halloween I let my Cosmos go to seed and stop harvesting any flowers….Goldfinches get all gooey eyed over the seeds…and it’s a joy to have them in the garden. On the subject of wildlife…you will also attract bees and butterflies with your Cosmos.

Kind regards

Benjamin Higgledy

Related scribbles:

Guide to growing Cosmos ‘Purity’

Flower Seeds To Sow In Late Summer & Autumn

Growing Didiscus From Seed.

 

Sunday Night Picture Show.

Cosmos 'Sensation' grown by @plansandplants LOVE that colour!
Cosmos ‘Sensation’ grown by @plansandplants LOVE that colour!
Calendula grown by @10minutegardener in his flower field...(that I've   been camping in for three weeks)..simplicity itself...'ansome...
Calendula grown by @10minutegardener in his flower field…(that I’ve been camping in for three weeks)..simplicity itself…’ansome…
@luciehyndley cleverly persuading all her flowers away from the camera! ;)
@luciehyndley cleverly persuading all her flowers away from the camera! ;)
This cracking display was put together by the fair hand of @theJanShepherd Lovely wonky Godetia stems and Cosmos is always a winner. Good show...nicely lit too...(extra points)
This cracking display was put together by the fair hand of @theJanShepherd Lovely wonky Godetia stems and Cosmos is always a winner. Good show…nicely lit too…(extra points)
Beautiful Briza grass as photographed by @carolinereading. Briza is a very useful chap in the cutting garden...and one I have found very hard to photograph myself...so if Caroline allows I shall steal this image from time to time. #PrettyPlease
Beautiful Briza grass as photographed by @carolinereading. Briza is a very useful chap in the cutting garden…and one I have found very hard to photograph myself…so if Caroline allows I shall steal this image from time to time. #PrettyPlease
Scabiosa 'Back In Black'...another great photograph from @RoseMckerrell's cutting patch.
Scabiosa ‘Back In Black’…another great photograph from @RoseMckerrell’s cutting patch.
Splendiferous Nigella...another from @carolinereading. :)
Splendiferous Nigella…another from @carolinereading. :)

 

Doesn't get much more cheery than this! :) Thanks to Pat Stone.
Doesn’t get much more cheery than this! :) Thanks to Pat Stone.
@lindastantonart Photographed this bee having a jolly time on a Helichrysum...and why shouldn't he....
@lindastantonart Photographed this bee having a jolly time on a Helichrysum…and why shouldn’t he….
Tatako's balcony in Tokyo continues to do well...here are some of her Scabiosa. Thank you Takako. :)
Tatako’s balcony in Tokyo continues to do well…here are some of her Scabiosa. Thank you Takako. :)
...and finally from the delightful @spookychews...a wonderful vase which has some rather dashing looking Nicotiana 'Sensation' in it. #Cracking!
…and finally from the delightful @spookychews…a wonderful vase which has some rather dashing looking Nicotiana ‘Sensation’ in it. #Cracking!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Kind regards

Benjamin Higgeldy