The main reason we sow up some cut flower beds in Autumn is because we will get much earlier flowers than sowing the same seeds in spring. These plants will also be bigger and stronger than their spring sown chums. By making both an Autumn sowing and a Spring sowing we can vastly extend the season of our flowers. This will not only make you happy but will also make your neighbours jealous…you can take them some of your excess flowers and you will be able to see in their eyes that they wish they could just be a little bit more like you.
The second reason we sow in Autumn is that it saves time in the spring…not just saves time sowing the bed….but also weeding. The autumn sown bed can be mulched in spring as the plants will be big enough to work around…then it can be pretty much left to get on with it. It will flower in June, three or four weeks earlier than seed sown in mid April.
Hardy annuals are the backbone of the flower patch…they are simple to grow and are super floriferous, producing flowers all summer long and are on the whole happy in poor soil…they slave away for you like flowery sweat shops. Not only that but the little darlings will self seed when they are exhausted and produce more plants for you the following year.
Good question….first of all…look deep into my eyes and allow me to try and sell you something…the Higgledy Garden ‘Seeds To Sow In Autumn‘ is a great selection to get you started. This collection has twelve varieties of easy to grow flowers…it also has 20% off the collective price and free shipping.
Ammi, Cornflowers, Nigella, Malope, Calendula, Scabiosa, Buplurum, Corncockle, Godetia, Gypsophila, Candytuft, Larkspur and Eschscholzia are all perfect for an Autumn sowing.
The beds in the Higgledy cutting patch are three feet wide and have three rows of flowers, each a foot apart…most plants are spaced roughly a hand span apart in each row.
For most of us in the UK and Autumn sowing should take place around mid September…but late August or early September in Scotland…into October for those of us on the Costa del Cornwall.
When sowing up the bed and make a SHALLOW drill with a stick….just a scratch really….then I water this BEFORE thinly sowing the seeds…then cover LIGHTLY with soil.
Leave the bed to do it’s thing over the winter and then thin out the plants in Spring.
Keep on top of any weeds:
TOP TIP: If you prepare your beds a couple of weeks before sowing you can hoe off the first flush of weeds just before you sow…don’t hoe too deeply or you will bring more weed seed to the surface…bashing this first wave of weeds will make your life considerably easier.
I hope this tickles your fancy to have a go at Autumn sowing….for more info on seed sowing, click over to the more comprehensive ‘Higgledy Garden Seed Sowing Guide’…it is a printable PDF thingy. (NB The guide is a couple of years old and states I only sell annuals flower seeds….I now stock some perennials too)
Have a great weekend,
PS You asked me to remind you to go ‘here’
The mighty Alys Fowler has kindly agreed to judge our photo competition this month.
Please send photos of your cut flower garden….or your arrangements to the Higgledy Garden Twitter page. Nudity is of course accepted.
I will narrow the contenders down to about twenty and post them on the blog in early September and Alys will then pick a winner…and the winner will get heaps of free seeds.
I can’t accept pics by email this month as last month they started clogging up my mail box….and my small brain started to ache.
Delyth Jones was the first of the Higgledy clan to grow Scabiosa ‘Ping Pong’. Delyth was the famous Edwardian scientist who invented the bouncy castle….she was also known for her cut flower garden which nestled in the grounds of a Cardiff Laboratory. When she wasn’t bouncing she was Ping Ponging.
Scabiosa ‘Ping Pong’ is an unusual creature…rather than it’s flower it is grown for its superb seed heads….though the flower is pretty too, to be fair.
Delyth would make two sowings of ‘Ping Pong’…one outside in mid September and a further sowing in April, either in square three inch pots or directly into the soil. She would space the seedlings to about a hand span apart.
I sow mine in rows a foot apart…to make hoeing easier.
For other great gems to sow in Autumn…take a peak at my ‘Seeds To Sow In Autumn’ collection.
PS Sorry for the small photos…don’t know what happened there…..pesky Gremlins…..
Gypsophila ‘Covent Garden’ is a hardy annual well worthy of some space in your flower patch. Despite a fall from grace from the florists of the 1990′s, Gypsophila has returned and quite rightly too. ‘Covent Garden’ is a more robust, single flowered version than the extra flouncy double form that you may have seen in florists…these for the most part are grown by the Dutch and brought over by the lorry load…they so frightfully last season…
Gypsophila’s specialist skill is its ability to add an ethereal, airy vibe to your displays. Use it with all white flowers for something uber chic…it goes extremely well with Cosmos ‘Purity’ and white ‘Larkspur’. Or the simple ‘Blue Ball’ Cornflower and Gypsophila is a beautiful combo which is simplicity itself.
I generally make two sowings….on in mid September and one in mid April. Though it is fine to start them off inside in March…I prefer to direct sow and save myself some greenhouse space. Some folk make sowings right up and into June. You get heaps of seeds in a packet, why not sow half in Autumn and half in Spring…
Related posts: Guide to the best flowers to sow in Autumn.