It’s Winter, a time to review the past growing season and look ahead to the future one with new energy, purpose, ideas, and resolves; to learn from the past and apply those lessons to the future. It’s a cozy time spent with gardening books and seed catalogs. A time when all things seem possible. In thinking about the past season, there is a big fact that I can’t ignore. I hate to cut my flowers! As much as I enjoy cut flowers for indoors, I can rarely persuade myself to remove blooms from the gardens. They look so beautiful there, and cutting them creates a hole…a big hole…possibly not so large that others would notice, but to me it appears huge!
There are only two exceptions: #1) when we are having guests I will cut a bouquet, because I feel they expect it and I would hate to disappoint guests, and it does make a guest bedroom or dining table more festive. And then, as we stroll through the gardens before or after dinner, I worry that they see THE HUGE HOLES, and wonder why my garden is so lacking in color! The rock and the hard place. The damned if one does or doesn’t. The case of wanting to keep the cake, but wanting to eat it, too,…..but multiplied.
#2) Thankfully, is much less painful. I cut daffodils when their flower heads are so full they cause the stems to bend over to the ground. That actually feels like a rescue, so I have no qualms in cutting fallen daffodils. Their poor heads are in the mud and no one can really see their beauty. The upright ones? I can’t bear to cut them because it reduces the impact of the gardens, even though there are hundreds, and it is unlikely that a handful would be missed. Or is it? (Sigh!)
So, I am thinking of easing my dilemma by adding a small (3′ x 50′) cutting garden. There is a slope on the (farthest from the house) west end of the potager, in full sun and close to water. I’d intended to just let it return to grass, but now I am imagining it as a cutting garden. There is already a 2′ wide mulched path between it and the potager fence. (Although that can’t be discerned from the photo.) I can picture bushy sunflowers, dahlias, cosmos, zinnias, tithonia, cockscomb, snapdragons, and other annuals growing there. Most could be from excess seedlings started for the gardens proper (I always grow way too many!) so it wouldn’t take much more effort. Hopefully, I can get it mulched well, but if a few weeds sprout, they wouldn’t be as noticeable as in the gardens proper. Only someone walking in the back of the potager or near the berry rows would even see this area, let alone notice a few stems missing. On the other hand, it will mean one additional area to care for, and I found the workload last season just about right. Do I really want to add more? I don’t want my gardens to become a chore, like they were at the herb farm. Definitely not! So, I’m still debating and may not really decide until I see just how many extra seedlings there are, and after the other gardens are tidied and planted for spring. Currently, I feel it will make bouquets in the house more enjoyable and that should more than compensate for the bit of extra work, so I’m making a cut flower list and a few diagrams. It’s so easy to dream that everything is manageable while the gardens are snow-covered.