This week I began a new project, a Cutting Garden behind the potager. You may recall my difficulty in cutting flowers from the proper gardens (See “Just Can’t Cut That” and Just Can’t Cut That 2″ for a reminder.) The site is not ideal, because the topsoil has been scraped away during the process to make a level site for the potager, but it is fairly out of sight, is close for watering, and not in need of a lot of weeding (because in the year since its formation, not even weeds have grown successfully!) There was already landscape cloth in place between it and the potager for a path, and some remnants of the mulch placed on the path last year still remain. Earlier this spring, I put cardboard weighed down with boards on the slope in hopes of attracting lots of earthworms to begin “tilling” the soil. It’s been looking like this since then (photo from the north end.)
The first plants to go in were clumps of Black-eyed Susans and verbena-on-a-stick that were “edited” out of the Deck Garden a few weeks ago, and stuck in a wheelbarrow in a shady spot. They looked pretty dismal by the time the rains stopped and I was able to plant them, but they’ve been perking up gradually. I cut the worst of the brown out, and sut some of them to about 6″ in height. They are all growing new leaves and straightening up to vertical.
Photo from south end.
Then I added leftover annuals once the main planting of the “real” gardens was finished: some zinnias, blue ageratum, orange gomphrena, blue salvia, tithonia, and cosmos. I even planted the “orangiest” of those “Orange Cupcake” zinnias that turned out to be way more red than orange. They may get pulled if I come up with other things I’d rather have. An overgrown daylily in need of dividing from the Deck Garden also was plopped here and there to help with erosion, even though daylilies aren’t really good cut flowers, and a few leftover Chim-Chimnee rudbeckias, which are favorites.
When I cut back the May Queen Shastas after they finished blooming in the main gardens, some of the seeds were sprinkled in the Cutting Garden and they’ve already germinated but will need drastic thinning. That’s the beige circle near the center. There was no plan in the planting but rather just a “stick it in the ground and good luck” along with a pinch of fertilizer and a drink of water. If there is no plan or design, it may help my reluctance to cut. Then everything got a thick layer of mulch, and water every few days as needed. It is looking better, but there’s not much to cut yet.
“Peach Passion” sunflowers have been seeded and are growing in pots in the greenhouse, and they will be added when they are large enough to hopefully survive the critters. There is no fence around the Cutting Garden, and no plan for one. I want to seed some dill and larkspur, and move some volunteer anise hyssop plants soon. That’s about all I plan for this area this year. I don’t have high expectations, but it’s a start and looks better than it did last year. It gives me something to “throw darts at” and evaluate as I plan for next year. We’ll see if more bouquets come into the house and my Lady Cottage…..or not!