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Something for the Weekend #7

“By midsummer, flowers know that the longest day starts the flowering season proper, plants concentrating on setting seed for the next generation. The pendulum of the year swinging back with nights slowly drawing in, so our main task is to encourage great flowering, prolonging the performance.” June 2022

On the plots this week we have been pulling bindweed, making another compost windrow and sowing green manures. With the summer settled in, we are concentrating on healthy flowering and preparing for the next season. On the cutting lists are foxtail lilies, roses, snapdragons, scabious, poppies and sweet peas.

The sweetpeas in the polytunnel are going over, stems are like paper and weakening. It has been crazy hot in there which shortens the flowering*. Outside, sweetpeas sown in late March are starting to bloom. My final sowing in May is beginning to climb, I'm expecting them to flower in the next week or two so I hope to have sweet peas for a little while yet.

The promising Snapdragon crop have suffered in the heat and quickly budded all at the top rather than stretching their stems. I will be cutting these down hard to lower branches where new ones will form and encourage stronger flowering. But the foxtail lilies have flowered for ages, and still coming on for deliveries this week. Usually these flower in early June!

Three for the Weekend -

1. Stop using nettle feed on summer flowering plants.

This is nitrogen rich and promotes green leafy growth so now switch to a balanced seaweed or your own comfrey to promote strong flowering. I am also using my diluted weed mix to feed plants and deter worst of weed population. Spray or apply feed from a watering can at least once a month, if not weekly for other hungry plants like tomatoes and sweetpeas.

2. Make a compost heap.

We have created another windrow - more on this in another blog, but for now, suffice to say it's a great time to start one - I make it all in one go when we have a big pile of grass cuttings. I use a pretty much equal mix of 'browns' to 'greens' - nettles, comfrey, grass, shredding, cardboard, chicken bedding, little of homemade compost as a starter and water well. You can add material to yours over a couple of months as you collect it.

We don't add our kitchen waste. Instead we collect in a bucket and apply bokashi bran to start breaking this down then bury ours in pits under plants in the kitchen garden - the soil is so active that it decomposes in a couple of weeks and enriches beneath squashes and tomato plants.

Halfway through making a compost windrow which will be ready in under 10 weeks.

3. Spring Biennials are now setting seed.

On warm dry days I am collecting the seed before clearing the plants. Favourites include honesty, sweet rocket and wallflowers. Shake into an old paper bag or envelope and label. Keep in a cool place. Ours are in a old school locker in the studio. The temperature is fairly stable and never hot! Heat will kill off your seeds so keep out of sunlight.

Wallflower seeds ripening. These are not ready as still green, wait until they swell with seeds and dry back.

Last years 'honesty' seeds.

Some of the saved seed in random saved envelopes and bags. Labelled with plant name and date saved. In cool dry conditions, the seed should stay viable for a few years but usually best sown the next season.

Photos from the week

Poppies and sweetness in the polytunnel, self sown cornflowers & calendula.

*We moved the polytunnel from our very sheltered garden and now it is in full sun. I am thinking of what to plant around it to give a little shading but the poppies are loving it!

In the permanent planting of the 'Long Border', the echinops, cephelaria, machleaya and artichokes are thriving. Guara, asters and salvias are growing up beneath to follow on the display.

Solstice firepit

Farewell Flowers

Lunch on the hottest terrace dressed from a mornings work by @bloomandburn and @wilderbynature.

Honeysuckles, cosmos, scabious, cornflowers, snapdragons, dianthus, roses, sweetpeas, nigella and canatache in a posy box.



Jun 27, 2022

Fab article

Anna Taylor
Anna Taylor
Jul 02, 2022
Replying to

Thank you! New one out today...

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