I have to admit that when I first decided to grow cut flowers, I got rather carried away with the ‘deciding what to grow’ and ‘buying seeds and bulbs’ parts of the process. It took me until January to realise that I hadn’t actually decided where I should plant them! I knew roughly where I wanted it all to happen, but as I started to read up on it, I realised how many additional factors I needed to take into account. My original plan of sowing some seeds and hoping for the best was rapidly unravelling. At this point, panic set in and I nearly talked myself out of doing it, but everybody has to start somewhere and you don’t learn until you give these things a go. So here you join me at my starting point, with my first four raised flower beds.
While I have built a designated area for my cut flowers, I’m going to also grow some within my borders. This is a really good option so please don’t stop following if you don’t have the space to build.
The first thing to consider when building your raised beds is their position. Most flowers love the sun, so choose the sunniest spot in your garden if you can. There are also shade tolerant flowers, but your choice will be a lot more limited. You also need to think about how sheltered the bed should be. If your beds have been built where it is windy then your soil will dry out faster, so will your plants, and in the worst-case scenario, flower breakage, wilting and stunted growth will result because their roots have not been able to properly establish themselves. You can help limit the impact by adding windbreaks but it is best to pick a spot that is as sheltered as possible if you can.
You can pop your flowers straight into the ground or build raised beds like I have chosen to do. I would love to say that I built these myself but my DIY skills are definitely not up to this, so I did get help here. We (the royal we) started by working out the total area for the plot, we then removed the top layer of the soil and levelled the area as best as we could. We were then ready to build the raised beds. I’ve chosen a slightly larger width than the recommended 1.2-metres, but the main rule is that you should be able to comfortably reach the middle, so you are not having to stand on your flowers to cut them or weed around them. I also had my beds lined to help keep the moisture in and to protect the timbers.
Now time to fill – my poor hamstrings! I used a mixture of topsoil, compost and well-rotted manure. If you are opting to grow your cut-flowers directly on the soil, thoroughly weed the area and add in some mulch and compost first.
Looking at the pictures, you may ask ‘why the four beds? The idea is to have one dedicated to foliage type plants, then one for Spring, one for Summer and one for Autumn. I’ve missed Spring as you would plant this bed up in November, so for my first year, I’ve gone for two Summer borders, one Autumn and one for foliage.
The last step in the build is to pop some edging in around the outside of the plot, line it with weed control fabric and add some shingle. As you can see, this is still on the to-do list and most definitely a job for this weekend. Wish me luck. Next week I’ll be talking through the flowers I’ve chosen and how I’ve already started them on their way to full bloom.
Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot – www.instagram.com/flowersandlifestylebymargot/
Find out more about me – www.flowersandlifestylebymargot.co.uk