The Cottage Smallholder

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Flowers from the garden July 2012. One day late

flowers from my garden July 2012

Flowers from my garden July 2012

About 18 months ago John (in the village shop) and I made a plan. I would order 100 carnation plant plugs, grow them on and supply the village shop with flowers. Carnations last very well as cut flowers, no chance of them wilting after just a few days. Perfect.

When I was a struggling wooden toymaker I always bought carnations every week. These are the one flower that can go on and on if you change the water often and deadhead in the vase. Eventually the smaller buds on the stems flower and you can have a mini flower arrangement beside your bed.

The plugs arrived – there must have been well over 200 plants and I grew them on. I planted some in the solar tunnel and the rest in our borders. Mainly in the new border along the front drive. The winter before last was a bit of a Waterloo for small plants – probably 50 survived the deep frosts and they didn’t flower the next summer. None of the carnations in the new front border survived.

2012 is flowering time for these carnations in our garden. I have to share a secret with you, I don’t really like carnations. But I wouldn’t turn them down for the sake of a small commercial venture.

I have been amazed by flowers of these carnations. So many are not the double pedalled specimens that we are used to seeing at florists and the supermarkets. The range of colours is larger too. Perhaps it’s because these plants have been raised organically that they seem so attractive.

In the bunch that I picked we have carnations, the flowers of parsnips that have gone to seed, valerian pink and white, alstromera, a pretty blue grey thistly plant that’s called sea holly and the little daisy like flowers are feverfew.

I know that it’s August 1st but I’ve been searching for the photos for days and just had to put one up! This bunch of flowers was in the sitting room during our CSH summer party. They were picked on July 14th so all lasted well. The day after the party they looked completely dead – so perhaps they’d danced the night away when we were snoring upstairs.

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  1. For the fall season, plant a few fall edible plants in your garden containers. Beautiful selections of kale and mustard greens, have lovely shades of greens and purples and offer different textures to the arrangement. Add a few edible pansies to bring color to the green textures. The combination is fetching and will last well into the winter.

  2. Flowers online

    Hey dear
    You have really added the beautiful and informative post. I like to read it. I have a big lawn which is utilizing by kids only.

  3. Margaret Thorson

    In my garden I’ve had the best success with long stemmed carnations for cut flowers by growing the Floristan variety as a biennial. I start the seed in flats in June and plant out in the garden as soon as there is room for the plants. They bloom the following June.

  4. PipneyJane

    Hi Fiona.

    Just a quick question: how do the bees like your carnation boarder? (I’ve become very bee conscious since watching that BBC series from earlier this year about bees and butterflies, etc.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Pipney Jane

      Bees are not attracted to carnations. I think it’s the combination of the scent and the difficulty of obtaining the nectar. If you have a fairly big garden this should not put you off growing them as the carnations can be grown amongst other bee friendly flowers. If it’s just a tiny plot forget carnations if you want to attract bees.

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