How to Grow a Cutting Garden with the Garden Goddess

Helier Bowling, the Garden Goddess, with a bouquet of homegrown flowers.
Garden Goddess, Helier Bowling, is an expert in growing her own cutting garden. She shared with us her 5 top tips to sow, plan and prepare your own cutting garden so when it comes to planting out, it will flourish.

Cut and Come Again Annuals

Annuals are seeds that you sow and will flower in one year. When cared for correctly you can encourage the blooms to come back again and again, making them perfect for cutting gardens. These are commonly known as “cut and come again” flowers – where the more you cut them, the more they send up new flower shoots. To do so, cut the flower spike off just above a pair of leaves, and the flower will send growth hormones down to that point. Then between the steam and leaves, 2 new buds will grow.

Read the seed packet

It sounds obvious; however the seed packet is an instruction manual on the growing conditions for that plant. Helier explains that each seed needs different conditions to germinate, and she interprets the seed packets accordingly. For example, if it says the seed needs somewhere bright and warm, a greenhouse is the perfect spot.

Preparation is key

Preparing the soil is often the key to success. Helier weeds, rakes away stones and waters with nematodes. Nematodes are a biological treatment that organically keeps slugs away, whilst not harming the plants. Dissolvable into water, she waters 1 square meter of her beds at a time, twice a year.

Make use of your space

Helier advises making every space count. When her Narcissi are dying down, she plants some Calendula seedlings in the spaces, instead of cutting the foliage away. This retains the nutrients in the soil. She does the same with Tulips and Dahlias. Check out our April Growing Guide to find out what to sow now!

Incorporate different stages of development

When creating her bouquet, Helier enjoys playing with the lifecycles of a flower. She often will include the same flower in 3 or 4 different stages of development. From a bud, to full bloom, to a seed head – everything can be used. Helier also recommends utilising seed heads for wreath making and kindling!

Heliers Top 10 Cutting Garden Flowers

In her cutting garden, Helier looks for seeds that will easily germinate, are prolific flowerers, have a really long vase life, are “cut and come again”, and have a range of textures and heights. Here are her favourites;
1. Salvia Viridis – Blue Monday / Oxford Blue – (Clary Sage)
2. Calendula – Indian Prince
3. Ammi Majus / Ammi Visnaga
4. Scabious – Black Cat / Black Knight
5. Cornflowers – Blue Boy / Black Ball
6. Nigella – Love-in-a-mist
7. Antirrhinum – White Giant – (Snapdragon)
8. Cerinthe
9. Cosmos
10. Sweet Peas
If you want to join us at our next event, sign up to our Grow Club for early access.

Upcoming Events

Summer Open Event

Come along and gain inspiration for your greenhouse project. Have a look around our factory and discover how Alitex greenhouses are made.

Book Now

Share This Article

Customer Services

Request a brochure

Want to learn more about what we do and why we do it? Take a look at our award-winning range of greenhouses in our brochure.

Our services

Our services

If you can’t find your dream greenhouse in our National Trust range then we can offer a fully bespoke service from our experienced designers and engineers.

Greenhouse Mottisfont

Visit our show site and factory

We are located in the Hampshire town of Petersfield off the A3. Come see for yourself the Alitex difference. With structures for you to view and our factory tour – you’ll walk away with all you need to know.