20 April 2022 By Daisy Faughnan
How to Grow a Cutting Garden with the Garden Goddess
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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)
10. Sweet Peas