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Winter that is.

Snow

I know announcing that winter’s here in January isn’t really news.  It might have made the front pages of the papers, but cold weather in the middle of winter shouldn’t be a surprise.  It does look pretty though.

Snow on Church Hill

While the garden’s covered in snow, I’m off indoors to get hot mug of coffee and make some plans for the spring.  Plans for more flowers… and not just any old flowers, but nectar-rich, bumblebee-attracting annual flowers.

Bumblebee on sunflower

A few years ago, I was growing cut flowers to sell and the garden looked something like this –

Cut flowers

Most of the cut flower area is now given over to vegetables, while the rest of it has turned into an area of rough grass liberally sprinkled with every weed known to man.  This year that I’m going to reclaim this is the part of the garden and sow or plant it with lots of annuals to make a cut flower ‘meadow’.  Calling it a meadow means that I’ll be able to overlook the ‘wildflowers’ (or weeds, depending on how you look at them) that will no doubt spring up among the planned flowers.  And by growing flowers that are good for cutting, the area will serve two purposes – providing lots of nectar and pollen to attract hoards of insects into the garden, and producing flowers for home and to give away.

Hoverfly on calendual

I want to get maximum insect value from the flowers, so they’ll all be single, simple varieties, the kinds that produce lots of nectar.  Regular dead-heading and growing a range of different flowers should ensure a long nectar season, as well as interesting combinations for picking.  The list so far includes cornflowers, scabious, cosmos, calendula, single dahlias, sweet peas, nigella, salvias and sunflowers.  Have I missed anything?

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