January is a time of reflection but and when I think back to the previous growing season, I have to admit, I was feeling a bit underwhelmed. I had memories of scorched sweet pea seedlings due to an overly hot, late spring and then a second batch of sweet peas that just didn't take off as the summer was a scorcher and dry to boot. The dahlias were very slow to flower and suffered in the heat, only really flowering well once we were into mid-September. The cornflowers and Ammi majus were short and lack-lustre, sulking in the record-breaking temperatures.

So, it was with trepidation that I looked back through my photos taken of the garden and vases of flowers cut from it. I didn't have to worry - all through the year there were an abundance of flowers to cut (there are at least 2 photos for each month of the year). Ok, so all the tulips flowered during the same 2-3 weeks of the late spring but flower they did and even the lack of stalwart favourites sweetpeas and cornflowers, there were plenty of other flowers to be picked. The Cosmos being a prime example of a flower that didn't mind the heat and drought.

I have already bought most of my flower seed for the coming year, although I am sure I will be tempted into making an impulse buy after flicking through all the flower seed catalogues that have been dropping on the doormat lately.

I have decided not to grow Zinnias this year as I have found, that however I grow them (in pots or direct-sown) they simply don't produce enough flowers from each plant for the space that they take up in my cutting garden. In their place, I plan to grow extra strawflowers (Helichrysum) and a wider variety of colours of larkspur which keep their colour so well when pressed.

This year, we have a newly acquired allotment and although I have promised my husband that I won't fill it with flowers, there is surely some space for some tulips and a row of dahlias in amongst the vegetables??

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