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. Despite 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??