So my plan was to document my cutting garden for a year, starting in January. We had quite a rainy January and I let the entire month go by without a single note or picture to... the start of tulip and ranunculus foliage emerging from the beneath the soil. Windowsills full of seedlings getting a head start in my light-filled studio/basement. And clematis vines, honeysuckle vines, and rose bushes beginning to bud with new leaves. Honestly, these first signs of the abundance to come are very exciting for a gardener/ floral designer, but don't make for inspiring images.
There are two exceptions to this statement that gardens aren't photogenic in January in Seattle- the hellebore and the flowering quince. These two lovelies began to bloom in mid- January.
It is now mid-February and yesterday, as I was digging some holes to plant new bare root David Austin rose (shown below), I broke a sweat! Yahoo! Days are a wee bit longer and the soil is warming, encouraging perennials that overwintered outside to hurry along.
At the end of this month (next week, I guess) I will be getting my seedlings ready to plant outside by giving them a bit of hardening time outside a few hours a day. Right now they sit inside on 70 degree heating pads to stimulate growth. The varieties I am attempting to start from seed this year are sweet peas- Blue Vein, Oban Bay, Mollie Rilstone, blue shift, sunflowers- peach passion, chocolate cherry, moulin rouge, alpine strawberries- mignonette and heirloom pineapple, cosmos- double click, psyche white, seashell, nigella- Miss Jekyll, bunny tails grass, nasturtium- gleam salmon, blue delphinium, and stock.
I think everyone should have a cutting garden and starting it from seed, tuber, bare root, and bulb is cheaper and more satisfying (just by a little) than buying mature plants in the nursery. Growing, rather than buying builds anticipation like you wouldn't believe and teaches you that attending to, caring for, and being patient in the world of flowers will give back tenfold by inspiring you everyday.
If you are thinking about starting your own cutting garden from scratch, I suggest visiting what I believe to be the best place online to buy seeds and tubers, Floret Flower Farm Shop. Erin Benzakein is a flower farmer here in Washington. She produces an abundance of some of the best blooms found in the country on her 2 1/2 acre rented land. This year she introduced a tuber and seed shop. She has absolutely nailed it with building a beautifully photographed, inspiring site of a well-curated choices. Her shop feels fresh and new compared to the Burpee's and such out there.
I will be sharing the birth, life, and death of my garden over the next 11 months. I would love to see pictures of your garden.
Peace, love, and happiness, my friends.