It’s funny to think when I first got my allotment I was all about the vegetables… I left one tiny space next to my shed to grow a few cut flowers before changing my mind and making a pond instead! Since then I’ve realised how important it is to incorporate flowers into your allotment and all the benefits you will get from growing them. Not only do they bring the bees, butterflies and insects to the plot and feed them as well, but flowers also make my heart swell inside and there’s nothing better than picking your own bouquet to display in the house.
The flower patch has had a bit of an update and it’s one of the areas I’m most excited about on the plot. The original plan for this area was to have a flower border with a wild almost cottage theme to it but over the past year my vision has changed. The border will remain but I’ll be moving all the perennial flowers over to the wildlife area and growing rows of annual cut flowers there instead. Not that all the perennials will be going, the row of hollyhocks and fox gloves will be staying and my favourite Verbena Bonariensis will be dotted around at the back of the border. There’s a globe artichoke in the furthest corner and some established fennel growing by the trough as well as a some ‘Giganteum’ allium bulbs and a dwarf lavender hedge leading into the flower patch. I’m also pleased to announce that Dahlias will be introduced to plot 15c as I ordered my chosen three back in November; Cafe au Lait, Polventon Kristobel and Labyrinth. I’m awaiting their delivery but I am so excited to see these bloom.
I’ve narrowed the rows of annuals I’ll be growing down to my all time favourites, there’s some old timers as well as some new varieties mixed in too. Cosmos, Scabious, Zinnias, Poppies, Honesty, Ammi Majus and dwarf Sunflowers will all be used as cut flowers as well as rows of Calendula and Feverfew to be used as edible herbs. I’ll be using the dried seed pods from the Honesty, Poppies and Scabious ‘Sternkugal’ as decoration because I am simply love having them in the house all Winter long! Plus there’s not forgetting the sweet peas that will be growing up the archway and filling the house with beautifully scented blooms throughout Summer.
I won’t go into the trough too much as I have blogged about it previously, but I’m sure looking forward to Spring when all the tulips, narcissis and ranunculus will be in bloom!
The Wildlife patch is going back to basics and back to what it should actually be, for the wildlife (and a little tiny bit for me I guess!) The area is mainly made up of a pond which just so happens to be one of the best features on my allotment, I am so glad I decided to build it and I’m sure the frogs are glad too! It needs a good tidy up but inside are two flowers, a water iris and a water forget me not which the frogs and insects adore. Perennial flowers and various herbs will be planted around the edge with a bug hotel erected on the corner for the insects. Most of the perennials are evergreen so will provide much needed shelter for the frogs to hide in if needed, they especially love the Carew grass. There’s a rose climbing up the side of the shed and another rose bush infront of that, I’ll be planting some chives underneath this rose and some spearmint in a tub by the shed. Not forgetting the hardy ‘Flame’ grapevine climbing the side of the fruitcage… It’s currently 3 years old and growing well but I won’t be getting any harvests from it for a couple more years yet. The wait is going to be worth it though!
This year I’ll also be exploring my newest passion and that is herbs and edible flowers, a venture which I am so excited about! I’ve been enjoying chamomile tea for the past 6 months now and I’m currently really getting into herbal tea’s and aromatherapy. I find the natural health benefits that herbs and edible flowers produce so fascinating and can’t wait to explore them further by making my own herbal teas as well as beauty and cleaning products.
I sat down one evening and flicked through a few of my favourite books to not only get inspiration but to make a list of the herbs that I wanted to grow specifically to make certain things with. Once I had narrowed down the list I had to find space on the allotment to fit them all in and somehow I managed it! The majority of them will be going in containers dotted around the plot, herbs like skullcap, mint and lemon balm are very invasive so planting them in a pot made sense. A large rosemary bush will be planted behind the apple tree, dill and nsaturtiums will be planted amongst the brassica bed and the rest will be planted in the flower patch and wildlife area. Plus I’ll be making full use of the edible flowers which I’m already growing such as sunflowers, calendula, rose and hollyhock as well the leaves from my raspberry canes!
Last but not least there’s the allotment care patch, a rather new area on the allotment but one which will hopefully do wonders for the whole plot. I’ll be building a manure bin with a shelf on top to hold all my homemade fertiliser tubs and there’s a comfrey plant growing happily in the far corner. A large galvanised water tank sits next to the shed ready to use to water the plot with, all I need to do is attach the guttering to the shed… Sunflowers will grace the area with their sunny faces and underneath them 3 rhubarb crowns will take it in turns to be forced, although I have yet to pick a variety out yet! The last thing that will be squeezed into this area is an old feeding trough full with chamomile just to fuel my current tea obsession and some odd containers containing herbs such as Skullcap, Sage and Lemon Balm.
I am so unbelievably excited about my little cut flower and herb adventure this year and I really hope these plans come true. I’ll be sure to share every step of the way with you all though!
P.s Head on over to the Youtube channel to watch me go through the plan in person: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTUnk08GMKc&t=25s
Here’s the list of flowers and herbs I’ll be growing this year:
- Scabious – Black Knight
- Scabious – Sternkugal
- Zinnia – Zinderella Peach
- Zinnia – Queen Red Lime
- Cosmos – Xanthos
- Cosmos – Mixed
- Sunflower – Mongolian Giant
- Sunflower – Sonja
- Calendula – Indian Prince
- Calendula – Touch of Red Buff
- Ammi Majus
- Lunaria Annua (Honesty) – Alba
- Papaver Somniferum (Poppy) – Lauren’s Grape
- Papaver Somniferum (Poppy) – Lilac Peony
- Dahlia – Cafe Au Lait
- Dahlia – Labyrinth
- Dahlia – Polventon Kristobel
- Sweet Peas – Iris, Just Julia and April in Paris
- Fox Gloves
- Verbena Bonariensis
- Allium – Sphaerolephalon
- Allium – Gigantium
- Tulips – Hocus Pocus, Hermitage, Green Bizarre, Queen of the Night, Ice Cream, Brownie, Spring Green and La Belle Epoque
- Ranunculus – Mixed
- Narcissus – Cheerfulness, My Story and Sophie Girl
- Crocus – Firefly
- Rose – Katie’s rose
- Climbing Rose – Penny Lane
- Cirsium Rivulare Atropurpureum
- Anemone – September Charm
- Water Iris – Blue Flag
- Water Forget me not
- Calendula – Indian Prince and Touch of Red Buff
- Garlic Chives
- Alchemilla Mollis (Lady’s Mantle)
- Lemon Balm
- Tanacetum Parthenium (Feverfew)
- Scutellaria Lateriflora (Skullcap)