the best laid plans…

Last year we decided to add a bed of flowers to the end of the veg patch, just for cutting.

I imagined I’d be gathering armfuls all summer long. In fact, I thought we’d have so many that I’d be able to leave surprise bunches on friends’ doorsteps like some sort of benevolent flower fairy.

picked in the rain, cottage garden, gardening blog

I wasn’t quite naive enough to think I could blithely scatter seeds and leave them to their own devices. Instead I sought advice from traditional cut flower grower Benjamin Ranyard of Higgledy Garden. His website is packed with tips, and his seeds are some of the most reliable I have ever grown.

My plan was to start early, sowing seeds in our unheated greenhouse. Then I’d acclimatise the young plants to go out in May. I hoped we’d be picking by the end of June.

At one time I had hundreds of happy little seedlings coming on. Didiscus blue lace, ammi majus, cleome, gaillardia, achillea, larkspur, consolida… I wondered what I’d do with all the leftover plants that we wouldn’t have room for.

Little did I know that the garden would get besieged by rabbits this year. Or that I wouldn’t pick a single flower from the cutting patch.

cutting garden, cottage garden, gardening blog

this is as good as it got in the cutting patch

Only the calendula and borage  I interspersed with the veg to help attract pollinators really thrived. There are a couple of sad-looking earthwalker sunflowers but the cleome (pink queen) look quite stunning. One or two cosmos, centaurea and rudbeckia have soldiered on, despite being nibbled within an inch of their lives.

The truth is, I lost heart after so many plants were eaten rabbits. What’s left has pretty much fended for itself since June, battling against the weeds and a rampant squash plant. So I’m leaving the few valiant flowers for the butteries and bees.



11 thoughts on “the best laid plans…

  1. Sorry to hear about your cutting garden (or lack thereof.) I promised the Mrs. a cutting garden this year but it turned out to be a tomato patch…the best laid plans…But as every gardener knows, there’s always next year! 😉

    • Thanks Benjamin. Yes, I’m already planning for next year – at least I’ve learnt which plants are least attractive to rabbits. Hope your wife gets a cutting garden next year too!

    • Ooh, thank you for the link! There are definitely some plants that the rabbits don’t seem to like at all, so a barrier of those might just do the trick!

  2. Your photo still looks lovely despite the Rabbit damage, that must of been really frustrating. I planned a cutting garden and then planted it with potatoes. Hope you find a way to keep the rabbits out next year.

    • Thanks Julie. It was a bit frustrating – I just felt like I was feeding the rabbits at one point in the spring. They had loads of our veg too. I think we’re going to try a different spot for a cutting patch next year.

  3. What a shame; we all think we want wildlife in the garden but when it comes we often don’t like the consequences! what’s left looks pretty, I hope you’ll try again next year.

  4. My mother is a dedicated gardener who has always lived in a well-populated suburban area. When they moved into a retirement cottage, she soon learned deer and rabbits loved to nibble on her flowers.

    • Thank you for commenting, and I hope your mother enjoys her wild visitors, despite the nibbling. A few miles from where we live some gardens occasionally get trashed by wild boar, so I should count my blessings really.

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