July has arrived, bringing joy and anticipation to us gardeners as we embrace the early days of summer. It’s a time for celebration and appreciation as we begin to reap the rewards of our hard work. The vegetable patch is yielding its bountiful produce, the flowers are in full bloom, and our sun-kissed skin is evidence of our dedicated efforts.
Amidst the abundance of the garden, it’s natural to feel a sense of overwhelmed with the tasks that lie ahead. In addition to our regular duties, we now have to harvest, condition, arrange, and possibly even sell our flowers. But fear not, for today’s newsletter will break down everything you should do in July for a thriving cut flower garden.
Jobs completed in June
✔️ Plant out half-hardy annuals and dahlias
✔️ Sow biennals for early spring blooms
✔️ Keep on top of the weeds
✔️ Deadhead all the early blooms
✔️ Cut back perennials after flowering for another flush of flowers later
Your July tasks
July is an awkward time for us gardeners: it doesn’t possess the bustling energy of early spring when tending to seedlings is paramount, nor does it bring forth an abundance of blooms just yet. However, amidst the prevailing holiday atmosphere, there are still important tasks to undertake in the garden.
Flower of the month:
Today, I want to talk more about cosmos, one of my favourite cut flowers. An annual, it will start flowering by late June or early July and, if taken care of, will bloom until the first frost. Cosmos are undeniably generous in nature. Each year, I find myself growing an excess of plants, unsure of what to do with the abundance of blossoms. However, I simply cannot resist these delicate flowers and make the same mistake repeatedly.
When selecting the perfect cosmos, consider its size. Like many flowers, you’ll find both giant and dwarf varieties. For cut flower purposes, I prefer using giant cosmos due to their longer stems, although they require staking and support. Dwarf varieties work wonderfully in pots and containers.
Second, think of the colour palette: cosmos come in a wide array of hues, offering you a plethora of options to choose from. Personally, I enjoy growing a mix of colours, allocating around 40% to white cosmos (which serve as fillers in bouquets), and dividing the remaining 60% between pink, yellow, and orange-toned flowers.
Cosmos are often mostly known for their simple, pastoral appearance but there are out there some truly magical varieties. I’ve listed some of my favourites below:
Cosmos flowers are incredibly beginner-friendly and a breeze to grow. For optimal results, sow the seeds successively in seed trays indoors, under cover, starting in early March. Once they have developed their first set of leaves, transplant them into individual pots. When the risk of frost has passed, plant them in a sunny location. Once they start thriving, you’ll need to:
Sadly, cosmos do not dry well: due to their delicate nature, the petals will tend to fall off after a few days. That being said, some varieties will press nicely when handled delicately.
Book of the month: On Flowers, Amy Merrick
“On Flowers” is not a comprehensive guide that will impart all the knowledge necessary to cultivate the most productive flower garden. However, it serves an equally, if not more, significant purpose: it celebrates the essence of living a life intertwined with flowers. It invites us to cherish the moments spent tending to our gardens, foraging in the hedgerows, stumbling upon a hollyhock sprouting from a crack in the pavement, or simply inhaling the fragrant aroma of roses. The book showcases flowers in all their diverse shapes and forms, presenting artistic arrangements, poetic verses, and personal reflections.
I hold great affection for this book because it serves as a poignant reminder of why I love flowers so much. If you find yourself in need of a gentle nudge to recall why you invest substantial time, energy, and resources into your cherished flower patch, then this book is for you.