potager for vegetables and cut flowers

Our ornamental potager at Toddington Manor is growing away now, after dire weather for the first six weeks or so. This is Rachaels (our WRAGS trainee) project this year, to design a planting plan, which was colour themed with rich purple and reds, along with creamy white cut flowers such as ammi major, antirhinuums, helianthus 'Vanilla Ice' and wonderfully scented sweet peas - 'Beaujolais' and 'Mrs Collier'.

Earlier on May 2nd, we organised a workday for the WFGA (Womens Farm and Gardens Association) to plant and sow our potager. Members pay a small fee to attend the workday, and have chance to be taught new skills, we manage to complete the sowing and planting in one day, and we all enjoy the cakes! The gardeners had started sowing seeds back in March in the greenhouse so a few plants have a head start before being planted out in modules. Others were sown direct into the prepared soil.

Rain followed the following day, and was followed by cold wet horrible weather for the next two weeks - not great conditions for seeds to germinate. The plants sat and sulked also, until the sun came out, and for four weeks, baked dry under the relentless hot sunshine.

Now... I know gardeners tend to moan about the weather (it is never quite right!) but it has been extremely unusual this year. The result is that a few seeds didn't make it, so have been resown and to add insult to injury, a rabbit seems to have made its way into the walled garden, and is enjoying the lettuce...

But nature has its own way of dealing with these trials, and although, as the photo shows, it is a little bare in places, it will catch up and be as beautiful as it was last year. The sweet peas , mange tout (the curiously named 'Ezethas Krombek Blauwschok'), ammi major , euphorbia oblongata are all flowering well, and as I write this, the vase of sweet peas smell wonderful!

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