Foxgloves as a cut flower

Foxgloves as a cut flower are absolutel winners: tall, graceful, velvety stems, speckled fairy hat flowers, and flowering from mid may and through early June.  They've given us almost a month of total joy and nearly all of our bouquets over the past few weeks have had foxgloves in them.  

I sow them now to flower next season, and their velvety rosettes of leaves are deeply reassuring as they settle in through the summer, and hug the ground all winter, ready to shoot incredibly quickly next May.  They reassure me that there will be a garden next summer. that we will have flowers next year.  In these uncertain political times this reassurance has a brilliantly calming effect on me.  Whatever happens, there will be foxgloves.

You may not have space to sow foxgloves and other biennials direct in the soil at this stage of the summer, but it's worth sowing a few seeds in modules and protecting them while they germinate, pricking them out into small pots, and keeping them watered until you clear space in the autumn.  I have foxgloves, sweet william, Canterbury bells, sweet rocket, honesty, wallflowers and thrift to sow now, tricking these flowers by sowing them now, into flowering next yer.  Biennials are so called because usually they seed themselves, and then don't flower for twenty four months.  By sowing them now, before their own seed is ripe enough to sow itself, we can trick them into flowering in twelve months time.  And by sowing them now we've stolen a march on next year's cut flower garden, getting ahead, and knowing there'll be flowers throughout the spring and early summer because we've been so organised.  

For more on growing cut flowers for pleasure, or for profit, come on one of our cut flower patch workshops, or perhaps on one of our flower farming workshops.  I saw two of my previous students at a talk I gave in Wells yesterday, and both of them are pleased with their successes, having applied my advice to their plots in very different ways, but both creating successful small flower farms in their own ways.