High summer flowers from this Somerset flower farm
The arrival of high summer at this Somerset flower farm always takes me by surprise. We've only just got going with the roses, and the first crop of annuals in the tunnel are in full flower, still a gentle, early summer palette, soft pinks and pale blues and whites. And then suddenly I go out cutting and find there are dahlias in the field, there's bronze fennel, and rich, dark pink malope. And I can't resist cutting them.
Long experience has taught me that if something's coming into flower I should never, ever save it for another day. If I do it'll be bashed by the rain or lashed by the wind or scorched by the sun. Something coming into flower needs cutting, not only so that my customers and I can enjoy those gorgeous colours, but so that the side shoots shoot and they start to flower. The skill at this time of year is to water lots and feed so that my trusty flowering plants just keep on flowering.
These dahlias were left in the ground over winter and are now huge plants, bursting into flower. The new plants I only put in the ground a few weeks ago are much smaller, and won't flower for a little while. I'm pinching out their flowering buds to help the plants fatten up before they get into flowering. Dahlias are the most generous plants in my cut flower patch: they start to flower now, at the end of June, and won't stop until mid November. Even my roses, flowering now for about a fortnight, have a little rest in August (when I give them a good tidy up and a feed) before they come back and take us through till November with the dahlias. Dahlias are the hardest workers here, without a shadow of a doubt.
So here in this bouquet of our British flowers ready for flower delivery tomorrow, we have the first dahlias in a mix with malope, bronze fennel, agapanthus, scabious, clary sage, some fab hot pink cornflowers we've grown this year, dark red physocarpus, roses, sweet peas, and a great deal more. I love my cut flower patches, all three and a half acres of them, and I love them best when they give me a choice like this.