For more on growing cut flowers for fun, for weddings and special events, and even how to be an artisan flower farmer like me, come on a workshop here at Common Farm Flowers near Bruton in Somerset. 

If you can't come on a workshop here to learn more then I thought I'd start the gardening year on the blog with a few tips for making your seed order for your cut flower patch this 2016.

So here are my very favourite tips for managing the ordering and sowing of your flower seeds - which will hopefully see you grow a very successful cut flower patch this year. 

  • Don't order too early. Order too early and you'll be tempted to sow seed too early. Don't plan to sow seed until 15th February when we have ten hours daylight a day, and any seed sown then will quickly catch up with seed sown now (early Jan,) and be stronger, straighter, and a better colour for not reaching for the pale, mid winter light.
  • Take all the seed you have left over from last year and lay it out in alphabetical order. Throw away anything very old or damp feeling. Most seed packets have sell-by dates on them. If you keep seed in an airtight container at a constant temperature between about 4 and 9 degrees celsius they'll be fine for years, but few people do...
  • Make a list of what you have and put your seed back in its box, still in alphabetical order, and perhaps with dividers labeled 'Hardy Annuals,' 'Tender Annuals' etc. Only THEN allow yourself to look at the seed catalogues.
  • Order seed on line direct from the supplier. It will be fresher and have been kept in much better conditions than seed kept in bright light in greenhouse conditions at your local garden centre. You'll also have a MUCH wider choice.
  • Have a list to hand of the essentials, the must haves, the couldn't do withouts - mine, eg, would include sweet peas, cosmos, bells of Ireland, certain small-headed sunflowers...
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Having a budget will not only stop you spending too much, but also stop you buying too much seed for you to deal with in a year. Ideally you'll use up all your seed each year - if you have a small cut flower patch it might be worth getting together with a few friends and ordering seed together so that you can all use the seed up and buy fresh for next year.
  • Make a Pinterest board, or a scrap book layout of pictures of the flowers the seed your ordering will grow into. This way you can see that you're growing flowers which will look lovely together, have interesting textures and shapes as well as colours together: after all, you're not just growing a garden, but planting a cut flower patch means you're also growing bouquets.
  • Good luck and happy gardening.

Meanwhile, if you are joining us at Common Farm Flowers for a workshop then you might be wondering where to stay? For those coming from a distance (this year so far we have people booked in from Paris, Ireland, Scotland and even one who plans to farm flowers in the USA!) there are a great many lovely places to stay and eat nearby which we can recommend. See At The Chapel, the Roth Bar, The Oak Bruton, The Hunter's Lodge, and lots of lovely Bruton and Wincanton Air B&Bs.