Creating a garden area for picking is easy. There are many spring and summer flowering plants that are fast growing, love a sunny position and will last in a vase for up to a week and autumn is the perfect time to establish an area dedicated to the humble cut flower.

As a general guide picking varieties of flowers require a sunny position, at least 6 hours of sun is ideal. A picking garden doesn’t have to look pretty, do what suits the area. You can mix up the varieties, plant them in straight neat rows or even establish between existing plants. The key is to zone the plants; this means keeping the plants with the same watering needs together and reduces the chance of overwatering some of the hardier varieties of plants. Don’t solely rely on flowering varieties; there are many plants that are ideal for foliage displays.

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Tips to successfully planting in autumn

When creating any new plantings saving water is an absolute must and adding quality soil improvers into the soil, clay additives if your garden is primarily sand and wetting agents to ensure the water penetrates the root zone. Dig soil additives in to a depth of at least 30cm and don’t forget the blood and bone with Potash or Powerfeed Granular plant food. Cut flower varieties need to flower prolifically so a fertiliser specially formulated for flowering will be your key to success. Potassium is the nutrient that will intensify the perfume and colour of flowers, increase the number of flowers, strengthen stems of plants and increase the plants resistance to pests and diseases. Always finish off the garden area with a thick chunky mulch to a depth of about 100mm. Coarse mulches are ideal as they allow the water to soak into the soil, reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool so the plants don’t stress on those extra hot days.

As the plants grow the use of a liquid fertiliser regularly is an ideal solution for picking gardens to ensure an abundance of flowers for a long flowering season. Soluble liquid fertilisers when applied over the foliage of a plant are absorbed 400 times faster than if it was applied around the root system. Not only is this great for the plants, but it’s a great environmental solution as well. There’s minimal leaching of nutrients into the soil because they are absorbed so quickly and there’s almost no wastage.

Top Tip

To extend the life of cut flowers remember to cut early in the morning when temperatures are cool. Recut the stems again when arranging the plants and remove as much foliage as possible under the water line.

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