The summertime garden is all about abundance. Arms overflowing with flowers for bunching, and space cleared under the aircon to keep them cool!
When I think about the summer garden, I think oversized, prehistoric grandeur. Flowers in a summer garden should be allowed to grow over our heads.
If you want flowers in the spring time, plant in autumn. If you want flowers in the summer, plant now!
A summer garden needs the heat lovers - the zinnias, cosmos and amaranths of the world. Cut and come again flowers are invaluable in a cut flower garden. The zinnia queen lime series is a firm favourite of mine for its beautiful soft mix of lime, blush and pastel, with each flower a different shade to the next! At the moment we are also planting out celosia, orlaya, scabiosa, phlox, strawflowers, coreopsis, statice, sunflowers and dahlia tubers.
Dahlias are worth their weight in gold and more. For very little effort you are rewarded with the most awe-inspiring blooms of all colours, and a huge range of shapes and sizes flowering in summer and into autumn. Dahlia flowers last longest when freshly picked from your garden. Florists love local dahlias because these flowers do not travel well. Local is always best when it comes to flowers!
We grow cut flowers and oranges at Caffreys Flat on Biripi land alongside the Nowendoc River. The Little Orange Farm is in a renowned orange growing area, with our nearest town of Mount George being once famous for its orchards. These have since unfortunately been removed. Alongside our flower garden is the orange orchard consisting of roughly 250 trees, some of which were planted back in the 1950s.
Our area gets frost in winter, gusty winds in the springtime, and a rising river in autumn. Our off-season for the flowers is in the winter time when the oranges come into their own, followed in the spring time by their blossoms. We are growing our flowers roughly on a third of an acre.
I’ve fallen in love with the wild growing verbena and love using it in arrangements. The best part is that I don’t have to sow or plant a thing. Embrace what is growing wildly and try to start seeing a flower and not a 'weed'.
There is always a lot of forward planning to make sure we have plants ready to go in the ground at their ideal growing time. As they say, do something today that you will thank yourself for tomorrow! A Gardener’s List: Bed prep, sowing, transplanting, deadheading, mulching, planning. Smell the mint (especially if it’s apple mint!), make a bouquet to give to a friend, collect seed, take a photo, look closely, feel small.
Whilst it is important to be able to look ahead and plan and dream of that summer garden, it is just as important that I be present in the here and now – appreciating today’s flowery gifts. I never go to the garden without my camera phone and scissors.
There will always be something new and inspiring in a garden day after day and I never tire of bearing witness to it. I so enjoy sharing my excitement with others. Right now, the snapdragons are in full bloom, equally loved by me and the caterpillars. There are sporadic roses on the bushes offering us a teaser of what’s to come, and the corn cockle of pure white floats above it all like butterflies.