CUT FLOWER BORDERS

Annuals make excellent cut flowers and special borders in a ‘reserve’ part of the garden may be used for the purpose. The annuals are sown in rows 300 mm (1 ft) apart, the drills being 12 mm {\ in) deep. The seeds are sown thinly and thinning out is done as advised for annuals in the general border. Support may be given to the plants by pushing a bamboo into the end of each row and then by stretching string in such a way that it surrounds the plants from end to end. Two strings are usually used, one to go round the plants one on side, and one on the other side.

The flowers should be cut when about half developed, with as long a stem as possible. They should be gathered early in the morning or late in the evening, and placed immediately into deep receptacles containing water, being put in ‘up to their necks.’ If left like this for two or three hours they gorge themselves with moisture and thus last longer in the vases in consequence.

For cut flowers annuals are often sown in the autumn because naturally they are more valuable when produced early in the season. Those who live in the north can ensure that the annuals live through if they cover the rows with continuous cloches, and even those with southern gardens will find that they can have their cut flower annuals three weeks or so earlier if they cover with these simple ‘miniature greenhouses’ in January.

Annuals which have proved to be good cut flowers and which can be sown in the autumn are cornflower, candytuft, larkspur, calendula, and love in the mist. Other good cut flower annuals which are generally sown in the spring without cloche coverage are clarkia, godetia, annual gyp-sophila, the annual chrysanthemum, saponaria, and sweet sultan.

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