Surprising things happened this summer in front of the cottage.
I thought, for the sake of the neighbours, to have my number one goal with the cottage and the plot to make things nicer looking in front of the cottage. I had two metres in depht and the whole widht of the plot (12.5m) to cope with and all I had was gravel/clay about one metre deep. So I thought an easy way out and built raised beds. I wanted to have them big and robust and went for the thickest wood I could afford. I had only hand tools available so the construction is very simple. All we used was saw, power drill and a hammer. I lined them with scrap plastic. They were ready in no time and I filled them with huge amount of compost, clay, leaf mould and proper soil. Wheelbarrowing back and forth.
First I put in the perennials that my neigbour had given and then filled in the gaps with annual flower seeds. The seeds were last year´s stock and quite many warned me that this kind of raised bed would dry out so easily that growing annuals would be hard. Well, it wasn´t. The weather was nice and damp all the summer… And in six weeks or so things started looking lush and green. Here´s the left flower bed with centaurea, poppies, cosmos, nasturtium, irisis, alchemilla, aconitum, chives, lovage, thyme, etc.
I got to admit I even fell for the centaurea that I had previously disliked. The purple and white ones were particularly beautiful.
But cosmos and alchemilla are my favourites of this batch, along with dahlias. It seems I have super-traditional taste with flowers. I guess it´s because I my mum is a florist and she was also an avid gardener in the 80´s and 90´s (me alongside her). She would plant totally different varieties and I sort of skip her generation of flowers and go back one generation and look for something else.
Here´s one the cosmos varietes I grew and it has given weeks of continuous flowers. The petals are very beautiful, almost like strokes of paint. I will definitely grow cosmos next year in larger quantities.
Accidentally this flower patch had flowers that would complement each other quite well. When centaureas were fading away the sunflowers came out and started filling in the gaps. Also calendula would pop out in strangest places because it had selfseeded last year.
I didn´t quite nail it with the height of the flowers though. For some reason the small pompom dahlia grew tallest and some plants were pushed away by bigger ones. I also planted strawberries, kale and broad beans because I had seeds and seedlings. Some gave crop but other´s didn´t.
This pompom dahlia is an absolute beauty. I will dig it´s bulb up and try to revive it next year. With the two variety of dahlias I grew this year has inspired me to plan a huge flower patch on the other side of the plot that would give chance to grow more of them.
And finally Tati has also settled in. Last year he was a little bit lost and exhausted by the cottage living but he´s found spots to relax. One of those spots is looking in to the front. He can sit for hours looking at the landscape and people etc. And the best part, he won´t leave without permission. I thought we would desperately need fences and gates but somehow he worked out the borders himself.
And here´s the other dahlia variety I grew. I must admit I don´t like this as much…
The sunflowers look like they belong in front of the cottage. They are not my favourite flowers either but I have admit that the look they have fits so well that I will give them a chance next year too.
All in all with these flower patches I think I have found the style I will continue with. A big mess of various unplanned surprises keeps things interesting, what do you think?