Cutting Patch: Into The Limelight

Last month I wrote about my allotment woes which had resulted in an accidental potato monoculture, but since then the allotment has been working hard, producing an exciting range of cut flowers by the bucketload. After an inspiring spring harvest of daffodils and tulips, I planted summer corms and tubers, and sowed a host of seeds with the intention of filling the house with brilliant colour and heady scent all summer long.


This lot had to come back from the lottie in a bucket!

Taking Stock

I planned the summer cutting patch way back in January and it’s been a tale of two halves – with the gladioli and dahlias providing vivid, deep blooms which have lasted well both in the ground and in vases, whilst some of my seeds failed to germinate or develop strongly. Notable exceptions are the cosmos, sweet peas, cerinthe, rudbeckia, zinnia, salvia, nasturtium, bells of Ireland and calendula  – all now flowering with relish and abandon in the allotment and garden. Less successful were the bunny tail grass, poppies, scarlet flax and hare’s ear, so I’ll be having another go with these from seed next year and trying to sow a little earlier to give me a second chance if there are germination issues.



I was impressed by the height and impact of this year’s gladioli

Bright colours – deep magenta, rich purples and zingy lime greens were my inspiration this year. To this I added some soft creams with Dahlia ‘Cafe au Lait’ and ‘Henriette’, the arresting yellow/orange of Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’ and the odd accidental bright orange Zinnia. These colours have given me lots of different combinations to play with – my favourites have all included the fresh limes of Gladioli ‘Green Star’, Zinnia ‘Benary’s Giant Lime’ and Moluccella laevis (Bells of Ireland), which act as a foil to the darker colours whilst adding a viridescent joy all of their own.


Favourite pink performances this year have included Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Double Click Cranberries’, Gladioli ‘Plum Tart’ and Dahlia ‘Ambition’ and ‘Downham Royal’.

The dahlia patch just gets better and better


The combination of Salvia viridis ‘Blue’ (actually a purple colour) with the lime gladioli is perhaps the display which has given me most pleasure this summer. It has a fresh spontaneity which lights up the kitchen and really brings the outside in. Here I’ve added the orange Dahlia ‘New Baby’, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ and Zinnia ‘Benary’s Giant Lime’. We also had our old favourite Gladioli ‘Flevo Cool’ – a dwarf gladioli which survived being potted up and moved earlier in the year, Gladioli ‘Purple Flora’ with rich deep purple flowers and another rogue zinnia!

Oranges, Reds and Yellows

I have always found myself tending towards blue, purple, cream and white colour palettes, but in the last couple of years I’ve been experimenting with the rusty oranges of Verbascum ‘Clementine’ and Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’, alongside Thunbergia alata, Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’ and Potentilla x tonguei. This year’s cutting patch has confirmed my new appreciation for brighter flowers and I now can’t imagine my garden without a mix of vibrant and more restrained colours. Highlights at the vivid end of the spectrum have included Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’ (definitely a keeper), Zinnia ‘Benary’s Giant Scarlet’, Argyranthemum ‘Grandaisy Pink Halo’ (more of a cherry red colour) and Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’, ‘Con Amore’, ‘Jowey Mirella’ and ‘Sam Hopkins’.


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New Plan(t)s

In January, I ended my post with the hope that the seeds, corms, tubers and bulbs I intended to sow and plant in the cutting patch would create a little magic during the year. The reality has exceeded all my expectations and I’ve really enjoyed learning more about growing annual flowers for cutting, to add to my love of growing edibles. Although I think my heart will always lie with perennials, edibles and plants which encourage wildlife into the garden, I do feel there’s a place for a cutting patch in my allotment next year – many of the flowers (like nasturtiums, calendula and cerinthe) have brought in the pollinators and the bright colours have lifted my heart. The cutting patch has provided flowers for my house and to give away to family and friends – bringing a little garden magic indoors. Now I’m starting to think about the mix for next year and I’m interested to know what has worked well for other gardeners.

What flowers have you grown this year which you wouldn’t be without? Are there any other green flowers/foliage which I should add to the limelight?

My go to suppliers for bulbs, tubers, corms and seeds:

Sarah Raven – lovely collections of bulbs and seeds – I particularly like the rich, deep Venetian collections

Suttons – wide selection of seeds, plants and tubers with really interesting varieties like Ranunculus ‘Mirabelle Vert Mix’

Special Plants Nursery – I always learn about new plants from the Special Plants Catalogue and the range of unusual flowers is breathtaking

If you’d like to follow my blog and read about my planning for next year’s cutting patch and a new perennial border over the autumn months, you can click below to subscribe, thanks very much and happy gardening…

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We aren’t the only ones enjoying the dahlias this year!!! 🙂

19 thoughts on “Cutting Patch: Into The Limelight

    • dogwooddays says:

      Hi Julieanne – yes they are ridiculously easy! Just plant the corm and before you know it the flowers are appearing. I’ve left my dwarf gladioli in my raised beds over winter with no trouble, but this is the first time I’ve grown full sized gladioli and I’ve been blown away by their splendour and beauty. Go for it!! 🙂

  1. Mrs B says:

    Your gladioli are amazing, I will definitely try those next year. There’s something so fresh about lime green flowers in with other colours, absolutely beautiful.

    • dogwooddays says:

      Hi Heather 😃 Yes, I was astounded at how strongly they grew and at the vibrant colours – they really needed no care at all, which was good as I’m always time poor!! I’d definitely recommend them – hope they perform as well for you next year as they did for me 😁

    • dogwooddays says:

      Hi Carol – thanks very much! I’m a bit crazy and always grow rather more than I intend, but just a few flower seeds can give loads of flowers for cutting. Even a container can provide several vases – although if they are anywhere near the windows I always find it hard to actually cut the flowers 😉

  2. debsrandomwritings says:

    Hi Nic, how wonderful to be able to grow such lovely flowers, even if they weren’t all as successful as you’d like. The climate here makes it difficult to grow flowers, luckily though my favourite flower is the sunflower and they do well here. I didn’t manage to grow any giant ones but did grow some smaller ones, that my husband ended up digging up (don’t ask, he’s not forgiven yet!).

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


  3. Caro says:

    I’m a new convert to gladioli since a few random corms came up at the allotment. The red ones will take some getting used to but there were some gorgeous salmon/apricot ones and pale lilac too. Fab! and I’m definitely putting more, planned, corms in next year. (Green Star – love, love!) A perennial I wouldn’t be without is scabious, great for cutting and great for bees. I grew the white and black ones from seed (Chiltern Seeds) last year not realising they were perennials – duh! Also Feverfew is also dual purpose but the downside is when it seeds itself everywhere!!

    • dogwooddays says:

      Hi Caro – I agree, gladioli are such good value for moment and time and Green Star is amazing! Scabious are a must for my cutting patch next year – love their compound flowers and the way they bring in the bees. Very best of luck for next year’s growing 😃

  4. oldhouseintheshires says:

    I had been planning a summer patch for cutting this year but didnt get on and plant early enough but your post has given me inspiration to get planning for next year now! I love the colours you have here…..I particularly love the Bells of Ireland and the Gladioli.
    Thank you for linking for #MyGloriousgardens this month. I have so enjoyed reading this post.
    I will post a round-up post soon. xx

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