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Creating a year round cutting garden

I have a small plot which I wish to convert to a cutting garden and am looking for ideas on how to plan this and improve my rather heavy clay soil.   I am in my 70's so do not want anything too labour intensive.


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,008

    Raised beds would be low-labour once built and filled, and would get around the clay soil issue.  Maybe you could get some help initially?

    Using some of the space for perennial plants and bulbs that can be left in the ground would be less work than sowing the whole lot with annuals and biennials every year, and the area can be mulched in autumn to keep weeds down.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,203
    Clay can be improved by regular mulching but raised beds would certainly be an easy answer and you can maybe get someone to build them to knee height for you and put a narrow plank across the top so you can sit while you work or admire your flowers.

    After that the choice of flowers will depend on your personal taste and local soil - tho that can be fixed when you fill the beds - and also climate and exposure.  I would look at seed websites for some ideas.   Some good quality spring bulbs such as those suggested by this site - 

    Traditionalists would probably suggest peonies, lilies, zinnias, sunflowers, dahlias and so on but increasingly the fashion is for less formal, more wildflower like bouquets so have a look at nigella, cosmos, achillea, Queen Anne's lace.   Don't forget foliage and stems for form and contrast so maybe a hosta or two, trailing, variegated ivy, a bright red stemmed cornus alba sibirica or mahogany cornus elegantissima and maybe some sea holly which will give good colour and form all year really.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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