Bringing The Cutting Patch To Life
Here at Bramble & Wild, we (read; my mum,) have been growing our own dahlias, David Austin roses, sweetpeas and foxgloves for a while. We mainly use these for weddings and events and if you’re lucky enough to swing by on a certain day late summer, you’ll scoop yourself an armful of freshly cut dahlias for just a few pounds.
My parents, avid gardeners, bought an old nursery a few years ago so theres lots of lovely land for flowers and copious hedges for cutting, but growing is time consuming and I think they definitely prefer their vegetables! Mum will keep growing the sweetpeas for us as that’s where our polytunnel is, but since Jim & I moved home, we have gained more space and with it, my grandads old garden. A plot of land I affectionately name in my head ‘The Reg Patch.’ A day didn’t go by where he wasn’t tending to some vegetable or other, drawing up water from the well or pottering in his greenhouse. However, time moves on and this poor patch of beautifully tilled earth became invaded with marauding nettles, vicious brambles and an under layer of disappointing strawberry.
We did attack it from time to time, even before we lived here, but attempting to smother the weeds in carpet was no match for ten years of growth. (We’re determined not to use weed killer here!!) We should have realised that a full on weed invasion and wedding season were never going to mix. Cue the lovely chaps at Sibley Landscapes, who came to the rescue and cleared the whole plot, rotavating as they went.
Now we have a beautifully blank canvas, bar a large rosemary, a few gooseberry and redcurrant bushes and six unruly apple trees. We’re unlucky in the sense that the patch isn’t actually attached to our house, so there’s no running water, but there is a well and I’ve saved the bath we ripped out of our bathroom to hold the water in whilst it warms up for the plants. There used to be a gorgeous metal trough for this… but if you’ve been in our shop, you’ve probably noticed that it’s now our sink! The old greenhouse sadly fell into such disrepair that it was waiting to shatter into bits, so we’re on the hunt for a second hand bargain.
So today, the sun is shining and I’m raring to get going, but I have to admit that the whole thing is daunting me! It’s not a huge space but I can see the potential and I don’t want to waste it, or grow things that we eventually don’t use. Time is too precious to waste here at B&W. I have pieces of paper, sketches and scribbles all around me as I try to work out the best size for beds, placement for favourites and how to keep two dogs from getting onto the road which edges the garden. However, all my doubts aside, I know that I just need to jump in and get started – I’m keeping all fingers and toes crossed for more days like this, dry and crisp. We live on the Somerset Levels and our view is currently of temporary lakes rather than fields. Although the cutting garden is raised and won’t flood, it’s pretty soggy.
Self doubt aside, I do know that the beds will be 3ft wide and edged with tanalised timber. I’m not creating raised beds because the soil is already so good, but I know myself and I’ll need compartments to work in so it doesn’t overwhelm me. Due to the seed bank already hiding in the soil, I think the paths will have to be weed proofed and then finished with wood chip when funds allow. I also know that the beds will be 3ft wide so that we can reach over to the middle from both sides without standing on the soil and with enough space between them for a wheelbarrow or flower picking trolly. A lovely lady a few doors up has plenty of horse manure, so I’ll get a heap of that in as soon as possible to start maturing too.
My next plan is to work on what to grow. I’m a seed hoarder but terrible at actually planting them, so will be sorting through those imminently and seeing whats usable. I know there’s cosmos, nigella and ammi that we definitely want to grow again, as well as decorative gourds and pumpkins for the autumn – first for display, then for eating! The roses will be brought over here as soon as the beds are done so they can get nicely bedded in before we want them again – but we will probably only move half this year, just incase their flowering isn’t as good as usual.
We like to grow lots of dahlias because they’re easy and they don’t travel well as imports – previously we have always left them in the ground to overwinter, so we’ll need to dig up what we have and see what we can separate. I will, of course, be buying more and will attend to the shopping basket this afternoon! I’ll let you know what we choose for 2020. I’m always oggling Floret’s gorgeous dahlia selection, but it can be hard to find a lot of her varieties here in the UK and I don’t really like the idea of those air miles for some tubers! As usual, I had forgotten the foliage, which is crazy because I LOVE foliage! There’s a snowball viburnum waiting to go into the ground by my back door, but we’ll also be getting some pittosporums, herbs, spireas and other shrubs for our taller displays.
I will be updating our journey on the blog as we go, but you can also take a look at our instagram where we have a highlight called ‘garden’ so you can see more photos as it comes along!