• Anna Tarrant

Cottage Gardens Start in the Winter

Winter is here, but it's a really busy time for farmers, flower farmers that is. How do we get those gorgeous sweet peas and anemone blooms in the spring? Well, it was a big learning curve, and here's how I figured it out. Long ago, I yearned to be able to grow delphinium in the South, and I never could. My husband was in the Air Force, and we moved to Colorado where I could grow it and lupine and hollyhock and all the amazing cottage garden flowers. I was in heaven! After many years, I now know how to grow a beautiful English garden in the South, and I'm in heaven again. I wish someone had written a book about how it's done, but I learned through trial and error, the very hard way.

Early on in my errant ways, I always started my seeds early in January and planted out. Everything started blooming right before the heat arrived, and I only had about one or two weeks of bloom before everything died. Now, I plant plugs in the fall, around October, and they get established early on before the winter cold. Voila! It works. Most of our winter days are mild, and if we have a frost, I cover everything. We have a hoop house, so that's easier for me, but we don't have room for all our flowers, so we use frost cloth to keep them warm during the coldest times. You can do that too! We're growing delphinium, campanula, foxglove, poppies and sweet peas, all cool weather lovers. They're doing great, and I can't wait for our customers to see them in the spring bouquets.

From winter, spring comes, and it's starting below with a tiny ranunculus that's going to be gorgeous.

More to come on the blooming!!!

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