Don and I worked like crazy in November and January, so now we can rest a little and think about what will be blooming for us in the next few months. I’m taking my own advice about not getting carried away in winter - I’m not tidying things in the garden. I’m leaving dead growth on the perennials for frost protection and I’m resting in the house while things grow slowly in the wet cool weather. More about that in another post here. I have to be careful not to hurt my back after all the planting we did between Thanksgiving and Christmas: tulips, ranunculus, stock, snapdragons, sweet peas and a few new varieties of daffodils.
Daffodils will start our flower year, followed by early tulips. I wish I had planted anemones for this year, but I didn’t have the energy or the space for them. We still have a few sprouting where we planted a row two years ago, so those will get used in early bouquets.
Our tulips this year include Columbus, Exotic Emperor, Blue Diamond and White Marvel. We’ll also have assorted singles in pastel shades, and a few bright reds. The photos below are from 2023, but for 2024 we'll have these varieties plus a few new ones.
Top row: Early pastel single tulips, 'Blue Diamond' double tulip
Bottom row: 'Columbus' and 'Parrot King'
I’m trying mustard as a cover crop in one of our main growing beds. I’ll let it flower but not go to seed. I put a row of Iceland poppy plugs along the outside of the bed, and I think it’s going to look gorgeous for a few short weeks when both crops are in bloom. Yellow mustard with a border of white Iceland poppies – can’t wait!
I seeded pansies and calendulas in a few terracotta pots for us to enjoy in January – those are starting to bloom now, and they make a bright spot on our patio. Pansies and calendula are easy and reliable from seed; it’s not too late to try them for your own garden or in a few pots near your door where you can enjoy them every day.
Don planted plugs of white stock in the field he shares with Grace Hope Flowers, and by late April those should be ready to harvest. The scent of stock is beautiful – one of my favorite fragrances in the garden.
In late February it will be time to seed any of our summer crops that can’t be direct seeded; by mid-April our beds will be changed over to summer-blooming babies. Zinnias and marigolds will be direct seeded, while scabiosa, strawflower and statice will be grown enough in their seed trays to be planted outside at the same time.
Our ranunculus will probably be in bloom by late April; I pre-sprouted them for two weeks before planting them in mid-December.
A few of our favorites from past years; some of these will be back again in 2024. Top row: tulips in different forms; middle row: daffodils, purple Agrostemma, sweet peas. Bottom row: ranunculua in a bouquet and one pink ruffled ranunculus on its own.