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The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

Written by Alyson Williams.

Best read in a cosy chair in the depths of winter, “The Cut Flower Patch” by Louise Curley is a feast for the eye.

Given my own tentative plans to start a cut flower patch next year, I was pleased to learn what she had to say. Curley’s aim is to demonstrate how a garden can be designed to produce flowers for cutting throughout the seasons. As a very amateur gardener (repeat, very), I found it interesting to realise what is probably obvious to others – not all flowers can be cut and plopped into a jar on the kitchen window – what looks lovely in the ground doesn’t necessarily look good in a vase, hence the abject failure of the lilac blooms I picked last week! Talking us through buying the right plants and bulbs, Curley has much to say about the complete process of creating your own jewel like flower compositions for your house. The photographs alone make the thought of buying flowers from a supermarket a particularly sad thought…

The book sections are named:
· Planning a cutting patch
· Annuals and biennials
· Bulbs, corms and tubers
· Foliage and fillers
· Making your cutting patch
· Caring for your patch
· Cutting time
· Showing off
· Rich pickings
· A year on the patch (including a sowing and planting calendar)

My particularly favourite section was “Showing Off”. In it, she shows us creative ways of displaying the blooms that make the best visual statement of their qualities. There are romantic emblems of summer days full of colour and vitality and then the display of dried seed heads that I thought were gorgeous and somewhat nostalgic of times past; they spoke of autumn and the quiet sound of life falling back into quietness.

I think this book would suit someone new to gardening for cutting. I am unsure if it would appeal to an experienced gardener as much of the basic information I think could be found in other books. For myself, it was an inspiring read and, on a final note, the “snail shell cane toppers”? What a fabulous idea!

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