Select a location in the garden that gets plenty of sun, and preferably already has rich soil that drains well.

Herbaceous plants are hungry and they need lots of nutrients, so ensure that your border or bed is weed-free and take time to work in a good layer of compost and an all-purpose organic fertliser. Soil that is rich in organic matter will improve water retention, drainage and increase nutrients within the soil.

At the beginning of the growing season, apply a slow release granular organic fertilizer in with your compost to give everything a good start.If this is a bed or border that is dedicated to flower cutting the layout is important. Being able to access the flowers easily, means you won’t damage them when harvesting. To this end, plant flowers in wide rows with paths in between. It is important to understand the needs of the flowers you are planting and grouping these generally in the same region of the growing area. You don’t want to plant something that requires a great deal of watering next to one that prefers drought-like conditions!

Within the overall arrangement you need to think of heights too. You don’t want shorter-growing flowers to be taken over by taller ones where they will get little water or light, so grouping similar heights together will avoid this.

Blooming

Different flowers will bloom at different times during the growing season so consider when each group will bloom and plant them in order of early, mid and late season.
If you see blooms are flagging a bit during the summer then top up with a liquid feed and remember to mulch! It can be anything from composted leaf to spent mushroom compost but mulching at the beginning and keeping that up will help the soil to retain moisture and also gradually improve soil structure as it degrades.

Now all we need is the sun!

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