Recent Cosmos Posies From the Allotment
One of the best decisions I made for our allotment was to grow lots of flowers alongside our edible crops. I sowed seeds with both pollinators and cut flowers in mind. We’ve struggled with slugs, badgers, foxes, squirrels, sandy soil, too little rain and then too much rain, but one thing we haven’t struggled with is pollination, and I put that down to our plot having large stands of cerinthe, chamomile, buckwheat, phacelia, calendula and cosmos to attract pollinating insects who then stick around to pollinate our vegetables. I’m growing dahlias too, but most of my dahlias are decorative varieties with closed centres, which are just grown as cut flowers. I don’t feel bad about the inaccessible centres of my dahlias because there are plenty of open centred flowers that the bees and wasps can enjoy. They don’t go without.
At the moment the cosmos is doing really well and I have been cutting them to bring home with me, as well as to encourage the plants to keep flowering. Elsewhere on our allotment site people have left their calendula to go to seed without dead-heading, and the plants are largely spent. I’ll keep dead-heading through until the equinox, then I’ll leave the calendula to go to seed so that it hopefully self sows for next year. Here are some photos of recent posies I’ve brought home with me. Cosmos flowers don’t have a long vase life once they’re open – and I wait for them to be open so the bees can enjoy them first – but they’re pretty whilst they last.