My Showstopper Flower Bed – Sara's Kitchen Garden
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My Showstopper Flower Bed

Look at my new flower bed in my cottage garden on top of Oak Hill! I'm going to use the flowers for beautiful arrangements and bouquets.

En liten röd stuga med blomsterrabatt framför.

My beautiful flower bed on Oak Hill earlier this year.


This is why I do what I do! Nothing compares to turning a weed-filled plot into a beautiful lush flower bed. These kinds of transformations give me so much joy. Not just because of how beautiful the results are. I also enjoy the feeling of creating something magical with my own hands. I made several new beds in my cottage garden on Oak Hill this year, but my showstopper flower bed has definitely gotten the most attention.

You can read more about the flowers I grow here:


Read more: A tour of my flower garden


The idea was to create a larger area to grow cut flowers for my bouquets. A colorful mixed flower bed, that is. This was actually something new for me. I hadn't done it before and was excited to give it a try.

So, I wanted to give you an overview of the process in the pictures below. Just hoover over the pictures to read the captions, or click on them if you read this post on your phone.


Flower bed with a red cottage in the background.

My cute little cottage garden in the spring. You can see the foundation of the bed on the left.


A stretch of lawn and the foundation for a flower bed.

I put a layer of cardboard and then fresh horse manure on top of the grass.


Stone wall with plants on top.

Plenty of flowers have sprung in summer.


Yellow and white flowers in front of a house.

I decided to mainly go for cut-flowers, except for the flowering tobacco of course. The bright yellow flowers in the picture are dahlias and you can also see a vanilla-colored garden cosmos here.


A flower bed with lots of green leaves.

Plenty of people in the village have commented on my flower bed. Some of them with tears in their eyes! I'm happy that my bed creates so much joy.


A bucket filled with flowers.

A bucket filled with a mix of flowers, most of them from the flower bed on Oak Hill. I sometimes give a few flowers to my neighbors and this particular batch was for the lady whose mother used to live in this house. I asked her if she preferred a finished bouquet or just a bunch of flowers that she could arrange herself. She gave me a big smile and asked for the flowers only. A beautiful summer memory!


Overview of a garden with a flower bed and a road.

I wanted to get a nice view from the front stairs of the cottage. I'm so pleased with the results!


In the Flower Bed

When I first started growing this bed, I actually felt a little scared that I didn't have enough of plants for it. I realized that I needed hundreds of them and had to use a few from my large kitchen garden too. That's why I'm not 100% sure of the varieties and how many of each I got. But the list below should be fairly accurate!


  • dahlia (four varieties)
  • garden cosmos (two yellow varieties)
  • straw flower (three or four varieties)
  • pincushion flower 'Salmon Queen'
  • tall verbena
  • snapdragon
  • low-growing sweet pea
  • zinnia (three varieties)
  • corn
  • common mignonette
  • aster
  • Bells-of-Ireland
  • Black-Eyed Susan 'Cherry Brandy'
  • sunflower
  • amaranth 'Garnet Red'


I also decided to go for white flowering tobacco and Virginia tobacco. This turned out to be a mistake though. The tobacco dominated the flower bed and covered other, more important flowers that ended up not growing very well. I didn't use the tobacco for my bouquets and only wanted to fill out the bed. I'm going to use something else next time.


Read more: My 3 favorite tips on picking a grow light


The Results

How did it turn out then? Well, smashing! This spot has been so lifeless and boring for many years. When I bought the cottage in March 2019, there was only an old and fruitless pear tree on the small stretch of lawn. I can't believe how well it all turned out.

I chose to just put them all together without any real order, not thinking too much about how tall or low-growing they are. The tobacco was a hit-and-miss of course, but the rest turned out just fine. I had a vision about sitting on the stairs and just enjoying the beautiful lush view in front of me, and I wasn't disappointed! The flower bed has been doing amazingly well despite the quite simple conditions. I haven't been fertilizing at all for example. I simply made sure that the solar-powered watering system was working as planned, and added an extra hose before a photo shoot I did with a Swedish gardening magazine. It turned out great!


Flower bed in sunlight.

I did some extra watering right before the photographer came. The plants looked absolutely gorgeous!


En tjej i blåa kläder och pippitofsar med en blombukett i handen.

My daughter Alba came to pick some flowers before school. Maybe her bouquets will make the magazine too.


Blandade blommor växer sida vid sida i rabatten.

I haven't thought much about the placement of the flowers in the bed. It might not be the most aesthetic solution, but I'm happy about.


Lots of flowers in a pile.

I went to Oak Hill early one morning to pick these beauties. They need to be picked when budding, since they bloom when they start to dry.


Pink flowers.

I have almost ten dried bouquets now that I plan on giving away in winter.


More about flowers: The Swedish potagér


I need to start thinking about trellising my flowers next time. Previously, I kept growing my flowers together with vegetables and never really used cut flowers at all. That's why I never had to think very much about keeping my flower stalks straight and upright. The vegetables supported the flowers naturally, and vice versa. Crooked stalks was of course not really a problem since I never used my flowers for bouquets.

Basically everything about creating this flower bed has been fun so far. The best part is of course to pick the flowers! I've picked so many of them, and so have my children and friends. Looking back at the pictures and videos of my beautiful bed really gives me hope in the middle of winter.


Flower bouquet with lots of color

Just a few of my beautiful flowers from the cottage garden flower bed. My photographer Ida Sjöö took the picture.


I hope that you feel inspired to create your own showstopper flower bed at home, and use the flowers for bouquets too! If you want to see more content about flowers, you can always follow my Swedish Instagram account @skillnadensblommor. Good luck!
/Sara Bäckmo

30. November 2020