Plant a Cutting Garden

Grow | May 3, 2017 | By

Is there anything better than a vase of freshly cut flowers in your home? You can always pick up a bunch of flowers in most grocery stores …which is a good and wonderful thing. But if you can just pop out to your garden and cut your bouquet…well, that is just a ‘gooder’ and more ‘wonderfuller’ thing! Right? I am smack in the midst of planting my cutting garden so that I’ll have flowers to cut for arrangements for the rest of the summer.

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem or saying a prayer. 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Here are just a few great flowers I plant in my cutting garden. These flowers bloom from Spring through the Summer, providing months of bouquet material. However, do check to see how these flowers do in your Grow Zone. We are in zone 8.

Long-Stemmed Dahlias are perfect for cut flower arrangements. This perennial will produce flowers all growing season like an annual, but its tubers will produce again the following if not too cold. In cold climates, it’s best to dig the tubers up and winter them over in your garage or unheated basement.When properly treated after they’ve been cut they will last longer than many other flowers and grow in just about every color and shape.

I put the stems of my dahlias into hot, but not boiling water, right after I cut them. While I’m not sure of the ‘why this works’ of this practice, I do know that it helps the blooms last several days longer than if it isn’t done.

Long-lasting dahlias make a great addition to your cutting garden

Sunset Dahlia

Zinnias are some of my all time favorites for cut flower arrangements. There is something quaint about the simple but very colorful flower. Plant your zinnias from seed as they don’t tend to do well if transplanted.

Avens are a flower that I recently stumbled upon but love it for long-lasting blooms (late spring through mid-summer), poppy like flowers and rich colors. 

My new favorite flower for my cutting garden and bouquets...Chilean Avens.

Blazing Sunset Chilean Avens

My new favorite flower for my cutting garden and bouquets...Chilean Avens.

The gray-green leaves of Yarrow provide lovely contrast in most flower arrangements, in addition to the subtle pops of color provided by the blooms.

Both the flower and foliage of Yarrow makes it a great plant for your cutting garden, flower arrangements and bouquets.

Moonshine Yarrow

Both the flower and foliage of Yarrow makes it a great plant for your cutting garden, flower arrangements and bouquets.

Not only a great plant for pollinators, but coneflowers are a long lasting staple of the summer garden. They bloom from June through September in a variety of colors. Many floral arrangers also use the cones after the petals have fallen in their arrangements

Nothing says ‘summer bouquet’ like Sunflowers, which come in a variety of sizes and shades of yellow.

I love the bright playful colors of the Gerber Daisies, but don’t often mix them with other flowers as they don’t do well when their hollow stems are submerged as much as other flowers in an arrangement. 

No cutting garden is complete without the bright and cheery colors of Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera Daisy (see the little inchworm in the middle?)

Consider keeping these flowers in their own vase, in only 2-3 inches of water. Changing their water and snipping the ends of the stems just a wee bit each day will help them last longer.

No cutting garden is complete without the bright and cheery colors of Gerbera Daisies

It’s hard to beat the workhorse Shasta Daisy in your summer floral arrangements. They play so well with others.

Globe-y flowers like gomphrena or allium add a little fun and whimsy to arrangements.

I love the little globes of Gomphrena for my flower arrangements

Strawberry Fields Gomphrena

And consider the leaves of these plants solely for the fill and foliage in your arrangements:

I keep a vase of Cast Iron Plant leaves on my console…they last forever and provide just a nice pop of fresh green. They are also great in an arrangement of larger flowers.

Hosta leaves also provide a hearty dose of green, but often with lovely variegated leaves.

Fern fronds (Asparagus, Leather Leaf, Maidenhair) are great to soften and fill just about any arrangement. 

The flow of ivy from a vase is a lovely way to soften and naturalize your arrangement.

 

Boxwood clippings are a handy filler when an upright foliage is called for.

Not only will Rosemary‘s thin gray green leaves provide lovely constrast, but you can’t beat the fragrance!

Now that you know what to grow, here are a few tips to keeping your cutting garden arrangement fresher longer:

  • Cut your flowers first thing in the morning, before the heat of the day has sapped their water and strength.
  • Cut your stems at a 45° angle, which allows more surface area for water uptake
  • Have a jar of water to promptly place them in while you are cutting. You will remove them from this water when you snip them and place them in their permanent vase.
  • Make sure your vases and scissors are clean
  • Remove any leaves/buds that will be below the water level as they will rot
  • Snip a bit (1/2″ to 1″) off of the end of your stems daily 
  • Refresh your water daily. Here’s the recipe I use for a homemade floral preservative. This recipe comes from the folks at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Homemade Floral Preservative:

For every quart of lukewarm water add

1 tsp bleach (to ward off bacterial growth)

1 tsp sugar (for plant cell metabolism)

2 tsp lemon or lime juice (to adjust Ph)

You can keep this in your refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before placing your flowers in it.

I love having fresh flowers in my home! Having a cutting garden to grow these flowers is such a great idea. Great suggestions plus a recipe for floral preservative.

What are your favorite flowers and foliage for your cutting garden? I’m always looking for suggestions so throw some my way.

I love having fresh flowers in my home! Having a cutting garden to grow these flowers is such a great idea. Great suggestions plus a recipe for floral preservative.

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Hugs,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Sherry M
    May 3, 2017

    Your blog is beautiful! I am a new subscriber and am so pleased to have found you. My mother is still an avid gardener at age 87. I guess I inherited the desire to dig in the dirt, plant, and wait and see from her. I so enjoy cutting gardens and container gardening. It excites me to know what I will be able to learn from you. Thank you for the flower preservative recipe. I will definitely try it. Your photography is gorgeous. I guess I sound like a kid in a candy shop, but I really am glad to know there is a kindred spirit for gardening. Thanks, Lynn. Have a lovely end to your week.

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      May 4, 2017

      Aw Sherry, you just put the widest smile on my face! Thanks so much for sharing your kind and encouraging words.

      I love what I’m doing, but the whole process comes full circle when I know that there are folks out there who benefit from and enjoy the words I put out.

      Like you, I come from a family of gardeners and doers, so it’s in my genes. My 82 year old parents still enjoy working in their garden as well…I know it keeps them young! In fact, today is my dad’s 83rd birthday! Heading over there shortly.

      Thanks again for being a subscriber and for taking the time to pop in with your kind words.

      Wishing you a wonderful Thursday.

      Hugs,

      Lynn

  2. Leave a Reply

    Betsy
    May 3, 2017

    Great suggestions on what flowers to plant for bouquets. Love the container pictures too. I’m going to try the last one with the fern. Thank you!

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      May 4, 2017

      Thanks for stopping by Betsy! I really do enjoy both my cutting garden, as well as my container gardens and so glad that I might have given you a few ideas! That’s surely my goal.

      Good luck with your gardening…it’s a beautiful day here and hope it is where you are as well.

      Many Hugs, Lynn

  3. Leave a Reply

    Linda at Mixed Kreations
    May 8, 2017

    I love to be able to go out and into the garden for cut flowers. I’m working on that at this house we are in now. I had just gotten my flower beds how I wanted at the other house and pretty much year around I had some kind of flower or plant that I could cut to take to the cemetary. I lived taking fresh flowers that I had grown to my dad’s grave site. He is the one that got me into gardening.

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      May 9, 2017

      What a lovely story…your dad inspiring you to garden has come full circle hasn’t it? I will be so sorry to leave all the gardens we’ve planted over the years when our house sells, I may just have to sneak a few plants to go with me.

      Thanks for swinging by Linda!

      Hugs, Lynn

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