Flower Cutting Gardens

Cutting-Garden-11

How many of you have a dedicated part of your garden for cut flowers, where you created the best of all worlds by making a separate garden for cutting bouquets? I know it is hard to snip a few fresh blooms in a designed garden without thinking you are robbing the flower beds and borders of beautiful flowers to bring inside, yet it is so worth the extra work to prepare the plot.

Cutting-Garden

Myself, I cut throughout the garden all growing season to bring the fresh flowers indoors up until the snow flies. Most of my beds are brimming with a variety of flowers as you have seen through the years. My garden packs in the flowers like you see of the garden in this post which does it on a much larger scale.

I did start out with a cutting garden on the west side of my property shown below, but aggressive plants like Black-eyed Susan soon overtook the space late summer. It is a beautiful sight massed, so I just let it do its thing. Even though I have a tiny garden, it produces much more than gardens many times greater in size. Some things to consider in making the cutting garden:

Like I mentioned, it does need maintenance to keep the greedy plants at bay, like Rudbeckia.

  • Also make sure to have blooms with long stems for your arrangements, like Lupine but also add those that trail or climb like sweet pea.
  • Extend your bloom-time for spring, midsummer and late summer to stay in business through Fall, using plants like Solidago and Veronica.
  • A cutting garden will not look like a prized mixed border of plants. It is looser in feel and appearance.
  • Most cutting gardens with much bloom will require sun conditions.
  • A mix of annual, bi-annual, bulbs, and perennials will ensure all season-long bloom in both the cutting garden or traditional borders.

I also supplement my refined garden flowers with “weeds” picked from local meadows as fillers when creating vase designs, so don’t forget about what you might find in a meadow nearby. Many would call them wildflowers, but let’s be honest, most don’t want them in designed gardens, but a number of meadow flowers earn their keep in cutting gardens.

Having some fast growing blooms from seed or plug are very useful in a cutting garden, my garden shown above and below. One thing to notice, many of the cutting garden flowers are the old-fashioned standbys found in your great grandmother’s gardens. They stood the test of time and are very reliable.

Cosmos, sunflowers, Phlox, Mexican Sunflowers, snapdragon, sweet pea, coneflower, foxglove, Delphinium, penstemon, pincushion flower, and poppies, are just a few I have every year. And daisies and lilies of every kind. My garden below.

This post is about another garden – a very special garden. Like my garden, this gardener does not use pesticides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers. I believe she uses Miracle-Gro in the pots though. I myself do as well. Container gardening needs the monthly boost if they are flowers purchased from a greenhouse, as does those big-bloom annuals in the cutting garden.

Last July, my garden club went on a field trip. Yes, a literal field trip in real fields of flowers. The place we visited grows flowers for weddings. I believe they also host wedding parties at this place if I remember correctly.

The owner has created a beautiful property with billowing flowers in fields surrounding her home. The flowers are cut for arrangements that end up at wedding receptions or carried down the aisle by a beaming bride.

Take a tour as we did. Open your eyes, breathe in the fresh country air, soak up the warm July sun, and think about planning your cutting garden full of color, scent and beauty. Not to mention all the wildlife that comes to feast.

 

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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52 Responses to Flower Cutting Gardens

  1. Ah, Donna, thank you for the Spring you brought today! πŸ™‚

  2. I also started cutting from my garden last summer, and I had plenty to spare and it encouraged more growth and flowers on plants. This year I am looking to plan a cutting garden and grow some plants in containers just for cutting. I also fertilize my pots but not with chemical fertilizers. I love the gardens and the ideas.

    • I found that using Miracle-Gro only on containers does not hurt the environment as long as not reusing the salt-laden soil back into the gardens in Fall. Because the nurseries must use it to pump up and out the bloom, the plants purchased need the supplement if the containers are to stay as full and productive. When pots are over-planted as I do for instant appeal, they do need the extra boost. I and many here need to get containers ready for garden walks and container contests. No time for me to make compost teas. Some ask the gardener to get things like, chicken manure, seaweed and urine. I do use a high percentage of compost in my containers though.

  3. Beautiful garden, there are a lot of kinds of beautiful flowers, I feel spring is coming.:)

  4. swo8 says:

    Oh Donna, it looks so lovely – I just want to go out and roll in the grass (snow). Can’t wait for spring. I hope my roses survived.
    Leslie

  5. Jennifer says:

    I am always reluctant to cut flowers from my garden. The back is quite shady and I always feel I need to leave what flowers there are just to have a bit of color. It would be wonderful to have a guilt-free cutting garden though. Fresh flowers in the house are so nice. In a couple of years I may find the time and space to make such a garden. There is certainly lots of inspiration in your post Donna.
    P.S. The garden club member’s garden in a previous post is just terrific!

    • Thanks Jen. Finding space is the hardest part. I would probably not cut either if my garden had a lot of shade. I am glad it has sun, but would welcome a bit of shade in parts of the garden. I have trees, but they do little in late afternoon when flowers are frying in the blazing sun. If we got more rain, it would help greatly too.

  6. Gorgeous–both your garden and the other one you shared! Yes, I have a potager garden with flowers and edibles all growing together. I don’t use Miracle Grow, but I do use compost, sea kelp, epsom salts, and other organic fertilizers. Anyway, yes, I love to cut flowers from my garden. And I actually select flowers based on how well they perform in a vase. Great post!

    • I wish I had the time to mix my own concoctions for the garden, I just use compost. I used to use lots of expensive natural additives, but like I mentioned to Donna, I only use Miracle-Go in the containers. It is all in what gardens are prepared for I guess. In our area, gardens must be ready for garden walks by the end of June. You know yourself being from a cold climate, that takes a lot of work for people to ready a garden so quickly. I bet more gallons of Miracle-Gro get used in the Buffalo area than anywhere else. That may be sad for our wetlands, but having garden walks is great for tourism in the area, plus they are fun.

  7. alesiablogs says:

    Flowers have a way of making you feel good. I must say I like the “weeds” you mentioned and the meadow fields. Believe me I like the neatly trimmed look of a gorgeous garden, but something about the glorious fields you might see on a highway. mesmerize me. I think of Texas and what Lady Bird Johnson did for her state and driving on the highways down there. I don’t know if it still like that there. But I remember the flowers like it was yesterday.

  8. Of Gardens says:

    I wish I could/would dedicate some part of my garden to a cutting garden. but I never have. I do love cut flowers.

  9. Andrea says:

    How wonderful to see those flowers all in bloom. Those lilies i see as just very ordinary plants in gardens in temperate climes are very expensive here because we import them. We don’t normally cut flowers from our gardens as they wilt easily indoors so better left on the plants. However, during All Saints’ Days we try to cut and bring them to the cemetery. I remember when my father died, i cut the very big spike of my purple Vanda orchid not yet fully opened buds at the tip to be placed beside him during the wake.

    • How about the hotels? Do they have fresh flowers in lobbies and restaurants? Also, what about air conditioning? I always did wonder about places where heat is excessive – even on outside gardens. At least most of the plants in those places take the heat. I saw that in St. Lucia, my cousin had a gorgeous garden and had cut flowers indoors.

  10. Alisha says:

    Donna these garden looks like paradise, thank you so much for helpful tips on cutting flowers, unfortunately I am abroad , when I go to my own country I have plan to develop beautiful garden, nothing gives you satisfaction than having beautiful garden at your home…wonderful post

  11. I enjoyed this informative posting, Donna, beautifully illustrated with flowers from two gorgeous gardens. Gardens in the English cottage garden style, such as mine, provide abundant flowers for cutting. Like you, I cut throughout the garden all growing season. I also supplement with ‘weeds’ from the hedgerows around our fields. P. x

    • Thanks, Pam. I wish I had a large English cottage garden like you. I think they need a bit more space than I have, or I just need a cottage rather than a city house. πŸ˜€ I happen to like the weeds. So many beautiful wildflowers and minus the insects, make nice indoor arrangements.

  12. To me, the difference between a cutting garden and a show garden is your state of mind. You might have all the same plants in both, but in a cutting garden, you have to be prepared to let some go,

    • As a designer, the distinction is clear to me. I am not sure what a show garden is though, do you mean like the gardens on Garden Walk Buffalo that feature gardens once each year? I bet many of them cut flowers. Those gardens are packed tight with bloom. Cutting gardens are very different from spaces meant to decorate the home. In the post, the cutting beds are in the fields but I believe she still might cut from those border beds.

      • For many of us, we want to take flowers inside, but we also want pretty garden beds. When it comes time to cut flowers, we just don’t have the heart to do it!

        • I know, I used to think that way too when my garden was in a garden walk, but then I started stuffing the garden with flowers, quite a few from jobs I was renovating gardens. Once I had so many of all different colors, cutting was best done. I cut flowers to take to cemeteries, flowers for luncheons, flowers for gifts, flowers to take to the hospital, I spread my flowers everywhere. Cutting them makes more and more, so they have to start being used. I look at my garden more for what it produces. My main reason for all the flowers (flowering trees and shrubs) is the pollinators. I like feeding the insect and bird world.

  13. Roger Brook says:

    Lovely gardens Donna. i see some kind of discussion has started about fertilisers. i can’t understand the logic that Miracle Grow is ok and yet commercial fertiliser is not. Nor the hint that poultry droppings dripping with polluting nitrogen is ok!
    Anyway I did not want to get too serious in such a lovely post.
    I used to resist flowers been taken from my garden but I love to see the flowers inside and close up now!
    I grew some sweet peas for cut flower for the first time in many years last year. What joy!

    • I agree with you. I look at Miracle-Gro as a commercial fertilizer though since it is used by greenhouses. What is generally used for landscaping is slow release granular, which is also great for garden beds and establishing lawns. The growth is quick. The big debate is what it is doing to wetlands, lakes and ponds with the algae bloom. Most of that is from factory farms, but it is suspected that home gardens wash quite a bit into storm grates and that is also affecting waterways and ground water, not to mention altering and damaging soils. I don’t use them personally, but must allow their use in landscaping. I am not the one doing the landscaping or guaranteeing plant growth. Very, very few homeowners have natural landscapes. Most all have services that fertilize monthly. I have written many posts mentioning that no matter how many stand tall on that pulpit, the majority will never change their mind for blemish free food and perfect nursery flowers.

  14. rose says:

    So lovely to see all these blooms! I’ve been thinking about starting another small garden area just as a cutting garden. Right now, I have flowers like zinnias and cosmos mixed in a perennial bed, and while I do bring some blooms indoors, I hate to cut too many to spoil the effect outside. I do use Miracle-Gro on my containers, too, but mostly use compost to fertilize those in the ground. I think containers definitely need that extra boost.

    • Zinnia and cosmos are summer staples in my garden too. Occasionally, I will put in dahlia but I have since stopped over-wintering them. I used to even over-winter the Pelargonium or greenhouse geranium. I had three the size of a huge shrub, over six feet tall. One lived for five years, but finally I just let it go because it was a bit too large. I do admire those that do all the seed starting, I did that too early on, even making my own hanging baskets, but it becomes an inconvenience and takes up space when one does it year after year, and for me, getting plants wholesale lets someone else do all that work. If I had a farm or ranch or country home and did not work, travel, or be involved with so many horticulture, landscape, and garden festival projects, maybe then I might pass the time doing everything from scratch. I guess one day things will settle down and I can do all those things again, my health willing.

  15. Wonderful photos and thank you for the tips on growing a cutting garden. I have a few flowers for cutting mixed in with my tomatoes and herbs, mainly sunflowers and zinnias. We also cut flowers at random from the beds and borders. I use osmocote on my containers. My personal view is that organic and synthetic fertilizers contain the same chemicals, the most important thing is how fertilizers are used,how much, and how fast the nutrients are released.

    • A couple of years ago, I also planted flowers in with vegetables, or more correctly the vegetables in with flowers. I had the tomatoes out in the front beds, and no one in the city was the wiser. We would get told to remove them I am pretty sure. I am surprised there has not been formal complaints on so little grass. That is one reason why there is any grass. I too have Osmocote, but as you know I get a lot of free product from my job. I have this giant container of Miracle-Gro and have been trying to use it up on my indoor and outdoor container plants. I think I will have it until the day I die it is so big – the size greenhouses use. I wonder when it expires?

      Very true on containing the same nutrients. The real advantage for many is Miracle-Gro fits well for growing in raised beds, containers and grow bags. The solution goes directly into the growing media rather than broadcasting granular or appling a granular side dressing. When I buy hanging baskets, the wholesaler adds slow release, so at least I don’t have to use a solution fertilizer the first month. Any salt build-up in the soil at season’s end can easily be flushed out of my containers, that or plain discard the soil. It still ends up in landfills though. But imagine all the other toxins there! Growing organic is more a philosophy, but also has time proven science behind it. Simply, it is the belief of feeding the soil and letting the soil feed the plant. There are other concerns using chemical fertilizers though. Build up can inhibit the other micro-nutrient needs of plants, the salts making an imbalance in soil pH also. That is one reason why I don’t use it garden-wide.

      • Same here. I generally use the “feed the soil, not the plant” approach. I do make a few exceptions, mainly containers and a couple of heavy feeders like clematis.

  16. Such beautiful photos. The song ‘An English country garden’ comes to mind.

  17. bittster says:

    Awesome pictures for the tail end of winter. It’s really not helping my spring fever at all!

  18. Karen says:

    I’ve had a few planned cutting gardens over the years. It is nice to be able to extend a garden’s beauty by being able to bring lovely flowers into our home.

  19. Like your first paragraph, I hate to cut flowers from my garden because they looks so beautiful in the garden and I’m always worried it’s going to take away from that display. I wish I had more areas of sun on my property for a cutting garden. Maybe I’ll have to try to tuck in some non-invasives and annuals in a few spots because I do like fresh flowers in the house. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.

    • I like having the annuals tucked in here and there, especially those from Mexico. We have had hot, dry summers and these plants fared better than even some plants commonly considered natives.

  20. Victoria says:

    So beautiful! Being a good and creative gardener and landscaper is a talent…one that I do not possess! Wonderful photos!

  21. Brian Comeau says:

    You are making wish that spring was a bit closer than it is… Still a lot of snow here. πŸ™‚

  22. So pretty, especially this time of year. I am guilty of not only not having a cutting garden but of not cutting flowers to bring in. I never seem to have time. I put composted manure in my potting mix and fertilize with fish emulsion to avoid the Miracle Grow. it works for me.

    • I too have 50% compost/manure in my soil mix, but in our area with all the garden walks, the containers need the growth push since the season starts so early. The fish emulsion does not do the trick. My husband has three huge fish tanks and I use the waste water from the weekly clean on all the garden plants. It is about 100 gallons per week. It never gave the growth spurt for the containers even though those fish have a lot of fish droppings every week. Plus if hanging baskets are to last the season, they need a weekly boost. They become so root bound, no soil remains.

  23. Aquileana says:

    Hi Donna!~ Outstanding pics… absolutely beautiful! All the best to you!, Aquileana πŸ˜€

  24. I’ve taken so much inspiration for gardens from your blog over the years Donna, now we have our very own first garden (moving today) your flower photography is bright in my mind hoping that I can make our new place look as beautiful. Thank you for a wonderful post!

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