Having a dedicated cutting garden is the best of all worlds. You have your show garden and one for taking all that you want for displays. Smaller urban properties like mine have limited space for a cutting garden and having the sole purpose to cut flowers for arranging is not very prudent. Gardens can look ravaged if you cut multiple arrangements every week like I do throughout the growing season. I cut in every garden and place cutting flowers throughout my property. I also place cutting flowers in large pots, more on that coming up.
I had a dedicated cutting garden until the side bed went all Black-eyed Susan. My fault I know not keeping those Susans in line. I never planned on the entire garden being a cutting garden, but in time that is what it became since I love fragrant flowers indoors.
I did take flower arranging courses with a well-known professional in our area, but I have to admit, he would not call me a star student. I lack the discipline apparently to be good at this profession since I do what I like rather than what is good floral design. As a designer, I realize how frustrating that can be when the expert knows it could look and work much better. I run into that with clients.
The spillers, fillers and thrillers are not always blooming exactly when you want them, so that means arrangements are not always up to snuff. Plus, I just use the vases I have around, rather than getting particularly creative. So don’t follow how I arrange my vases.
So why read this post?
What you might pick up from this post is the flowers I added to the garden that are good cutting candidates. I don’t grow Gypsophila, or Baby’s Breath, but do get it from the local grower. I purchased it as a filler from a grocery store just to assemble my garden flowers for late spring. Too early for Baby’s Breath. Too early for Statice too. Everything else in the vases are from the spring garden.
I started getting cutting flower plants from a specialized nursery just to please the pollinators and later, to add to my indoor enjoyment. But what I found was I had to be selective about choices to get good garden worthy plants. Who better to ask than a local grower…
A local cut flower farm has the best selection of self sowing and not so common annuals to fill the garden with long-stemmed blooms for cutting. It is Henry’s Gardens, a place I posted on last year. It was my first visit to their farm, now I am a regular.
Barb above, the owner, is a creative floral designer and plant buyer for her store. The group of plants below all have long stems and five of them are from her farm, Henry’s Gardens in Eden, NY. Her choice of cut flowers are often very different than you may be familiar. Some I purchased from her are perennial, some annual and some biennial. They have a wonderful selection at their location, 7884 Sisson Hwy, Eden, NY.
I added a few neat new juicy varieties this year, hoping they sizzle this summer and seed freely. New this year is Cosmos ‘Choca Mocha’, Ozothamnus ‘Radiance’, Gaura ‘Indian Summer’, and Dianthus ‘Sweet Black Cherry’ (really love this one from Henry’s and shown in both arrangements) and one I picked up yesterday, Zinnia ‘Magellan Pink’. Barb called it a landscape Zinnia, which appears to be a bit shorter and a fuller plant with large flowers.
The Great Spangled Fritillary, Monarch and Silver Spotted Skipper all relish the Verbena bonariensis that I got from Barb last year. Even if you don’t want to cut the flowers, the butterflies will flock to it. But… cutting it makes a lot more blooms through the summer on this self-sowing plant. This verbena can be purchased from Henry’s too and is shown in the garden below.
The lilies, Scabiosa, Yarrow, and Delphinium have been in the garden a long time. A few other annual self-sowers are in the vase too, cosmos and Antirrhinum, snapdragon. I usually have Sweet peas, but culled them this year because they got out of hand. They will be back though, they never leave.
I do the arranging in the garden so if I want to add, I just go snip a few more flowers. Below, I added the fern.
Mostly I do arrangements to be viewed from all sides, but this one went inside against a wall. The other arrangement I added cosmos and it is viewed from all around.
What I like about these cutting garden flowers is the ephemeral beauty, the small, delicate flowers towering above the others. It is like having a garden new over and over as the season progresses seeing all the flowers bloom.
I scour the garden with my pruners in one hand and a steel bucket in the other, the fresh blooms drinking up the water. Soon the Chrysanthemums can be harvested like ‘Becky’ and ‘Alaska’.
Summer is for lilies and hot colors like orange.
I use leaves, berries and seed heads in fall that compliment the flowers all growing season. Come winter, there are boxwood, arborvitae and Juniper to make decorations and wreaths. I am not beyond taking fall blooming meadow flowers either.
I make many arrangements from plants others consider weeds, often with forest finds. Some of my favorite arrangements are those made from wildflowers mixed with garden perennials. See my post, Pick Your Weeds – Don’t Pull Them Just Yet.
Right now I have foxglove, yarrow, iris, Delphinium, catmint, verbena, snapdragon, scabiosa, Gaura, trollius, lupine, Salvia, penstemon, butterflyweed, lavender, Asiatic lilies, fern, hosta, Mexican sunflowers, and poppies to cut among others. Some plants are not vase worthy in the garden like daylilies for instance, but they really brighten a summer garden bed and I have LOTS of Asiatic Lilies.
Herbs of any kind can be added to your bouquets to create a sweet fragrance. Certain vegetables have great colored stems and leaves too. I don’t have any vegetables in the garden currently, but I did raid it for leaves when I did.
So do you cut your garden flowers? Are you going to plant to cut now? Remember if you are local, Henry’s Gardens is the place to get some great cutting flowers to add to your garden. They also have some very neat items in the store too.