I love flowers. I can’t get enough of them in my life. But to have constant bouquets in the house, I’d have to demolish the beauty of my flower beds. The only answer is a separate bed, or beds, specifically for cutting flowers.
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It’s possible to have fresh flowers for most of the year, from the bulbs in spring to late blooming perennials in fall.
First find a sunny, spacious area. Put your cutting bed close to your organic vegetable garden, if possible, for convenience of watering and fertilizing. For ease of harvest, cutting beds don’t need to be as wide as vegetable beds. Make beds 2’ wide and as long as you can. There should be enough room between them for you to maneuver with a bucket and/or wagon.
Plan on installing drip irrigation, because overhead watering will ruin the flowers. Add compost and an organic, slow release flower fertilizer to the beds. You may want to stake tall varieties.
Grow flowers you love! Choose a variety of colors, sizes, heights, and textures. Think bold, delicate, and fragrant, and be sure to grow greens and fillers, too.
If you are a beginner, start small and with annuals. Some of the best are:
- Sweet Peas
- Bachelor Buttons
If you want to grow perennials, try these:
- Dahlias (although they can also be grown from seed)
Greenery and filler:
- Dusty Miller
- Ornamental cabbage
Buying nursery starts will get expensive, so consider starting your flowers from seed. Aside from the savings, you will be able to make one-of-a-kind bouquets. Growers breed varieties made specifically for cutting. Flowers have long, sturdy stems and have a long vase life. Seed catalogs have notations for flowers best suited for cutting. If you do buy plants, their labels will also be marked with that information.
You don’t need to use design principles in your utilitarian cutting garden. Keep the same varieties together – all zinnias, all cosmos, etc. Plants should also be grouped according to water and nutrient needs.
Cutting beds need the same maintenance as any garden. Water, fertilize, deadhead (well, that’s what cutting is!), and watch for bugs and disease. Pull infected and infested plants, and put them in the trash. Replant that section, if it’s not too late.
With sharp scissors, cut your flowers in the early morning after the dew has dried, but before they are stressed from the sun and heat. Add some floral preservative to a bucket of warm water, and put the cut flowers in immediately. Recut them when designing your arrangement. Here is detailed information about cut flower care.
If you are just beginning and overwhelmed, try one of these cutting garden plans. Sunset Magazine has a short list of easy flowers to grow, too. Once you are smitten with growing annual cut flowers, expand with perennials, bulbs, and flowers for drying. Then you will have unique homegrown bouquets all year long!
Special cutting beds are the only way to keep your borders intact and have copious amounts of fresh flowers indoors. Flowers – food for the soul.