Designing and Growing the Cutting Garden

snapdragonsQuestion: What can you tell me about growing a cutting garden?

Answer: The advantage of a cutting garden—an area in which plants are grown specifically for cut flowers—is that you can use it to create flower arrangements and bouquets without worrying about the effects on the look of the garden. When cutting flowers from an ornamental garden bed or border, on the other hand, you often have to pick and choose each flower carefully and perhaps skimp a little on the bouquet so that the garden won’t look plundered.

Cut Flower Garden Design
Designing a cutting garden is much less complicated than general garden design. The point is not to create a scene that looks dynamic throughout the seasons, but instead to provide a good supply of favorite cut flowers. Focus more on making the cutting garden plants easy to access and care for, rather than arranging them as you would a typical garden, with attention to height, color, bloom time and so on. Put those considerations aside and plant them in rows, such as in a vegetable garden. Leave space between rows for walking.

Growing Cut Flowers
Most cutting garden plants do best with full sun. Keep the cutting garden watered, weeded and fed, and be sure to deadhead any blooms that you don’t cut, to keep the plants producing more flowers rather than going to seed.

Flowers for the Cutting Garden
You can grow any mix of plants in a cutting garden, from roses and shrubs to perennials, annuals and bulbs. Berrying shrubs and ornamental grasses are unconventional choices but they supply great filler for fall bouquets. Shrubs and perennials with interesting foliage also come in handy to support seasonal cut flowers. The main requirement for cutting garden plants is that they have a good vase life. You can also grow flowers for dried arrangements in the cutting garden.

Common perennial flowers for the cutting garden include asters, penstemons, bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.), pinks (Dianthus spp.), delphiniums, globe thistles (Echinops spp.), coneflowers (Echinacea and Rudbeckia), Shasta daisy and Montauk daisy, peonies, Japanese anenomes, irises, sneezeweed (Helenium spp.), yarrows (Achillea spp.), dahlias and torch lilies (Kniphofia spp.).

Common annual flowers for the cutting garden include cock’s comb (Celiosa spp.), snapdragons (shown), zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, sweet peas, cosmos and baby’s breath.

Image attribution: Off2riorob

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Shop for Renee’s Garden flower seeds.

Check out Clarington Forge’s Topiary Shears, which are also great for cutting flowers and deadheading plants.

Accent fresh-cut flowers with H. Potter’s colorful retro glass vases.

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