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