Cut flower gardens – comprising of several long linear beds designed for easy planting, weeding and picking access – can make an impressive statement in any landscape. Perennials and bulbs with long stems such as those offered by popular long stem varieties make great cutting material.
Harvest flowers early morning or late evening when their stems are less likely to wilt, using lukewarm water rather than cold; this helps increase absorption by your flowers faster.
Choose the Right Plants
Create a dedicated space for your cut flowers or incorporate them into existing garden beds and containers. Sunshine is ideal, although some varieties do well under cover as well. Accessibility should also be kept in mind to make sure that all blooms can be reached without trampling other plants or breaking stems.
Cut flower gardens require healthy soil quality for optimal flower production. Consider adding organic matter like well-rotted manure or compost to improve texture and maintain an ideal pH level.
Plant your cut flower garden in rows for effortless maintenance: this makes weeding, staking, and picking much simpler. Keep taller plants in mind when planning rows – they require robust supports – while planting filler plants such as ferns or baby’s breath between rows will block out weeds and keep the garden tidy. Deadheading regularly is also crucial; remove spent blooms and damaged foliage to encourage new flowers while prolonging vase life and extend bloom life span.
Prepare the Soil
As part of creating a cut flower garden, the initial step should be preparing the soil. This involves testing and amending with organic materials such as compost for improved soil structure and slow release nutrients.
Take into account your climate and environment when selecting flowers. Many varieties do not prefer hot, dry climates and require additional protection against wind or rain.
Consider also the bloom time and duration of each plant when making your selections. To extend the season of cutting flowers, plant bulbs in winter/early spring that bloom all through summertime with annuals that continue blooming later on.
Consider including fragrant and filler flowers into your cut flower garden to add diversity and texture. Since some cut flowers can be heavy, support should be provided for climbing plants such as sweet peas or clematis that require climbing support. Furthermore, include pest-repelling flowers or herbs into your cut flower plot to help maintain an organic garden environment.
Betsy Hitt of Peregrine Farm suggests the key to creating a successful cut flower garden is creating a balanced mixture of perennials and annuals, with repeat bloomers. You could also include hardy half-hardy biennials like sweet william and sweet rocket for filling gaps between perennials and annuals, she suggests.
Once you’ve selected the varieties to plant, plan out their beds on paper by drawing their bloom times, heights and growing conditions on it. Group plants that share similar requirements to make it easier to keep them healthy; for instance, tall plants should have supports nearby so as to keep them from flopping over as they expand.
Louise advises harvesting at an angle and trimming away foliage below the water line, using clean tools such as pail, vase and cutting tools. Regular water changes will prevent bacteria contamination while prolonging vase life.
Cut flower gardens can thrive anywhere, but for optimal success it should be in a sunny location with rich soil that drains well. Some popular cut flowers such as annuals such as zinnias, sunflowers and sweet peas are easy to cultivate from seed or purchased as transplants from nurseries or home and garden centers; seed catalogs or plant tags often outline ideal growing conditions.
Keep in mind that taller flowers, such as zinnias and sunflowers, may require support in the form of stakes or trellises to prevent them from flopping over as they grow taller. Other flowers like climbing nasturtiums and sweet peas require vine support in the form of either netting or trellis structures to stay upright as vines.
If possible, designate an area of the landscape specifically for cutting flowers to reduce depleting existing planting beds and borders. If space does not permit this solution, try including perennials and hardy bulbs that lend themselves well to cutting to extend your picking season.