Cut flower gardens can be easier to manage than their regular planting bed counterparts, though still need full sunlight and rich, well-draining soil for success. Furthermore, you must ensure easy access so you can harvest flowers throughout the growing season.
Select perennials and flower bulbs with long stems as well as annuals with good vase life for best results. Fragrances should also be considered when choosing plants to fill a garden – fragrant varieties like peonies, roses, Volcano phlox, lilyturfa and iris make great selections.
Growing cut flowers yourself is an easy and sustainable way to bring nature indoors, says garden expert Louise Curley. Growing your own blooms gives the room a distinct outdoor feeling while simultaneously helping the planet.
Select a spot with ample sunlight and well-draining soil, either creating an entire cut flower bed in your garden or simply including perennials and annuals in existing borders.
Plant your cut flower beds in wide rows for ease of access, as this makes weeding, pruning and harvesting simpler. Remember that some plants will need to be staked or supported and ensure they are close enough to paths so you can reach them with a bucket of water or basket to cut.
Some cut flowers require regular staking or support, while others require pruning, pinching and/or deadheading for their best appearance. Plan your garden accordingly by positioning these plants near more easily managed beds so you’re reminded to keep tending them.
Group your flowers according to their cultural requirements and bloom times for optimal care with minimum effort. This will also prevent short-stemmed blooms from being dwarfed by taller plants competing for water and sunlight, protecting shorter stemmed blooms from being swallowed up in an effort to give all your blooms what they require.
Organic matter, compost or slow-release flower fertilizers should be added as necessary to your soil in order to replenish nutrient levels and promote healthy, robust growth. A soil test will help identify which amendments you require; some flowers have specific phosphorous and potassium needs which may require slow-release plant food solutions.
Many people envision cut flower gardens in terms of rows of daffodils or boxes of tulips – both traditional ways of growing cut flowers – however there is more available to anyone interested in including cutting flowers into their gardens and bouquets.
An ideal location for a cutting garden should receive ample sunlight and contain well-draining soil, while remaining free from weeds – this way plants will receive all their required nutrients without competition from unwanted growth.
At planting time, adding compost or well-rotted manure to enrich and strengthen soil structure. Regular applications help preserve its fertility while eliminating weeds from your bed.
Keep your cutting garden as organized as possible to make harvesting simpler. Group plants with similar watering or light exposure requirements together and add organic compost at planting time or throughout the season for improved soil health.
Flowers such as dahlias and delphiniums require staking; plant them near support structures where adding stakes as the plants expand will be easy. Sweet peas and snapdragons benefit from grow-through netting; place these near fences or tall shrubs that block wind and rain for best results.
When harvesting flowers, choose a cool and dry day and cut stems as close as possible to the base of each bloom with sharp, clean shears for long-term blooming. Submerge newly harvested blooms into water containing preservative and let sit in there for at least an hour before arranging or displaying.
Ideal cutting gardens should be easy to access, with plenty of room for planting and weeding. Long, linear beds of approximately one meter by three metres offer the opportunity for quick planting, weeding, and picking across all of their beds without needing to walk on them directly.
Flowers don’t bloom at the same time, so consider organizing your beds according to expected flowering times; early season bulbs could go in one area, midseason and late summer annuals in another and perennials in another tier, according to Leigh. Allow some plants to go to seed so you can collect and dry them for sowing in subsequent years, she suggests.
Beginners may benefit from selecting flower varieties specifically bred for desirable cut flower characteristics such as longer vase life and lengthier stems; this will save both time and money since these flowers can often be purchased pre-packaged from nurseries or seed catalogues.