Cut flower gardens can serve as either the centerpiece of any landscape design or be subtly integrated into the yard. Select a sunny spot, add organic matter for water retention and drainage and you are off the mark!
Perennial flowers that bloom year-after-year make for great investments, but mixing annual flowers into your arrangements will keep things interesting. Look for flowers with lush foliage or vine-like growth such as sweet peas or climbing nasturtiums.
Cutting flower plants thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, so before planting it is wise to conduct soil tests, adding plenty of rich organic matter such as compost to improve water retention and drainage.
Some cut flowers, like dahlias and delphiniums, require support such as staked containers or staked fencing; others, such as snapdragons and bachelor’s buttons require fence support. To make planting, weeding, and harvesting easier, organize your cutting garden into blocks of like plants; keep perennials together, but separate annuals according to support requirements (dahlias/delphiniums require fencing support; sweet peas may need grow-through netting). To make planting/weeding/harvesting easier: keep perennials together while separate annuals by support requirements (ie fence support for snapdragons/bachelor’s buttons/fence). To make planting, weeding, and harvesting easier: plant blocks of like plants for planting/weeding/harvesting as possible: set apart perennials from each other so their respective annual support requirements (ie fencing/fence support needed) from one another (ie: dahlias need fencing support while sweet peas require grow-through netting).
As not all flowers bloom simultaneously, plan ahead by planting flowers that bloom at the end of spring or early summer in order to prolong your picking season. Doing this can help bridge the gap between long-blooming bulbs and short-lived annuals and extend picking season further, advises Leigh. You could even allow some flowers to go to seed before collecting and drying them to sow again in future years.
Cut flower gardens should be situated in full sun and prepared with organic compost that enhances water retention in the soil. Next, stagger planting of different flower varieties so they bloom at once – this makes maintenance simpler as one single bloom can be harvested rather than multiple individual ones!
Be sure to include perennials and annual flowers – or shrubs and herbs – for maximum variety and interest. Perennials will return year after year while annuals offer quick blooming sources that can easily be added into indoor arrangements.
Once your flowers are ready to be harvested, make sure they’re picked early morning or evening when they’re at their freshest – always using clean gardening shears so as not to spread bacteria that will hasten their wilting. Next place their stems into a bucket with water mixed with floral preservative and allow them to rest for at least an hour before arranging.
Cut flower gardens require ample sunlight and regular irrigation. Since you will likely be cutting flowers regularly from this garden, it should also be easily accessible from inside the home; otherwise it risks becoming overgrown with weeds.
Make sure that your garden receives ample sun and soil, grouping together flowers with similar needs. Seed packets typically outline these requirements.
To extend their lives and ensure they bloom beautifully, change out their water regularly and add floral preservative. Also, when harvesting them it’s essential to use clean tools – any with bacteria on them could quickly rot your blooms!
If you plan to cultivate perennials, choose varieties with long blooming periods like peonies or roses that rebloom each year, such as delphiniums or dahlias that need a fence. However, annuals such as zinnias and snapdragons can be mixed in for continuous blooming throughout summer and fall – brighten up your vase with their brilliant hues!
Once your plants are established, pruning them to encourage more flower growth and prolong vase life is simple and straightforward. Cut flowers should be cut either early in the morning or evening to minimize wilting – use sharp and clean garden shears when selecting blooms – using sharp and clean garden shears is key! For maximum freshness place freshly cut stems into water with floral preservative and wait a few hours so they can rehydrate before placing back into bucket of water with floral preservative to prevent rot.
To make your cutting garden simpler to care for, group together plants with similar conditions and bloom times. For instance, group perennials together and annuals alongside each other. Also divide climbers that require trellising such as Dahlias or Delphiniums from those that require grow-through supports (sweet peas or snapdragons).
Along with regular inspections of pests, try companion planting such as marigolds to repel aphids and deer, lavender to repel moths and mosquitoes, crop rotation as a means to disrupt insect life cycles and keep pests at bay, or marigolds as an aphid repellent and deer repellent, etc.