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Plan a Cut Flower Garden for Beautiful Bouquets Year Round

May 8th, 2010 · No Comments

If you’ve ever stopped by a flower stand “just to look,” but then walked away again because of the price tag on those perfect blooms, this garden is for you. By choosing the right plants and planting designs you can have the bouquets you want without leaving bare spots in your garden or your wallet.

Planning

The easiest way to ensure that you can cut as many flowers as you want and not damage the look of your garden is to dedicate one or more planting beds to cut flowers. Other ways to minimize damage are planting cut-flowers in with your vegetables or just tucking cut-flower plants here and there around the garden.


Cutting beds
With a cutting bed, you can cut without worry. Select an inconspicuous location along a garage or in an unused corner of your backyard. Be sure, though, that the area will have enough sun and rich, well-drained soil like the other beds. Draw your existing beds on paper, noting varieties, bloom times, and heights. Then pencil in the flowers you want to cut.

Stagger the planting of each flower species so the blooms don’t all appear and disappear at once. Use bloom cycles as your guide to create a mix, and don’t worry about matching colors or heights.

Row-planting or Scattered Plantings
If you don’t have room for a dedicated cutting bed, you can make your cutting garden part of an existing vegetable garden, where row-planted flowers will blend right in.

If you haven’t got a vegetable patch, you can simply place scattered plantings of the plants you want to cut throughout the garden and take only one or two flowers from each plant at a time.

Flower Choice

The ideal cut-flower offers sturdy stems, interestingly-shaped, long-lasting flowers and an abundance of blooms during its season. Many of the best are bulb flowers, but the mix should also be balanced with perennials and annuals.

Your favorite perennials will come back year after year, while annuals will let you experiment. It’s not only flowers that make good bouquets: flowering hedges, aromatic herbs, and plants with interesting foliage to add to your arrangements.

And don’t forget about winter — holly and evergreen bows provide classic (and free) winter decoration.

Excellent Cut Flower Species
Ranunculus (Persian buttercup), Eremurus, Allium (A. giganteum and A. aflatunense), Baby’s breath, Bachelor’s buttons, Dahlias (cutting actually encourages them to bloom), Agapanthus (lily of the Nile), Ornithogalum thyrsoides (looks similar to a hyacinth and very long-lasting), Liatris (also long-lasting), Campanula (bellflower), Carnation, Salvia, love-in-a-mist, and snapdragons.

Cut Flowers with Fragrance
Iris (Dutch iris or xiphium), Ixia (African corn lily), Calla lilly (zantedeschia), Polianthes (tuberose), Gladiolus, Paeonia (peony), Acidanthera (similar to gladiolus, with a delicate scent).

Cut Flower Growing Tips

To encourage blooming, water, fertilize, and and deadhead flowers regularly. Harvest flowers in the early morning or evening, not in the heat of the day when they are stressed. Always use clean, sharp cutting tool. Dirty tools spread disease and dull blades crush stems, making it hard for the plant to take up water once in a vase.

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