Garden Design: Designing A Cutting Garden

Create a cutting garden using these design tips and enjoy fresh flowers in the house all summer long.

Garden Design: Designing a Cutting Garden

What is a Cutting Garden?

If you enjoy bringing fresh flowers into your home then a cutting garden may be the perfect garden for you. Unlike a perennial garden, a cutting garden is a strictly utilitarian type of garden whose sole purpose is to provide fresh flowers for flower arrangements. A cutting garden is typically a smaller garden located near the house. Sometimes it is combined with a vegetable garden. It is also possible to devote a section of your perennial garden to flowers used solely for cutting.

The best flowers to use in the cutting garden are those that are colorful such as daisies, zinnias, black-eyed Susans, or chrysanthemums. These types of flowers tend to be sturdy and hold onto their petals for a long time. Unfortunately, many fragrant flowers are quite delicate. They may smell wonderful, but tend to lose their petals, wilt easily, or last only a short time.

When cutting flowers from the garden, cut the stems on an angle early in the morning. Carry a pail of water and place the cut stems in water as you go along. Re-cut the stems inside the house before placing them in flower arrangements. Hollow stems such as daffodils, lupines, or delphiniums should be cut straight across, then turned upside down and filled with water so the stems stay moist and will not wilt.

Design Tips

1. Select a location that gets both full and partial sun to accommodate a variety of flowers.

2. Plant flowers close together to encourage lankiness. Competition for sunlight will cause your flower to grow taller than they would if spaced farther apart.

3. Choose flower colors that mix well. For example, groups of bright orange, yellow, red, and white flowers, or groups of purple, blue, pinks, and white flowers.

4. Plant flowers systematically in rows according to type and color. For example, tall long-stemmed flowers such as purple coneflower or bee balm, or spiky flowers such as veronica or delphinium.

5. Don't be afraid to plant shorter stemmed flowers such as pinks, pansies or marigolds. Diminutive bouquets have their place in the house as well.

6. When deciding how many of each type of flower to plant, keep in mind that flowers used in arrangements are grouped in threes, fives and sevens, in other words odd numbers.

7. Plant flowers with extended blooming periods, either spring through summer or summer through fall. While they are perfect for a shady corner of the garden, avoid using flowers such as columbine or lily of the valley in the cutting garden. They bloom during spring and then go dormant until the following year.

8. Use a mix of annual and perennial flowers in your cutting garden. After the first year, many annuals will reseed.

9. Plants that have beautiful foliage such as baby's breath or yarrow can be used as fillers in your flower arrangements.

10. Don't forget about spring bulbs, which make a nice addition to the cutting garden. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, grape hyacinth, and crocus make wonderfully colorful and fragrant spring bouquets.

Flower and Foliage Suggestions

1. Annuals

- Zinnias

- Cosmos

- Chrysanthemums

- Pansies

- Petunias

- Marigolds

2. Perennials

- Roses

- Dianthus

- Peony

-. Poppy

- Scabiosa

-. Veronica

-. Lavender

- Daisies

- Black-eyed Susan

- Bachelor's Button

- Delphinium

- Foxglove

- Lupine

- Sweet pea

- Coral Bells

- Campanula

- Phlox

- Pearly everlasting

3. Foliage

- Baby's breath

- Lamb's ears

- Yarrow

- Artemisia

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