After “surviving” the wet, dark winter, I always look forward to planning out my flower garden with great enthusiasm. I’ve learned ( primarily through trial and error) some very important aspects to creating a full and complete cutting garden. It’s important to think about all the seasons and which flowers, greens and accents will be the stars of each month.
I like to plant a combination of annuals and perennials. I start many of my annuals from seed but I also buy some 6-packs and 4″ beauties from the nursery. It’s almost impossible to resist impulse buying some of these stunning specimens as they come in weekly from our growers.
I’ve laid out my beds like a painter’s palette. Each bed is represented by a color group, i.e
whites and cream, yellow, salmon and orange, pink and fuchsia, red and burgundy, plum and purple. I plant a combination of color (face flowers), herbs, greens and texture so that I can create beautiful and unusual bouquets throughout the seasons and for special events.
The first up in the spring are all the bulbs. These little powerhouses burst on to the scene when we need that promise of spring the most. It has helped to plant in organized color rows in order to remember where things are! Some of my other favorite spring cutting flowers are peonies, lilac, lilies, hydrangea, and rhododendron. Later in the season the dianthus, delphinium, penstemon, phlox and poppies bloom with wild abandon. For texture and interest I love sea holly (Eryngium), hypericum, oregano, celosia, sage, lavender and gomphrena. I’ve learned the great benefit of having a variety of greens for bouquet structure and balance. I like to use lambs ear (Stachys), dusty miller and artemisia for their silvery tones, weigela variegata, lonicera and salal (Gaultheria) to name a few. We are so fortunate to have so many varieties of flowers and greens to create stunning bouquets with.
Annuals are instant color gratification! I love sweet peas, snapdragons, zinnias, phlox and of course sunflowers. In addition to my cutting garden I have a “kitchen” herb garden. This is located close enough to the house so that I can always dash outside and snip fresh herbs when preparing a meal or a simple centerpiece. I love incorporating a variety of herbs into my floral arrangements. They add fragrance, beauty and have some calming properties as well.
I also have an ever expanding rose garden. The color, grace and fragrance of fresh cut garden roses is beyond compare. At first I shied away from roses because I thought they were too high maintenance, but I have learned otherwise. Roses do take some attention but the payback is well worth it. We have so many knowledgeable people on staff that it has been very easy to consult with them to help identify and treat almost any issues that arise.
Some of the key elements to successful flower gardening that I’ve learned are that preparing your beds with organic amendments, ensuring proper watering/drainage, attention to sunlight requirements, pruning and pest/ disease management are all aspects that when combined lead to success and lasting pleasure in the garden!