Must Haves for a Cutting Garden
As a gardener, you often plan your landscape in a very particular way. There must be distinguishable rows full of plants that complement each other from color to bloom season. However, a cutting garden requires an entirely different mindset.
Instead of planting what blooms best together at any given point in the season, you’re on the hunt for flowers known for their sheer production capacity. The idea is to grow enough to create mesmerizing bouquets and A LOT of them!
When picking the perfect cut flower varieties, it’s important to keep in mind the size of the space you’re working with and how you can maximize flower power with the least amount of overall maintenance.
A great way to do that is by utilizing hardworking rebloomers like Bloomerang Lilacs. Don’t forget about crape myrtles, spireas, and of course the foliage favorite shade-loving hostas.
Bouquet Composition 101:
What makes a good flower arrangement great, is the colors used and the textures that are interwoven. Having one without the other will leave the flowers looking one-dimensional and you’ll be left feeling like somethings missing.
Easy Color: The color is the easy part. Almost too easy. There are so many options and so little gardening space. So how do you choose? Here’s a list of long-stemmed options:
- Fall Planting Bulbs - We’re talking daffodils, tulips and hyacinths
- Spring Planting Bulbs - Things like Calla Lilies, Dahlia or Freesia
- Peonies - Oh yes, bring on Sarah Bernhardt, Karl Rosenfield and Duchesse de Nemours
- Shasta Daisies - Becky, Victorian Secret and Snow Lady for the win
Texture Tell-Alls: Texture comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be tried and true flower blooms, but it can also come from foliage plants. Some of our favorites are:
- Sea Holly - Blue Glitter is a true must-have, we insist
- Cardinal Flowers - Also known as Lobelia, Black Truffle and Great Blue are tall and colorful
- Boxwoods - We know, we know. This is not what you think of when you think cut gardens, but Green Mountain or Little Missy work well for texture, we promise
- Lavender - The staples are English Munstead, Provence and Phenomenal French but we also like Sensational!®
Cut Garden Flower Beds for Beginners:
Starting a flower bed from scratch can be daunting. Again, there are just SO. MANY. CHOICES.
We’ve got a couple of years under our belts though and are happy to share what’s worked for us so far. You’ll be ready to design a cutting garden in no time.
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s not so much about how the garden looks outside. It’s about how the perennial flowers will look in a vase in your kitchen.
For example: If you’re looking for an arrangement to accent your largely yellow living room? You’ll want to start with blues and purples out in the garden.
There are a few varieties you can’t go wrong with having in your bed:
Sure, it might seem like these are more trouble than they're worth but many of the leading brands have been putting in the time to make their roses disease resistant and extremely easy to care for. Check out our roses and pick a few of your favorite colors!
P.S. One of our favorites is Bridal Sunblaze®, it’s cream coloring goes with almost anything!
Pink of Blue? You decide based on how you feel in the spring with some hydrangea varieties. Not only will these low-maintenance shrubs add color, but those giant mop-head blooms will also fill a bouquet to the brim and add texture to boot.
- White: Annabelle Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle')
- Blue: Endless Summer® The Original Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer')
- Pink: Endless Summer® Summer Crush® Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmacfive')
- Nature Hills Favorite: Tilt-A-Swirl® Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'QUFU')
- Fan Favorite: First Editions® Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Renhy')
These shrubs bring the “scent” to a bouquet’s multi-sense experience. Plus, as an added bonus, many lilac shrubs are reblooming so you can add them to your spring arrangements and then again later in the summer! Bloomerang Lilacs offer flowers three times a year if you’re lucky!
Not to be confused with trees of the same name, a red twigged dogwood shrub offers an abundant supply of red (and sometimes yellow) twigs to “stick” in any arrangement for added texture.
Other notable Favorites: Viburnum bushes, along with holly offer petite berries along their branches. Cutting a few of those adds another layer of interest to a texture or color-centered arrangement.
Planning Your Flowering Garden #ProPlantTips
The first step in planting your garden is picking the perfect spot. Ideally, you’ll want somewhere out of the way where it won’t get much attention from wanted (and unwanted) guests. The last thing your pretty perennials need is to be trampled by a distracted visitor!
Ideally, this garden bed should be in a spot that gets full sun or perhaps partial shade. Most of the plants you’ll be looking at will want to do quite a bit of basking in the rays. Well drained soil is also very important to growing happy and healthy plants.
If you don’t have any existing beds or new spots with well drained soils, you can always consider installing a raised bed. These are great options because not only can you control the drainage, you’ll be able to perfectly curate the soil composition as well.
This becomes important with plants like hydrangeas, whose mophead blooms can bloom blue or pink depending on soil pH.
Prepare your planting area by weeding. Sure, this flower bed isn’t for winning any landscape contests but your perennials will thank you for not having to compete with weeds for water and nutrients.
When laying out the garden design, remember the ultimate goal is to make precise cuttings. Arranging your flowering shrubs, perennials, and bulb flowers in rows will create gaps that you can use to get up close and personal with each plant as you cut stems.
Plant your shrubs somewhere they won’t end up blocking the sun from their sun-loving neighbors. Or, if you’d like to plant some perennials that like a little afternoon shade, use those larger bushes to block the rays for a couple of hours a day.
Once you have your plants situated in their new home, we suggest adding a layer of mulch around the bases. Again, this isn’t so much for aesthetics like it could be in your other backyard beds. Instead, it’s mostly to act as a weed deterrent and conserve water.
You’ll be astonished by how thirsty these plants are. They require quite a bit of nutrients to continually produce flowers throughout the growing season. Mulch will help but during the hottest months, don’t forget to give your cutting garden a good soak as the soil underneath dries out.
One of the most important parts of maintaining your cutting garden once it’s established is to keep cutting. The more flowers you remove for your bouquets, the more your plants will be encouraged to grow more!
Growing your own arrangements is a great hobby with beautiful results. Keep these #ProPlantTips in mind as you start growing your own bulbs, lilacs, hydrangeas, and more.