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By Kathy Jentz
A home full of fresh-cut flowers is a welcoming, warm place. When those flowers come from your very own garden it is even more rewarding. It is a joy each time you look at the blooms t in your own home or at your work place to know they came from your own labor of love. A hand-cut bouquet from your own garden is always the perfect gift. When you grow a cutting garden, you’ll have plenty to gather for yourself and to share.
The cutting garden is simply a bed of flowers and foliage plants which the gardener has grown specifically to use in flower arrangements. Often situated at the backs of vegetable beds, along the sides of houses, and skirting fence lines, the cutting garden is a practical alternative to the age-old gardener dilemma of not wanting to cut your most beautiful blooms from your carefully landscaped gardens.
When designing a cutting garden, there is no need to worry about the overall looks of the growing beds as you will be using it for continual materials for your flower arrangements. Pick a site with full sun and good drainage. Cutting gardens can be started from seed, much as you would your vegetable garden, or you can use divisions from your perennial plants. You may also purchase an assortment of potted annuals to add to the mix.
Your cutting garden can be a place for experimenting with new plants and colors that you would not have otherwise chosen in your landscaped beds. A few tips to make yours a success include planting in wide rows for easy harvesting, deadheading regularly to promote flower (nor seed) production, and choosing a variety of early, mid, and late season flowers.
When making selections of plants for a cutting garden, the plant choices are almost endless. You may want to stick to those annuals and perennials that are long-stemmed, sturdy, and do well once severed from their host plant. Here is a list of suggested cutting garden flowers and foliage plants suitable for growing the greater Washington metropolitan area:
- Black-Eyed Susan
- Shasta Daisy
- Verbena bonariensis
Of course, you can always supplement your cutting garden arrangements with flowers, grasses, branches, and foliage cut from other plants in your gardens, but having a growing bed dedicated just for cutting purposes encourages you to use them more and to not worry about the old “to cut or not” debate.
Pick-Your-Own Cut Flower Farms
If you don’t have the growing space, time, or inclination to grow a cutting garden of your own, you can visit a Pick-Your-Own flower farm. Blooms at pick-you-own flower patches are generally available in the DC-area from July to the first frost, though some open as early as May. Plan a trip this summer to any of the following area farms to gather bouquets full of zinnias, gladiolus, celosia, sunflowers, and much more.
Many area cut flower growers like Farmhouse Flowers & Plants in Brookeville, MD, sell their blooms at farmer’s markets every weekend. You can also make an appointment to come and pick your own for large events such as weddings. Call first before your visit any cut flower farms to verify hours, what is in bloom, and availability.
22200 Davis Mill Road
Field of Flowers
37879 Allder School Road
13710 Schaeffer Road
Rock Hill Orchard
28600 Ridge Road
Mount Airy, MD
Kathy is working her way through her own long garden to-do list including adding a new beds to grow more flowers from seed for cutting this year. She is the editor of Washington Gardener magazine (www.WashingtonGardener.com) and a long-time DC area gardening enthusiast. Kathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and welcomes your gardening questions.
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