Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide
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Cut Flower Gardens

If you grow flowers, You probably cut some as well. Although some gardeners plant special cutting gardens (and seed mixes are available for cut flower gardens) you easily can incorporate flowers for cutting into an existing bed.

Choose tall flower cultivars when planting flowers for cutting. Flowers sold as bedding plants are often dwarf or shorter varieties. Plant your flowers in large groupings to keep your outdoor garden from looking tattered and shopworn after cutting.

Choosing Flowers for Cutting

Many perennial shrubs and stands of perennial flowers are excellent choices for cutting.

Blossoms from spring bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths add a ray of sunshine to your end-of-winter and the lingering fragrance of Siberian iris, lilacs, and peonies brings a breath of spring inside. In addition, cutting flowers from blooming bushes like hydrangea, forsythia, and quince helps keep them in shape with guilt-free pruning. (Who can resist the softness of a pussy willow bouquet?)

sDinner plate dahlias or sunflowers make a dazzling summertime display on your dining room table. Perennials such as phlox, coneflowers, mums, and daisies are cheerful summertime accents and of course, lilies, gladiolus, and roses always make elegant cut flower arrangements.

Make Cut Flowers into a Floral Display

To complete bouquets, consider adding ornamental grasses, ferns, Artemisia or baby's breath… all easily grown in beds and borders. Hosta leaves, with their different colors and textures, are also excellent "fillers" for indoor bouquets.

Make Your Vase Fit Your Cut Flowers

Although cut flowers can make nearly any container into a stylish vase, make sure your vase is clean and both tall and wide enough to display your cut flower bouquet attractively.

If a clear vase is too tall, fill it partly with flower gems, marbles, polished stones, or water-holding crystals. Make sure your accents won't cloud your water by soaking them in a little bleach and water and then rinsing them well before adding them to your vase. Floral foam is great for large opaque vases. Besides shortening the length of your vase, it also holds your flowers in place, which makes for easier arranging.

Preserving Cut Flower Life

Fill your vase about half full of water. For best results, use distilled or purified water. Both the minerals in hard water and the salts in softened water tend to shorten the life of cut flower bouquets. Add a packet of commercially prepared flower preservative to both nourish your cut flowers and discourage bacteria from growing in the water. However, it is very important to follow the directions on the packet to make sure your cut flowers don't get too much of a good thing! An alternative to commercial preparations is a 50-50 mix of lemon-lime soda and water with a drop or two of bleach per gallon of mixture. Use regular soda, not diet; flowers apparently like the calories! Extra homemade flower-water can be stored in your refrigerator, but do let it regain room temperature before use.

Ready — Set — Cut!

Use a piece of string or yarn to measure the length of your vase. Knot the string at the top. Grab a broad mouthed bowl or small bucket and fill it halfway with lukewarm water as well. Rather than a stem-pinching scissors or shears, choose a sharp floral or paring knife for cutting flowers. Now you're ready to head for the garden!

Cutting Flowers →