Plan now for a beautiful flower cutting garden

When growing flowers for cutting, focus on a garden that will provide you with a good supply of flowers throughout the season.

Spring has sprung, and gardeners are getting ready to garden. As I plan my 2017 garden like many of you, I comb through seed catalogs for the tasty new vegetable varieties to add to the staples of my garden. Although I love fresh vegetables from the garden, what I find more exciting is planning for any space I can find in my current planting beds to grow flowers for cutting.

I love planting a few new varieties of flowers for cutting along with the tried-and-true varieties I have depended on for years. I personally love cut flowers in my house all year round—it is one of my indulgences. I enjoy them more when I can go into my garden and fill my home with colorful, vibrant, long-lasting blooms. Starting with peonies and iris in the spring and hydrangeas in the summer, right through to fall with the last show of vibrant zinnias.

It is great to have a few flowering shrubs and perennials to use for cutting that are the backbone of your flower garden, but nothing shouts “look at me” more than bright, bold annuals. With the use of the internet, cut flower gardening books and seed company recommendations, planning your annual cutting garden has never been easier. Good sources include university sites from land-grant universities, agriculture or horticulture departments, online information or printed catalogs from your favorite seed company and garden-related periodicals. Also, with the hundreds of ideas from Pinterest, you will be growing bouquets to fill your home and share with friends all summer long.

What is nice about growing flowers and even vegetables from seed is you have a much greater variety of plants to pick from. Seeds are reasonably priced and you can start them early or direct sow many into the garden. Another advantage to planting seeds is you can plant succession plantings so your crops can be timed to produce or flower when needed.

According to Horticulture Magazine’s article, “Designing and Growing the Cutting Garden,” designing a cutting garden is less complicated than a traditional flower garden. When planning a traditional flower garden, there is much more consideration to the details, bloom time, plant size and coordinating complimentary colors. In a cutting garden, you only need to focus on flowers that will provide you with a good supply of flowers throughout the season. The biggest consideration is having your garden planned for easy care and harvest.

When selecting flowers for cutting, there are a few things to take into consideration:

  • Planting zone. According to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, Michigan has three zones: 4, 5 and 6.
  • The types of flowers you enjoy, including texture, size and color.
  • Foliage of the flowers or other plants grown specifically for their foliage.
  • Varieties that are good for cut flowers.

Here are a couple of articles to get you started as you begin adding to your cut flower garden or starting a new one from scratch:

In the next several Michigan State University Extension articles, I will share some fun information on traditional flowers for your cutting garden, extending the vase life and some hints on designing with garden flowers.

Other articles in series:

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