Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grow a cutting garden

When we first moved into our house nearly 10 years ago, our friend Lucy was moving out of her home. That’s why she gave us several perennial plants. She had tended them so lovingly that she couldn’t bear to leave them behind. So we began our garden with:
Bee Balm
Holly Hocks
Coral Bells

Although I had been raising an organic vegetable garden or a few years, flowers were new to me. So we dug up a circle in the front yard big enough for everything and I turned it into our Marian garden, a family tradition I wanted to continue. Before I planted I had to look up each plant to see how large it would grow and where I should put it.

Although the poppies and bee balm only lived one year, and Jim unknowingly cut the down the clematis so it’s likely gone, everything else thrived and spread. That’s one of the beauties of perennial flowers intended for your region.

However, all of these flowers aren’t ideal for cutting and one of my favorite things to do to get an outdoors break on a hard work day is to cut flowers and arrange them in a vase to place somewhere in the house. Luckily, other friends also shared flowers. Jim brought lilac bushes from his old house. His sisters gave us irises, day lilies, phlox and peonies. Another friend gave us Asiatic lilies (plus our raspberries that have proliferated). A co-worker passed on some columbines that now cover half of a front garden and my parents gave us daisies, lilies of the valley and a flowering cactus. All of these plants are still growing, although some better than others depending on how the light in our garden has shifted due to dying and growing trees.

In addition to all of that, we bought hostas for the shade garden, black-eyes Susans (like the coneflower, it's ideal in Kentucky) numerous herbs, six rose bushes and a few annuals. Depending on the time of the year, that usually gives me a choice of one to a few flowers to cut for an arrangement. I prefer to use flowers with a tall, strong stem. At this time of year, that makes lilacs ideal. Yesterday I mixed them with a few sprigs from a redbud tree.

When cutting flowers to bring inside, remember to cut on an angle and strip the stem of leaves that will be below the water line. Mix the height of the flowers and add sugar to the water. If the flowers can live inside for several days, take them out on day two or three, trim the bottoms and put in fresh water to prolong their life.

I’m still searching for more flowers that are good for cutting. Now my question is—when I find them, where will I put them?

No comments:

Post a Comment