Cut Flower Gardens
Floral decorative use of the provincial ‘cut’ flower brings the air of the outdoors to inside of the home. Gaining in popularity with CSAs, home use, and local Floral greenhouses; cutting gardens are seen throughout or are being created by homeowners.
Where to begin…
To start your own cut flower garden I highly recommend on making a plan. Draw out where you want it. Make sure it gets plenty of sun and a water source is readily available. A cut flower garden far away from the hose’s length will not be ideal to meet the flowers needs.
Plant in rows with each specific flower, it will be easy to cut quickly and maintenance.
If planting starts, always pinch the flower buds off. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but pinching off the first flower buds with annuals will result in bigger and numerous blooms.
Plant in succession. Know your seasons. Most annuals do best in late May here in western Massachusetts.
Annuals vs Perennials
Cut flowers vary from perennials to annuals whereas the annuals have the advantage because cutting the flower from the base promotes consistent growth of new flowers. Perennials take longer to regenerate new blooms and they are not as vibrant as the first.
To plant annuals or perennials? I say plant both. Black Eyed Susan’s, Echinacea, Peonies, and Eryginum that are amazing cut flowers! Chart the plot with one side being devoted to perennials and the other side devoted to annuals. This will help with maintenance and adding amendments to the soil for optimum growth.
FERTILIZE!!! You want floral quality cuttings? You must fertilize with 20-20-20 fertilizer.
Pest control: Correctly identify the pest and find the best solution for controlling it. Sadly if it’s a onslaught it might be best to just get rid of the host plants. IPM measures using beneficial insects like ichneumon wasps and lady bugs do not work for outside gardens because they may not stay on the sick plant because they will, well fly away for sicker plants. Horticultural oil and Neem oil usually gets rid of most pests that harm annual flowers.
In the fall cutback perennial flowers; dig up the spring planted bulbs like Dahilas and Gladiolas for storage; and remove all annuals. During the winter months plan your new season of cut flowers and ordering seeds or bare roots from your favorite supplier.