Incorporate cutting flowers in your garden with perennial cultivars

by Claudi Speed, Master Gardener

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Do you have fond memories of your child running to you, outstretched hands clutching flowers, some with just heads and some with stems attached, saying, "Mommy, mommy, pretty flowers for you?"

Our tender hearts soon realize that we do not have any of those blossoms in our garden, so where were they growing? We can start growing our own cutting garden.

Some people cannot bear to cut blossoms because they want to just enjoy them outside. There is an easy solution for that if you have the extra space, and there are even seed mixes available for a mixed or single color planting that you can tuck away just for that purpose.

If you, like me, love to cut the flowers and share them with friends, you will find it easy to just incorporate cutting flowers into your existing flower beds.

You might want to choose tall perennial flower cultivars available that produce all season. Purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans (our Florida state wildflower) are a joy as they bloom well into fall.

Colorful annuals are wonderful selections as they are enthusiastic bloomers and cheerfully repay you with more blossoms if they are regularly picked. Why not choose all your favorites and have a palette of colors to please the eye and is a great selection from which to choose?

You will find different stem lengths can be used throughout your house - from miniature vases to table arrangements.

Think of the great foliage plants we can have in our gardens when blooming season is over. For the Christmas season, sago palms can be cut green and shaped, dried or sprayed colors. Holly, ginger leaves, variegated privets and boxwood are other options. The list is limited only by your imagination. Add some fresh white flowers or glistening glass balls.

Herbs aren't just for cooking. Try herb bouquets using fragrant combinations of lavender, spikes of foxglove, basil, feathery dill, bronze fennel, pale sage, piney scented rosemary, lemon balm, and for trailing, thyme, oregano or mint.

Think how impressed your guests will be to find a miniature bouquet of the same herbs tied with a small ribbon at their place settings to take home.

An extra bonus is that these herbs can dry in your basket or container and perhaps be moved to your kitchen. Just think, what could be more fun than eating your bouquet?

Cut flowers in early morning or late afternoon to avoid the sun. With a bucket of warm water waiting, remove excess foliage, recut the stems and plunge into water for a few hours.

The warm water is important as it allows the flowers to drink more quickly and prevent wilting. Choose your container and be creative with your own arrangement.

If you look at your garden with an eye for color and cutting, I think you will realize that every shrub, herb, tree, perennial, annual, and even the blooming weeds that crop up can be used for your cutting garden.

Master Gardener Claudie Speed lives in Fernandina Beach and is an active volunteer with the Nassau County Extension Service. For information on the Master Gardener program and application requirements, contact Becky Jordi at 530-6350 or rljordi@ufl.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Claudie Speed

Claudie Speed lives on Amelia Island and is an active Master Gardener volunteer.