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How to Create a Cutting Garden

Here’s a step-by-step guide that’ll have you in centerpiece heaven before you can even say “Snip.”

By Madaline Sparks
Flower bouquetsChristina Schmidhofer

Step 8: Maintain and Replant

Throughout the growing season, plants need consistent moisture. If Mother Nature cooperates with at least one inch of rainfall per week, you should be covered. More likely, however, you’ll have to make up the difference with hand watering or a drip irrigation system. Cutting stems regularly and removing faded blossoms will encourage plants to keep blooming as frequently and for as long as possible. To give heavy blooming plants a boost—especially later in the season when they tend to slow down—every couple of weeks apply a liquid fertilizer dissolved in water. When early season annuals and bulbs are finished, pull them out, cultivate the soil a little, toss in a tablespoon of granular fertilizer, and replant the area with new seedlings of later blooming flowers like zinnia or chrysanthemum.

Step 9: Harvest (Blooms and Compliments)

Do your cutting during the coolest part of the day—early morning—and bring a tall container of tepid water along with you. Plunge the stems into the water immediately after snipping them to prolong their vase life. When you’re back inside and ready to start arranging, make a fresh cut on the stems and add a floral preservative to the water to further prolong their lives.

What to Plant

Flowering shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses, and even succulents make excellent candidates for mixed bouquets. Don’t limit your choices to what you plant in your cutting garden only. Judicious cutting and pruning around your entire yard can result in spectacular and interesting arrangements. (Note: Cutting Gardens, by Anne Halpin and Betty Mackey, is an excellent guidebook for planning, growing, and arranging flowers.) Here’s a partial list of some of the plants to consider for your garden.

• Ageratum (floss flower)
• Cleome (spider flower)
• Cosmos
• Dianthus
• Gomphrena (globe amaranth)
• Gypsophila (baby's breath)
• Marigold
• Nicotiana (flowering tobacco)
• Nigella damascena (love in a mist)
• Pansy
• Phlox
• Snapdragon
• Sunflower
• Sweet pea
• Verbena bonariensis
• Zinnia

• Achillea (yarrow)
• Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle)
• Aster
• Carnation
• Chrysanthemum
• Coral bells
• Delphinium
• Dianthus (pinks)
• Echinacea (purple coneflower)
• Heuchera (coral bells)
• Lavender
• Leucanthemum (shasta daisy)
• Lupine
• Paeonia (peony)
• Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan)
• Solidago (goldenrod)
• Veronica

• Coleus
• Dusty miller
• Eucalyptus
• Euphorbia (snow on the mountain)
• Ferns
• Flowering cabbage
• Flowering kale
• Hosta
• Sage, tricolor

Read More About:Flowers

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