For all of you who love to bring the beauty of the garden into the home, this has been our year. Beginning in the early spring with the lilacs and peonies and then following with the lilies.
Now is the time of year a cutting garden comes into it’s own. Traditionally the cutting garden consists of flowering annuals, many varieties shine at this time of year. When I was a young girl my Mom took a class on Japanese flower arrangements, she would spend many hours trying out different vase designs, we always had fresh flowers in the house. Mom had her favorites and among those were the early spring pansies and the summer loving zinnia’s. Mom’s last summer with us was the summer of 1996. Every other day that year we would stop by with fresh tomatoes and zinnias from the cutting garden. I miss my Mom and with every vase of flowers I arrange, I think of her.
My annual cutting garden consists of zinnia, cosmos, snaps, bachelor button, poppies and sunflowers. This year I tried a number of new zinnia varieties among those were the new Queen hybrids, both Lime and Red Lime. Green flowers are a great addition to any vase. Both these varieties were great producers. The new Uproar types include new color tones, Uproar Rose, Uproar Wine, Uproar Cherry. These flowers were huge often 4-5 inches and brilliant in color. For the front of the border, I grew the Zahara mix Raspberry Lemonade. This collection of lower growing zinnias include Starlight Rose one of the 2010 AAS award winners along with its cousins, Coral Rose, yellow and white and the combination has been glorious! These bloom profusely at 12-18″ tall.
Cosmos another longtime favorite, is so easy to grow and has many new types come to market of late. I always grow Seashells with trumpet shaped petals, Sweet Dreams that is a white with a center of soft rose. Double-Click is a fully double type in shades of white, pink and the new cranberry. My new addition this year was Pink Popsicles, this type has double pompoms in the center and is mostly candy pink in color.
In the Snapdragon world, I like to grow a mixture of heirloom varieties so that I can collect seed each year for the following season. I love butterfly snaps, for the open flower and color range. I also grow the old fashion Rocket mix, tall growing and very reliable.
Annual bachelor buttons offer the blue we so often look for in the garden, many old fashion types available from seed, remember though they love to reseed.
Annual poppies have been my disappointment this year, this wet weather proved to be to difficult for them to flourish. Beautiful in vase, remember if you grow them for cutting you must seal the stem with a match or by submerging the stem in hot water. This process seals the sap within the stem so that it can last in the vase.
The Sunflower world has grown so, many types are now pollen-less and this makes them much easier to include in your bouquets. In lovely colors from pale yellow to fiery red and all the shades in between with many different heights and growth habits.
With all these wonderful flowers to arrange don’t forget to add foliage. This year I had a bumper crop of Rainbow swiss chard, these leaves added such a color punch, I’m going to add them to the cutting garden next year. Hosta leaves can give your bouquet great backbones. Don’t forget the herbs, they add fragrance as well as foliage in your vase. Try Opal basil, a deep purple leaved basil, or lemon Basil. Sage is a bold addition. My lavender is blooming and looks great. Parsley is beautiful as well as dill in the arrangements.
With the cutting garden I have no excuse not to follow Mom’s lead and I will try to always enjoy fresh flowers in the vase.