In winter, you have to depend on your local florist for the cut flowers to add fragrance, color and beauty to your home. Those flowers were flown in from someplace warm and then transported by truck from a wholesaler to your retail florist. That’s hardly sustainable for the environment.
When planning your landscape improvement projects for the coming growing season, why not include a three-season cutting garden? Then you’ll only have to go to your backyard for your flowers. It’ll save you time and money but, better yet, it’ll benefit the environment, rather than use valuable resources.
A cutting garden may look like one of your annual, perennial or bulb bed but there are subtle differences. Your flower gardens should be for beauty to be enjoyed in place. The plant heights should also be nearly the same or tiered so the highest plants are in the back and grow progressively shorter so they make an attractive array.
A cutting garden is a production garden. You are producing as many flowers as you want for decorating your home. That may include only enough for a centerpiece on the table each night for dinner or you may want to include bouquets throughout the house. High production and low maintenance should be your goal. One way to do that is to plant close together to discourage weeds.
Cutting garden designs are as varied as any garden design. You may want it to blend in with your other beds or you may want a more utilitarian design. Regardless of your design, it will look nicer if you plant separate beds for flowers that bloom in spring, summer and fall. This way you’ll be harvesting from one bed per season. It’s best to select plants that produce long stem flowers that all grow to approximately the same height. That makes arranging bouquets much easier. You can always cut off some stem, if necessary, but you can’t add to it.
Utilitarian beds can be laid out similarly to an edible garden. A nice, neat design defines each bed with a border of railroad ties, dimensional lumber like 6x6s, bricks or pavers with stone or paver paths between them. Raised beds can make maintenance and harvesting even easier. When designing your beds, whether raised or at ground level, make them only as wide as you can reach from the paths. You don’t want to disturb plants that haven’t bloomed when trying to harvest those blooming in the bed’s interior.
A wide range of options for selecting plants are available. If you are confident of your plant savvy, select the individual plants yourself from your garden center. If you have doubts, garden centers and online garden supply sites sell seed mixtures, so you just have to plant the seeds and wait for a nice selection of flowers to grow. If you’d rather confine your efforts to cutting the flowers, our landscape design and installation professionals would be happy to select the plants that best suit your taste, construct the garden and plant the seeds.
As for winter, the only alternative to buying flowers from your florist is a greenhouse, and we’d be happy to work with you to design and build one of them.