Cutting Garden plans…inspired!

My birthday bouquet!

D surprised me with a big bouquet of flowers on my birthday last week, and I have truly been enjoying them since. Every day there is a little change, just as there is in the garden, with some flowers slightly changing in color as they fade and new buds opening. I find myself fiddling with it nearly every day to put the prettiest flowers facing my reading chair, and turning it when I am here at the computer. Watching to see which flowers last longest has become a priority. I also received a birthday check from my mother. It was a birthday check from my mother that bought the first seeds that began my first herb farm. That $25 was the “Seed” that grew into a very valuable piece of property and business, along with a lot of hard work, of course, and help from my wonderful children, and probably more luck than I’m aware of even now. But, I digress….

Looking at my bouquet has inspired me to do a better job with my Cutting Garden this year. I know, loyal readers are shaking their heads and thinking “she says that every year, but little change is made and rarely is a stem cut for a bouquet.” And, gentle readers, you would be entirely correct. I admit, that I’d rather leave the flowers in the gardens for not only my enjoyment, but for all the butterflies and other pollinators. And, during the growing season I’m really only in the house to sleep, so why bring flowers indoors unless one is entertaining? BUT, the enjoyment I am feeling with this bouquet has triggered a desire to bring that happy feeling to others: People who don’t have a garden of flowers to enjoy, as I am blessed in having. So 2021 is going to be the year the Cutting Garden actually serves its stated purpose. It’s going to become bouquets, which will go to people in our local nursing homes, or shut-ins who are feeling isolated. With that goal in mind, the tradition of spending my mother’s gift on seeds is continuing, this time with the Cutting Garden in mind and yet another seed order has been placed! (I bet you are not surprised at that statement either 🙂

Here’s what is coming for the bouquets:

This is a new one to me, so obviously I need it!
  1. Blue Thimble flower…1-2′ tall, 1-2″ ball blooms of blue June-frost (so they say, we’ll see!) A sun-loving annual, which is good because the Cutting Garden is in full sun all day.
Calendulas are always welcome.

2. Calendula “Bronze Beauty”. Calendulas are a staple in the potager, but these beauties are a new color, and destined for the Cutting Garden. To help them last longer, they’ll go in the shade of taller neighbors, since they don’t tolerate heat well, but they will provide lots of early color for bouquets.

Strawflowers extend the season.

3. Strawflower “Apricot Shades”…I used to plant 500 strawflowers, back when I grew dried flowers for wholesale, and for wreath-making for shows. They make a long-lasting cut flower when fresh, and can be dried for fall bouquets after frost as well.

I can almost smell the fragrance!

4. Sweet Pea “Mollie Rileston”-cream flowers with a coral edge. I fell in love with sweet peas last year, and hope they do as well this season.

Hopefully, it will really be this orange and not red!

5. Sweet Pea “Henry Eckford”-supposedly a true orange sweet pea, named for a famous breeder. The sweet peas will all go on trellises in the potager, since any planted outside the fence last year were quickly devoured by the rabbits!

These will be corms, not seeds.

6. Ranunculus “Cafe Au Lait”-I’m excited to try growing ranunculus for the first time. They probably won’t like our short spring that turns into summer so quickly, but I have a couple of ideas to make them happier. Hopefully the corms arrive SOON, so they can get an early start!

So, these are joining the 40 or so other varieties that are already either in, or soon will be in the 2021 Cutting Garden. Let’s just see how many bouquets can be made to bless some other flower lovers this year. I hope they like shades of orange, apricot, blues, purples, yellow, and white!

About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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28 Responses to Cutting Garden plans…inspired!

  1. Lovely. Inspiring thoughts for summer. We all need this at this time of year. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. J.Q. Rose says:

    What a thoughtful way to enjoy your flowers–by sharing them with others. My friend grows prize-winning dahlias. He is always cutting some to give away. I believe a vase of flowers, especially in the dark winter and during this COVID crisis, uplifts spirits. Until the flowers fade and have to be thrown away!! I agree about leaving the flowers outdoors to enjoy in the summer. I love sitting on my deck and perusing the view. Can you share a list of the 50 varieties of flowers you have in your cut flower garden? Or perhaps some of the winners you have luck with? We are in Michigan in the summer. Thank you.
    JQ Rose

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      The Cutting Garden list is one of the pages on the blog, so you can just click on it. Hopefully, Covid will be only a memory by the time the flowers bloom, but flowers are always a welcome gift, not only for their beauty but for the recognition that someone cares, and it’s likely that loneliness for some will continue.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. bcparkison says:

    I would enjoy having enough for the bees, the neighbors and the kitchen table. Need to work on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. nandajurela says:

    What an uplifting idea!

    Like

  5. I used to grow straw flowers every summer and never thought to dry them! I just enjoyed their swaying in the breeze outside my bedroom window. I think this year I will add them back into my garden. Thank you for the reminder (and the inspiration).

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    • carolee says:

      Do cut them while the centers are still closed. If picked later, when that center disc is open they will puff out like a dandelion when dried! I prefer the look of the flower with the center closed, but if you like it open, you can spray it with a couple of coats of hair spray and that will prevent the explosion. Enjoy!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Tamara Brown says:

    I have always been reluctant to cut flowers and bring them inside when I can be out enjoying them along with the insects, but bouquets for shut-ins and nursing homes is a wonderful idea! I’m going to try growing sweet peas this year if the rabbits will leave me any.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      I so enjoy your blog, and I’m pretty certain your will be successful growing sweet peas, although I think you are further south than I am, so more heat may pose a problem. Do put something around them to protect them. I tried three times to grow them on the outside of my fence, and all three times the rabbits ate them, despite chili powder and flakes, soap mixtures, and spray deterrents. Inside the fence last year, they were a breeze to grow!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. cassandriel says:

    Your flower choices are so beautiful! I am starting my first cutting garden this year, and now I have a few new varieties I want to add from your list, particularly the straw flowers!

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    • carolee says:

      How exciting to begin a new project! The hard part is limiting the choices to the space you have, and finding flowers that do well where you live that can extend the season of bouquets at each end. I’m sure whatever you choose to grow will be beautiful, because all flowers have merit (but not all flowers make good cut flowers!)

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  8. Carolee, I truly enjoy taking bouquets of fresh flowers to the assisted living memory care home where my mother lived. I’ve been thinking about what I might want to plant this year so that I can add more variety to my zinnia (primarily) bouquets. I love the suggestions in your post. I received a gift certificate too…might be a good way to spend it.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Zinnias are the backbone of most bouquets, and rightly so, but I’m having fun finding some new things to add. We gardeners do love to experiment! Love that you still take flowers to the facility that was home to your mother. How very thoughtful! I’ve been thinking about making the bouquets a bit smaller, so I can include some for the care-givers as well…they deserve a bit of cheer as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a touching and beautiful post! Sweet story about your mother. You’ve re-inspired me to plant strawflowers and to try ranunculus again. I think the latter are not eaten by the gophers in our area, but they do push bulbs and corms out of the ground, so I’ll have to figure that out. I have to ration most of the gopher proofed garden beds for veggies. It’s very inspiring — your plan to share the flowering beauty with those who cannot go outside right now. Thanks for this uplifting post.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Don’t know why it took me so long to realize the Cutting Garden could be just as useful to others as the potager is! Duh! We don’t have gophers, but I think our squirrels make up for that! Best of luck in the coming season with your flowers and veggies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Squirrels must be a challenge! I’m curious what you have to do to protect your garden from them. Would love to hear if you have time to reply or post about it. Thanks for your wonderful blog! Hope 2021 is a great year for you and your garden too.

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  10. jorjagrael says:

    Ok, now you’re just giving me ideas!

    Like

  11. Your bouquets will bring so much joy to people with no garden of their own! You are such a generous soul! I hope you get great enjoyment from growing them too.

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