Bouquet blessings

This bouquet went to my sister-in-law…

The Cutting Garden is bursting with color now, so I’m trying to make a “gift” bouquet almost every other day. It’s pretty easy to put together a handful of colorful blooms, and it seems even easier to find someone who needs them to brighten their world. Just this week in the Cutting Garden, new varieties joined the team.

My first ever “dwarf hardy gladiola.”

Over the winter, I found myself reading more flower farm blogs, which resulted in ordering some new things for cutting. I’ve grown gladiolas before, but never the dwarf “hardy” type. So far, I’m not thrilled because only about half of the bulbs came up, and they are taller than I expected. But, for those who like pink they do look good in a bouquet. And actually, many of my “apricot” flowers can lean toward pink so they partner very well. I’ll evaluate later on, and decide if they make the list again next year.

Orange gomphrena

I almost missed the first orange gomphrena, hiding beneath a feverfew blossom. We used to grow these by the thousands, and picked 100 bunches each evening before we quit for the day. They add a pop of color to bouquets, and if dried hold their color for years. I’m already wishing I’d planted more.

“Blue” lupine

Lupines were added to the Cutting Garden this year. I haven’t grown them for over forty years because I thought they only did well in a cooler area than our hot Indiana summers. But, this year I thought I’d give them a try and started seeds of “Gallery Blue.” The first one that bloomed was pure white, and this second one is deep purple. It’s been interesting, as many of the seeds purchased have not been what was printed on the package. Maybe I’ll do a post to show them all. However, I’m not complaining about these lupines, because I didn’t even expect them to bloom their first season. I haven’t yet cut any for bouquets because I like them in the garden, but may when there are more.

Rudbeckia “Chim Chimnee”

The stalwarts of current bouquets are the rudbeckia. I especially like “Chim Chimnee” for it’s quilled petals and the wide range of colors and sizes. They are a bit smaller than the basic yellow “Gloriosa Daisy” types, so they work very well in arrangements. They come up every year, and self-seed if allowed.

Statice “Apricot”

There are only a few statice plants left in the Cutting Garden, having succumbed to the rabbits before the bunny fence was installed. The blue ones haven’t even budded yet, but the apricot shades are ready to pick. There may not be enough after fresh bouquets are made all summer, but if there are stems remaining they can be dried for use in autumn and winter arrangements.


The strawflowers are budded and will be opening soon if this heat continues. I’m a bit suspicious of the final color, as the buds look surprisingly dark for a pale apricot bloom. We used to grow these by the thousands as well in all different colors, but only the “Apricot shades” were sown this year. They can be used fresh or dried as well.

The first sunflower of the year!

I can’t take credit for this volunteer sunflower, which was the first one to bloom this year. It was planted by the birds, and they made a good choice. It’s a lovely lemon shade, and the plant is a branching variety filled with buds that promise many more flowers in the coming weeks. While not technically in the Cutting Garden proper, it will certainly contribute to the gift bouquets regardless of its location.

Leek blooms

For regular readers, remember a post way back when I said I’d never seen a leek bloom? A few were left in the potager purposely to see what happens. The flowers opened this week, and they are stunning. Nearly 5″ across and a pretty pale lavender, I’m having a bit of trouble picturing the patriots of Wales wearing them in their hats during battle, but that’s the old lore. Before I put them in a gift bouquet, I’ll bring one into the house for a few days to see if that notorious onion odor is going to be ruinous or not.

Zinnia “Cresto”

The first of the zinnias appeared this week as well. These are the “Cresto Orange” but you can see that they vary from orange to yellow, and in flower form as well. Some have the pom-pom center, which is what they are supposed to be, and some are just the standard single form that the butterflies seem to prefer. I’ll be using them all, regardless of form or color because they are sturdy performers. Still being cut are snapdragons, feverfew, larkspur, cutting celery blooms, dill flowers, the tall verbena, roses, and mint for foliage so there’s a lot of variety in each bouquet.

I’m a bit surprised by how much I am enjoying making bouquets. For years, I’ve resisted cutting flowers because I preferred seeing them in the gardens. But, back in the Cutting Garden behind the potager no one notices that the blooms disappear, and the smiles on the faces that receive the bouquets more than compensate! And, there are still things to learn, which is making this gardening season more fun! Happy growing!


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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17 Responses to Bouquet blessings

  1. bcparkison says:

    How lovely that you share your garden .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful! I have such a hard time cutting our flowers because I just love seeing them in the garden. Our zinnias grow right in front of our garden fence so we notice right away when some blooms go missing. Maybe one day I’ll grow an abundance and become a bouquet lover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      I totally understand the reluctance to remove flower from the living bouquet that is a garden. It wasn’t until I dedicated an out of the way space as a Cutting Garden that I overcame it…and still some flowers, like the purple lupine just seem more admirable in the garden than fading quickly in a bouquet.


  3. swesely says:

    I love your bouquets, the concept of a cutting garden, and your flower selections. Apricot is one of my favorite colors, too. The leek flowers look marvelous, so I hope they aren’t offensive to the nose. My best spot for a cutting garden is occupied by orange day lilies, mulched with river rock. They came with the house, and I haven’t had the energy to dig them out, and can’t even give the away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      My Cutting Garden is a slope formed by bulldozing all the topsoil away to make a level potager! It’s pathetic soil, but is improving a bit each year as put a little compost in each planting hole (it’s HEAVY clay) and usually put a layer of mulch on after planting. Haven’t done that yet this year, but I will as soon as things settle down a bit and I can dedicate my truck to hauling rather than travel!


      • swesely says:

        I need to plant with compost for the opposite reason – soil is not quite sand, but VERY free-draining. What do you use for mulch? I have been using wood chips, because I can get them for free.


      • carolee says:

        I use wood chips (free also) and a layer of my homemade “compost” in fall. I say compost in quotes, because there is no manure layer in my mixture, only trimmings, weeds, some grass clippings, and kitchen scraps…and I never turn it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. How lovely for your friends to receive such beautiful bouquets! I enjoyed reading about all of the different flowers you are growing. I also hesitate to cut flowers, but always enjoy them when I do!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Going Batty in Wales says:

    You are such a generous soul Carolee with your gift bouquets – who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive one? – and all you grow for the plant sales. Last weekend I decided to pick some flowers from my garden and the hedgerows to enjoy them in the house and enjoyed them so much I am determined to do it more often.


  6. Mamalava says:

    A cutting garden-what a beautiful thing! As someone with a very brown thumb, I know it isn’t also easy as your photos make it look! Amazing job!


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