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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!