Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Though we’re just barely over Christmas, the seed companies and garden centers are already making plan for a new season. For 2005, they will have a number of new, exciting varieties that are suitable for cutting gardens.
Let’s start with the zinnias. These are the quintessential cut flower during the summer and fall months. This year there’s a new color in the Profusion series. Profusion Fire zinnia offers beautiful scarlet-orange flowers that are perfect for quick and easy bouquets. The plants are about 1˝ feet in height, and have attractive dark green foliage.
The Magellan zinnia series includes five colors. These can’t be beat when it comes to flower quality and earliness to bloom. The sturdy, robust plants have strong stems. They consistently produce flowers all season long. The plants are 1-1˝ feet in height. The colors include Coral, Pink, Orange, Scarlet, and Yellow. Magellan Coral has been named an All-America Selections winner for 2005.
For 2005, a wonderful new red-flowering sweet pea is being introduced. Villa Roma sweet pea reaches about 2˝ feet in height. The sweetly scented blooms are produced in abundance. If you don’t have enough room in your cutting garden, grow them in a container of some sort. The plants are dwarf and bushy.
In addition, there is a taller sweet pea that is very heat resistant. Old Spice Ocean Foam sweet pea grows to about 6 feet in height. The extremely fragrant blossoms range from frothy cream or light blue to mid blue. These are two inches across.
Black eyed Susans are a good choice for cut flower gardens. For 2005, Maya black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is being introduced. This is the very first dwarf, double flowering black eyed Susan. These will appear throughout the summer months. Produced on strong stems, the blooms are up to 4˝ inches across.
In addition, there is a new bicolor black eyed Susan. Becky Cinnamon Bicolor black eyed Susan is extremely heat and drought tolerant. Growing to almost a foot in height, this is a compact variety. It features blooms up to six inches across.
For bouquets and summer arrangements, plant some of the new quick blooming lavender. Lavender Spanish Eyes blooms in about ten to twelve weeks from the time of sowing. The wonderfully fragrant flower spikes appear all summer long. The plants tolerate extreme heat. Spanish Eyes grows to about 1˝-2 feet in height. This is best grown as an annual. It is perfect for container gardens if you run out of room in your cutting garden.
There’s an exciting new foxglove being introduced in 2005. This belongs in every cutting garden. The series includes Camelot Rose and Lavender foxgloves. These bloom reliably the first year the seeds are planted. In addition, they re-bloom heavily the following year. The plants can be up to four feet tall. They have strong, sturdy stems and high quality blooms.
Cosmos is a favorite choice for cutting gardens. For 2005, there’s Psyche White cosmos. This annual is quite tolerant of heat. It is suited to full sun. These plants can reach four feet in height, and do best if they are staked. They have a spread of about three feet. The delicate-looking semi-double blooms are pure white. They’re up to three inches across.
Every cutting garden should have some bellflowers or campanulas. Heavenly Blue campanula is an annual. Its striking light blue blossoms are star-shaped. They have a very long vase life. Heavenly Blue campanula can grow to about three feet in height, and can have multiple stems with lots of blooms on each one.
The annual larkspurs are often seen in cutting gardens. For 2005, look for Parisian Pink larkspur. This is being introduced by Renee’s Garden Seeds. Renee's specializes in the finest varieties of specialty flowers, gourmet vegetables, and herbs. The stems are especially suitable for bouquets and other spring arrangements. The strong stems are three to five feet in height. They have florist-quality flower spikes in numerous hues of rose-pink with a hint of salmon. In addition, Renee's has numerous other varieties of interest to cut flower growers. Renee's Seeds should be available at retail outlets as well as online at the website. Please see the link in the right corner of the page.
For 2005, Renee's is introducing several other varieties that make great cut flowers, including Chocolate Cherry sunflower, Regal Robe Bouquet sweet pea, and Pastel Sunset Classic sweet pea.
Seeds of these varieties should be available by mail-order and at local garden centers/nurseries. Plants should also be for sold as well.