Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Summer is on its way. Meanwhile there’s still lots of time to plant a cutting garden.
Annuals are perfect for cutting gardens. Harvest as many as you like. The more you cut, the more they will bloom.
Start with annuals that are easy to grow. These would include ageratum, baby’s breath, bachelor’s button, bishop’s flower, calendula—also known as pot marigold, celosia, cosmos, marigold, scabious, sunflower, and zinnia.
To serve our needs a cutting garden needs to have a wide assortment of flowers with interesting shapes and colors. Annuals can supply these.
Daisy-like blooms are the basis for many arrangements. They’re suitable for all occasions. However we need filler flowers, such as baby’s breath, and foliage as well. Tall spiky blooms and ones with novel shapes are needed to serve as focal points and contrast. Examples of these would be Bells of Ireland, celosia, eustoma-also known as lisianthus--globe amaranth, and statice.
Renee’s Garden offers the best varieties of flowers, vegetables, and fruits. These should be available at local garden centers and elsewhere. They have a wide assortment of flowers for the cutting garden, including love-in-a-mist. This has delicate, uniquely shaped blooms and intriguing seedpods. Among Renee’s choices are Mulberry Rose with lacy pink blooms that deepen to a dark rose. They also have Collector’s Blend, a unique mix of rare species and the best cultivars around.
Renee’s also has Grandmother’s Pincushion scabious mix. This mix has densely petaled blooms in deep, rich shades and uniform height.
Thompson & Morgan is also a great source of annuals and other materials for the cutting garden. Their seeds are available online and by mail-order. For something a little different grow Tequila Sunrise snapdragon. This mix is truly different. The plants have bronze foliage, which will add a nice touch of color to arrangements.
Sunflowers have become a very popular cut flower in recent years, and their popularity continues to increase. Each year new, improved varieties for cut flowers are released. You can’t go wrong if you choose The Bees Knees Sunflower Mix from Thompson & Morgan. This delightful blend is pollen-free. That avoids stains on your tablecloth.
When it comes to foliage, annuals can provide it. Coleus is a perfect example. Whatever colors you need, there’s a suitable coleus variety. Most of the older varieties of coleus prefer shade, but there are newer ones well-adapted to full sun.
Other suitable foliage plants that can be grown as annuals include eucalyptus, and Dusty Miller.
The annual cutting garden can be treated much as you would a vegetable patch. Once the early-blooming, cool season annuals have finished blooming, replace them with heat-loving ones.
Once the fall weather arrives, plant a crop of flowering cabbage and flowering kale. Cooler autumn temperatures will accentuate the spectacular color in the foliage.