How To Grow A Flower Cutting Garden

How To Grow A Flower Cutting Garden





How to Grow a Flower Cutting Garden



A cutting garden that stands apart from ornamental beds and borders lets you have a home full of beautiful blooms all year round—all you need is a little careful planning

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Harvesting armfuls of fresh flowers from your garden—like growing vegetables and picking fruit from your own trees—gives the joy of growing real purpose. The reaction against wasteful “flower miles” means cutting gardens are enjoying a resurgence: traditional flower farms are springing up again, and flower fields for cutting are being designed into large gardens and country estates. We asked the experts how to plan the perfect garden for fresh, seasonal blooms throughout the year.

1. Plan your plot
You’ll need a sunny spot with fertile, well-drained soil, ideally shielded from the rest of the estate—low evergreen hedging or a picket fence works well. Professional growers recommend you work in simple rectangular blocks or rows, with practical consideration given to maintenance. Ease of reach is a priority.

Erin Benzakein, founder of Floret Flower Farm, holds an armful of Willowfield Matthew dahlias. The family business, based in Skagit Valley, Washington, specializes in unique, uncommon, and heirloom flowers.
Erin Benzakein, founder of Floret Flower Farm, holds an armful of Willowfield Matthew dahlias. The family business, based in Skagit Valley, Washington, specializes in unique, uncommon, and heirloom flowers.

Erin Benzakein from Floret Flower Farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley recommends long beds around three feet wide for easy access from either side. Kathleen Murphy from New York state’s Primrose Hill Flower Company adds: “My greatest struggle with becoming a flower farmer was not thinking like a gardener,” she says. “In my gardens, I planted large, curvy swathes of color. Now, I had to plant in evenly spaced rows. Initially, I created beds that were much too wide, and staking was another challenge.” Murphy now designs beds 60 feet by three feet, and she stakes her young plants carefully before they even begin to grow.

We grow our flowers organically, so compost, natural fertilizers, mulch, and foliar compost tea treatments are essential items in our toolbox

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2. Protect and nourish
Protecting your cutting garden from hungry deer, rabbits, and woodchucks is another consideration, along with soil nutrition and irrigation. At Floret Flower Farm, Benzakein nourishes the soil every season: “We grow our flowers organically, so compost, natural fertilizers, mulch, and foliar compost tea treatments are essential items in our toolbox.”


Master gardener Clare Monica Day explains how to  cultivate and create beautiful displays in her digital course, Garden to Vase.
Master gardener Clare Monica Day explains how to cultivate and create beautiful displays in her digital course, Garden to Vase.

Canadian floral designer and master gardener Clare Monica Day also offers useful advice: “Consider grouping plants by their need for water: grow drought-tolerant plants next to each other, and locate water-hungry plants in a separate block.”

3. Make it beautiful
Blocks of single plants, grown en masse, create the greatest impact: English gardener and author Sarah Raven advocates placing blocks of stronger colors in the foreground, with whites and pale colors fading off into the distance; Murphy recommends planting young seedlings of small plants seven to nine inches apart, and larger varieties a foot apart. 

Blocks of one type of plant, such as these snapdragons at Floret Flower Farm, add drama to a garden.
Blocks of one type of plant, such as these snapdragons at Floret Flower Farm, add drama to a garden.

4. Choose your plants carefully
Your most challenging task will then be deciding between hundreds of exquisite flower varieties. Ideally, your plot should have a mix of annuals (pretty, short-lived plants such as nigella and cosmos), perennials (showstoppers such as peony and delphinium), shrubs that remain in the ground for many years (rose, hydrangea, and lilac), as well as bulbs (tulips, daffodils, alliums, and lilies), and tubers (dahlias are a must for every cutting garden).


A well-planned plot can yield a stunning variety of flora throughout the flowering season.
A well-planned plot can yield a stunning variety of flora throughout the flowering season.

Combine a variety of flower shapes—daisies, spires, plumes, globes, and umbellifers—and introduce a few foliage plants and evergreen herbs. Drought-tolerant plants from the Southern Hemisphere, including protea, kniphofia, and watsonia, make beautiful cut flowers in hot, dry climates.

We cut our flowers first thing in the morning or at dusk, and we always put a drop of bleach in the vase water

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5. Timing is everything
Day has a clever suggestion for year-long displays: “Choose a minimum of three flowers for each growing window,” she says. “In other words, three flowers that will bloom in early spring, three for mid-spring, late spring, early summer, and so on. This simple approach will give you a continuous supply of blooms throughout the season.”

Your hard work can lead to stunning displays for the home, like these blooms grown by Clare Monica Day.
Your hard work can lead to stunning displays for the home, like these blooms grown by Clare Monica Day.

6. Keep it clean
Murphy recommends “clean-cutting” to help your flower display look beautiful for longer. “We clean every item that will touch the flower stems with bleach, including secateurs and containers,” she says. “Ideally, we cut our flowers first thing in the morning or at dusk, and we always put a drop of bleach in the vase water.”


Kathleen Murphy of Primrose Hill Flower Company in New York state has adapted the way she plants to enable easy picking of flowers.
Kathleen Murphy of Primrose Hill Flower Company in New York state has adapted the way she plants to enable easy picking of flowers.

7. Ask the experts
Guidance for budding flower growers is easy to find. Floret Flower Farm’s Cut Flower Garden condenses Benzakein’s expertise into 300 beautifully illustrated pages. She also offers the Floret Online Workshop, a six-week video-based course.

Enthusiasts can seek out a variety of online courses to help in their planning for a plot of cut flowers.
Enthusiasts can seek out a variety of online courses to help in their planning for a plot of cut flowers.

Day’s Garden to Vase workshop is a step-by-step digital guide that provides the tools and techniques you need to cultivate cut flowers. Murphy, meanwhile, shares her knowledge in Foundations for Growing Cut Flowers, the Primrose Hill Flower Company’s online course.

With endless possibilities for color combinations and unusual varieties, gardening offers a chance to cultivate creativity too.
With endless possibilities for color combinations and unusual varieties, gardening offers a chance to cultivate creativity too.

Instagram is another source of inspiration—Becky Crowley (@beckycrowley_), head gardener at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England, grows cut flowers for the stately home and regularly posts her bounty.


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Phone: 956-587-1633
Dated: July 23rd 2018
Views: 299
About Marilyn: Always ahead of the highly competitive RGV real estate market, Marilyn Cortez is a Spanish speaking ...

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