Choosing what flowers to grow
This is the fun part. Start by choosing your
favorite flowers in colors you like, and try something new or
different too. Don’t forget woody plants, perennials, and bulbs.
You can start many cutting garden varieties from seed. Plants
purchased from a nursery will give you blooms sooner.
some plants that make great cut flowers (and foliage)
Annuals: Ageratum houstonianum (floss flower),
Angelonia (angelonia), Antirrhinum (snapdragon), Asclepias
tuberosa (butterfly weed), Celosia (cockscomb), Cosmos (cosmos),
Gomphrena (gomphrena), Helianthus (sunflower), Helichrysum
bracteatum (strawflower), Limonium (statice), Moluccella (bells
of Ireland), Salvia (salvia), Nigella (love-in-a-mist), Tagetes
(marigold), Verbena bonariensis (verbena), Zinnia elegans
Perennials: Delphinium (larkspur), Echinacea
(coneflower), Ferns--many varieties, Gaillardia (blanket
flower), Gypsophila (baby’s breath), Helleborus (Lenten rose),
Hosta (plantain lily), Leucanthemum (daisy), Liatris spicata
(blazing star), Lilium (lily), Ornamental grasses--many
varieties, Paeonia (peony), Phlox (phlox), Stachys (lamb’s
Bulbs: Narcissus (daffodil), Tulipa (tulip),
Woody shrubs: Cornus (dogwood), Forsythia (forsythia), Hydrangea (hydrangea),
Itea virginica (sweetspire), Malus (crabapple) Prunus (cherry),
Rosa (rose), Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’ (curly willow), Salix
sachalinensis ‘Sekka’ (Japanese fantail willow), Syringa (lilac)
How to cut & condition flowers
Fill a clean, non-metal bucket with warm water
and floral preservative and take it with you into the garden as
you cut the flowers. The flowers will absorb the warm water more
readily than cool water, and there is less chance of air
blockage in the stems. It’s best to cut in the morning or
evening, when flowers are full of moisture. After gathering the
flowers, take them indoors and using a sharp knife or pruning
shears recut the stems on an angle, underwater. Remove the
foliage from the lower part of the stems since it rots under
water. Leave flowers in the bucket in a cool dark place for a
minimum of two hours, but ideally overnight, before arranging.
Some flowers require special conditioning
Poppy stems ooze a milky sap and should be sealed with a flame
or dipped in very hot water for a few seconds after cutting.
Daffodil stems contain a substance that rots other flowers so
Flowers with hollow stems, like delphiniums and lupines, should
have their stems plugged with a bit of cotton after
Stems of woody plants should be split an inch or two from the
Rose thorns can be clipped off.
Tulips should be wrapped tightly in newspaper during
conditioning to keep them from opening too fast.
Arranging and caring for bouquets
As you arrange flowers, make a fresh angled cut
on each stem. You can arrange in your hand, in a vase, or in
moistened floral foam that can be used in a variety of
containers. Use your creativity and have fun with colors,
textures, and forms of flowers and foliage.
Prolong the life of your arrangement by using a
floral preservative in the water. Change the water daily and
re-cut stems every few days for maximum life. Do not re-use
floral foam, as the water holding capacity decreases and the
flowers may wilt prematurely.
Dried flower arrangements
Flowers from the list above that dry well include
strawflower, zinnia, coneflower, statice, baby’s breath, roses,
celosia, tall ageratum and hydrangea.
The simplest way to dry flowers is to tie in
small bunches and hang upside down in a warm dark room until
dry. Great results can be had by cutting stems to an inch and
layering flowers in silica gel or fine sand in a cardboard box.
It takes about six weeks for most flowers to dry this way.
To arrange dried flowers, add a wire stem and
wrap with floral tape then position in a styrofoam-filled
container. Dried flower arrangements can last a year or more.
Remove surface dust by spraying with canned air or using a hair
dryer on a low cool setting.
Pickling the Harvest
Fall gardening tasks