Planting a flower garden? Why not make it do double duty? A cutting garden is twice as nice. Enjoy the beauty from a distance. Or get up close to admire the bountiful blooms – and maybe snip a few flowers to enjoy later in a bouquet.
Here are some things to keep in mind. Then scroll down for two planting plans.
Plant for Shape
While flower color and scent are alluring, the bloom shape is important, too. Even a dozen roses look better when paired with a spray of baby’s breath. And when you have a variety of flower shapes at the ready, you can get more daring with arrangements. Mix and match flower clusters, pom-poms, spikes, daisies, and rosettes to create a feast for the eyes. You might even include foliage from grass, ferns, or hostas as a backdrop.
Plant for Color
Flowers come in a rainbow of hues that can be combined for various effects. Pairing complementary colors (those that are opposite each other on the color wheel) creates vivid contrast. Red and green, for instance, or blue and orange. On the other hand, a shared color palette (such as the pastels of these phlox and salvia) creates a lovely harmonious effect.
For a clean, crisp look, keep it simple with a monochromatic scheme. White pops against deeper shades of green. For even more emphasis, echo the white flowers with white- variegated foliage.
Pink and purple are next to each other on the color wheel, meaning they’re visually harmonious. In this photo, the pink cleome plays nicely off of the purple veronica, adding extra visual pizzazz.
Red and orange are colors of heat and excitement. Dahlias (shown) and zinnias offer a range of hues, especially orange and red, that can be mixed effectively for an even warmer look that fires the imagination.
Yellow and gold make a cheerful statement--in the garden or in an arrangement. Common in such plants as black-eyed Susan, sunflower, and Heliopsis, these bright hues can also be found in the unique blooms of dill (shown).
6 Steps to a Cutting Garden
1) Find a sunny, well-drained site and amend with compost.
2) Anchor the bed with long-blooming shrub roses and perennials such as black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower (shown), and Shasta daisy.
3) Fill the perimeter with shorter bedding annuals such as marigold, melampodium, petunia, and vinca.
4) Loosen and smooth remaining pockets of soil to provide a good seedbed; sow your choice of tall annuals, such as larkspur, bachelor’s buttons, cleome, and zinnia.
5) Overlap bloom times--such as cool-season dianthus and delphinium followed by summer stalwarts black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower.
6) Spread a slow-release fertilizer labeled for flowers. If needed, irrigate in the morning.
Crammed with show-stopping color, this garden can be enjoyed for months. Pink and violet petunias set the stage with bright hues that can be admired all summer. The midsection is filled with tall annual cleome, zinnia, and dahlia, as well as perennial companions yarrow and garden phlox. A golden swath of Heliopsis, another perennial, completes the picture.
Long-blooming Garden Plan
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Show off your bouquet garden with a stair-step arrangement of short, medium, and tall plants. Here, petunia, begonia, melampodium, and a small hydrangea just starting to bloom front a tall swath of ‘Morden Pink’ loosestrife. Although this cultivar isn’t considered invasive, we have substituted veronica in the plan.
Layered Garden Plan
- Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)