I love getting flowers. Really—what girl doesn’t? But let’s face it: Most cookie-cutter bouquets from the florist can be a bit boring and costly.
So this year I'm planting a flower shop in my backyard. I can't wait to share the love with family and friends for pennies a pop. And to make my flowers thrive with minimum effort, I'm growing a cutting garden filled with meadow flowers. They are easy to grow—many from seed—and "meadow gardens" are on the garden trends radar.
Tips for an Easy Cutting Garden
- Select a variety of flowers. Include small and large bloomers, spiky flowers and light, airy fillers. Don't forget foliage plants too.
- Buy a meadow flower mixture and sow it in the spring. Many meadow flowers are easy to grow from seed such as cosmos, zinnia and Queen Anne's lace. Otherwise look for transplants.
- Think seasonally. Incorporate early, mid- and later summer bloomers
Grow Your Own Perfect Bouquets
Find a bed location. Meadow flowers love sun—lots of it! So pick a location that gets about eight to 10 hours a day. In the garden pick your plan: rows or squares or all mixed up; it's up to you.
Amend your soil. Beautiful blooms come from fertile, rich soil. Enhance it by mixing in generous amounts of compost, peat moss or coir and manure.
Plant from seed. Most meadow plants can be directly sown into the soil from seed. Just remember the rules of thumb when planting seeds: Don't plant too deeply, or they won't germinate. Plant seeds three times as deep as their diameters. Press tiny seeds into the soil. Take care to water seeds with a gentle shower. Keep the seedbeds moist until seeds germinate. Then let nature do its thing.
Water. Fertilize. Weed. Water when nature doesn't or when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry. Mulch around the plants once temperatures warm up. Fertilize every three to four weeks. Weed often! Weeds will compete and win if not removed.
Reap the blooms. Cut your blooms early in the day, when flowers are hydrated. Immediately plunge stems into a bucket of warm water.
My favorite meadow flowers are:
- Queen Anne's lace
- Blue salvia
- Black-eyed Susan
- Echinacea (purple coneflower)
- Calendula (pot marigold)
- Coreopsis (native variety)
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