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Cut Flower Gardening For Beautiful Bouquets
Terry Lowery

Imagine a never-ending supply of beautiful flowers for your home, bouquets and arrangements to give to friends, flowers to pluck at will for gifts, get-well visits, anniversaries and birthdays. By planting a garden stocked with flowers that happily give up their blooms for your pleasure, you can have fresh flower arrangements in every room in your home all throughout the spring and summer.

To create your own bouquet garden, start with a sunny spot in your yard. A garden spot that gets 6 to 8 hours of direct sun a day is ideal. It should be within easy reach for watering, since a cut flower garden will need daily watering during any dry spells. You’ll also want to design it to make it easy for you to reach all the flowers in it, so a raised bed that can be approached on four sides is perfect. If you decide to plant against a fence or as a border, make sure that you can get to all the plants without stepping on others by putting in footpaths or trenches for walking.

The best way to start your cut flower garden is with bulbs planted in the autumn. Daffodils and tulips are among the most popular spring bouquet flowers. By getting them in the ground in the autumn, you’ll be able to start cutting early in the spring.

Some more unusual spring-flowering bulbs that make gorgeous cut flowers include:

Giant flowering onion – Grows 3-4 feet tall, with huge purple blooms. Great as a back border in a cut flower garden. Blossoms from mid-spring through early summer

Windflower – also known as anemone, with daisy like deep pink and white flowers, booms through midsummer

Crocus – blooms in early spring, though there are varieties that bloom through autumn

Hyacinth – Tall clusters of blossoms that are stunning in arrangements. Pink, blue, purple and white, they grow up to 12 inches tall. Bloom in early to mid-summer from fall planting.

Grape Hyacinth- Purple flowers that bloom in autumn and remain green throughout the winter—although it’s dormant in the summer.

Early in the spring, you can start planting gladiolus. These huge, showy blooms are a mainstay of cut flower arrangements, and come in just about every color imaginable. Gladiolus bulbs can be planted as early as two weeks before the last frost. If you plant a new set of gladiolus every two weeks, you’ll have cut flowers from early summer all the way through the first frost.

Roses are an entire subject of their own, but they deserve special mention when discussing cut flower gardens. Rambling and climbing varieties of roses are especially suited to cut flower gardens, putting out masses of blooms and responding to cutting with even more flowers. Trail a rambling rose along a wooden fence rail and you’ll have sweet-smelling roses for your bedroom dresser all summer long.

Also in early spring, you can plant your annuals. Snapdragons, cosmos and zinnias all bloom at different times during the summer, which will extend your ‘bouquet season’ into the fall.

Don’t forget to include ‘filler’ flowers in your cut flower garden. Foliage grasses and flowers like alyssum, baby’s breath, and Queen Anne’s Lace can fill spaces in your bouquets and add a lacy, delicate touch to a vase full of flowers.

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