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Flower Gardening - Consider A Cutting Garden

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Cutting Garden at Mohonk Mountain House

Cutting Garden at Mohonk Mountain House

Marie Iannotti

Everyone loves to give and receive flowers. So great is their appeal, that fresh cut flowers play a role in the celebration of holidays and the milestones of family and personal life over much of the world. It is a particular luxury to have fresh flowers on display at home on a daily basis. What a delight it is to be surrounded indoors by bouquets and arrangements of fragrant, colorful blossoms - to have a bit of the garden in the house.

For gardeners the ultimate pleasure is to be able to cut flowers from their own garden to bring indoors and to give away to friends and family. Many also love to have homegrown blossoms, foliage, and seedheads handy for fresh or dried floral crafts and cooking. However, the problem is always that picking flowers from the garden reduces the floral show in the yard. It is always a tough decision whether to cut flowers for indoors or leave them on display outdoors. The perfect solution to this problem is to establish a separate cultivated area specifically as a cutting garden. Then you can have your flowers and pick them too!

Fill your cutting garden with plants that produce the flowers and foliage you love. Use it as an area to experiment with new plants and colors. Place it where it is not on public display, and indulge your fancy. Consider making it part of your vegetable garden. This is a production garden; created to be cut down, so do not worry about design correctness.


Creating a cutting garden

Create a cutting garden much the same way you initially establish a flower garden. Choose a site that receives generous sun and prepare the soil so that it drains well. Add humus in the form of compost, peat moss, or chopped leaves to improve clay or sandy soil. Create one or more beds of whatever size and shape accommodate the available space. They can be tucked into sunny spots along the back boundary, in a neglected corner, or behind the garage. By their very nature, they are transient, so they are easily changed or reconfigured next season if necessary.

While cutting gardens often look beautiful at the peak of the season, this is incidental. So, because they are not intended for display, a purely utilitarian layout makes the most sense. Then once they are established they are easier to maintain and require much less attention than ornamental beds do. For this reason, cutting gardens usually resemble traditional vegetable gardens. They are typically planted in widely spaced rows that are easy to move through and between while planting, thinning, fertilizing, deadheading, and, of course, harvesting.

Keep your cutting garden in bloom

Choosing plant and flowers for your cutting garden

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