Creating a Cutting Garden: Here Is What You Need to Know

“Beauty comes in many colors, shapes and sizes; nature is lovely and full of surprises.” While the originator of that quote is unknown, the sentiment rings true … especially for those creating a cutting garden where there are few rules and must-haves. The definition of beauty comes from the owner, who decides what blooms best represent their home’s needs.

Simplicity is often the ideal theme when first planting a garden designed for making bouquets and other arrangements. You should consider planting not only spring-blooming flowers, but also those that thrive in the fall and winter so you can have flowers all year round, suggested Melvin Cubain, the gardening expert from PlantIn. He also advised looking for low-maintenance ones that don't need close attention like bulbous plants and flowering shrubs as well as varieties that are disease- and drought-resistant. Rugosa and Therese bugnet rose hybrids, for instance, are resistant to black spot disease and baby’s breath like Bristol Fairy and compacta plena are excellent in dry environments.

Asters in a Cutting Garden by Gingham Gardens

Asters in a cutting garden. Photo by Gingham Gardens

 “You can choose any annual, biennial, or perennial flowering plants for homemade bouquets that are easy to arrange,” said Cubain. “Annuals or one-season plants like the classic summer sunflowers, daisies, asters, chrysanthemums and poppies would be the best choice because of their ease when starting from seeds. Biennial plants like tulips, lilies and gladiolus are easy plants to grow in a home garden.”

Those that prefer flowering plants that grow yearly might enjoy perennial roses, hydrangeas, azaleas, peonies, carnations, larkspur and lavender — all of which heighten your home décor.

“Don't forget to add interesting foliage from shrubs, grasses and plants in your garden that don't have blooms like ferns and hosta leaves,” said Joanna VonBergen, blogger and gardener at Gingham Gardens

Bright Colored Zinnias by Gingham Gardens

Bright colored zinnias by Gingham Gardens 

How to arrange flowers

“Home garden flower arrangements don't have to be fancy to be beautiful,” advised VonBergen. “Sometimes, small bouquets of the same flower are perfect to add ambience to a small room. For instance, a small bouquet of lily-of-the-valley or sweet peas in a bathroom adds charm and character. Plus, it smells amazing.”

Start making your arrangement by gathering flowers and clipping the bottom stems at an angle so the plant can easily absorb water. “As far as arranging goes, you don't need to be a floral designer to make a pretty bouquet,” said VonBergen. “Just play around until you come up with an arrangement you love.”

A medium-sized vase, for example, might require about 15-20 stems. You can place them in s-shaped, crescent or vertical flower arrangements according to the types of flowers used, advised Andrew Gaugler, founder of Best of Machinery. “You should always choose long-lasting fresh flowers including orchids, lilies and carnations. Cut the stem in different lengths to create your desired outcome. 

Crescent flower arrangement. Photo by Andrew Gaugler

Crescent flower arrangement. Photo by Andrew Gaugler

Think about creating a combination that balances all the elements — the flowers and the container. If you want to highlight the decorative vase, for example, the flowers should be neutral, complementing and not overpowering, offered Cubain. “Otherwise, you can choose a simple vase that highlights the beauty of the flowers.”

Figure out how big you want the bouquet to be and choose your vase accordingly. You can think out-of-the box and use recycled jars, such as mason jars or milk bottles instead of the traditional vessel. Then insert flowers into your vase, starting with the largest and working to the smallest types, such as fillers like baby's breath or ferns, said VonBergen. Maintain your fresh blooms by re-trimming the stems every few days and changing the water. A product such as FloraLife flower food helps the blossoms stay perky longer.

 Fresh flowers gathered for bouquet. Photo by Gingham Gardens

Fresh flowers gathered for bouquet. Photo by Gingham Gardens

The meaning behind the blooms

The colors and the type of flowers you choose often gives off a message. “Flowers with bright and playful hues signify joy and celebration, such as yellow and orange-tinged sunflowers, gerbera daisies, and roses — an excellent option as a nice gift for friends,” said Cubain. “Adding a personal touch, like your loved one's favorite color, will leave a memorable impression. On the other hand, romantic bouquets should have expressive and intimate colors. A classic example is simple but striking bright red roses, complemented with white lilies or orchids.”

Simple bouquet. Photo by Gingham Gardens

 Simple bouquet. Photo by Gingham Gardens

Flowers can spread love and happiness — and some blossoms insinuate certain feelings. “If you’re trying to convey the idea of love then roses, tulips and lilacs can be your perfect choice,” said Gaugler. “These flowers have been associated with love, and at the same time signifying sincerity and gratitude.”

A morning glory is also related to feelings of the heart and often appears in Valentine’s Day arrangements. Orchids appeal to the young as flowers that represent love, beauty, elegance and hope, according to Grace Alvarez, the chief editor at LLC Services, while pansies are a playful flower, representing joy and mirth.

To increase friendship, try using sweet pea, peony and alstroemerias in a bouquet. “They spread happiness and friendship and make it a perfect gift for your special friend,” said Gaugler.

Vertical flower arrangement photo by Andrew Gaugler

 Vertical arrangement photo by Andrew Gaugler 

Enjoy more features on the great outdoors, with Fabric & Home's blog posts on garden design and backyard decor.

Featured photo credit by Gingham Gardens

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