Cutting Flowers for the Small Garden

Categories|Garden Design
Cutting Flowers for the Small Garden

If you love having flowers in the house, make your garden do double duty as a source for cutting flowers! Here are some of our favorite ways to work cutting flowers into the garden.

  • Choose woody and perennial cutting plants for the ornamental garden that have lovely flowers, seed heads, and foliage, especially ones that are long-blooming.
  • Plant spring-blooming bulbs. Daffodils, tulips, and allium are all terrific in a vase. Plant with a lavish hand so you can snip some for arrangements and still have a good show in the garden.
  • Use the kitchen garden to grow extra annuals for cutting. Zinnias, dahlias, ornamental herbs, even sunflowers (if you plant them on the north side) will be happy with the vegetables, and they’ll lure in insects to pollinate your plants.
  • Expand your idea of what’s appropriate for the vase. Asparagus foliage, hosta leaves, and willow or dogwood shrub stems can add extra oomph to your arrangements, allowing your blooms to go farther.

Cutting Flowers for the Small Garden

Our Favorite Cutting Flowers

But what should you plant to get the most blooms for your buck? Here are our top five plants for arrangements that also bring something special to the ornamental garden.

  • Hydrangeas. Blooming from early summer to frost, hydrangeas are a backbone of the semi-shady garden. For cutting, we like panicle hydrangeas like Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lime,’ but Hydrangea arborescens makes for a fantastic rustic bouquet, too.
  • Ornamental grasses. A handful of grasses in fall is a bouquet all by itself. We especially like Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln,’ a dwarf form that develops fuzzy seed heads.
  • Herbaceous peonies. Big and beautiful, three peony flowers make a bouquet. And while the blooming season is brief, it justifies every square inch that peonies take up in your garden. Mix peonies into a border so once the blooms are done, they can retire into a tasteful green background (and be cut down if they start to look ratty).
  • Penstemon (beardtongue). Another native, Penstemon digitalis has wonderful foliage and small, tube-shaped flowers in pink or white. The seedheads also look great in a vase.
  • Siberian iris. A great companion to peonies, these upright purple, blue, or white bloomers are wonderful in late spring bouquets. Iris siberica‘s grass-like foliage is a nice accent in the vase later in the season. Plant them in rain gardens and other damp spots.