Imagine having an almost unlimited supply of flowers for making fresh arrangements—without having to leave your home. Planting a cutting garden on your property makes it possible. A cutting garden is traditionally where one grows a wide range of flowering plants—of different sizes, textures, colors, and bloom times—that can be harvested to fill your house with homegrown flowers all spring, summer, and fall. These can be all manner of spring bulbs, perennials, and annuals, and even species grown for their eye-catching foliage. Not only is a cutting garden beautifying for your property and convenient, it’s also welcoming for beneficial wildlife such as hummingbirds and butterflies. Our horticulturists at Glengate are available to help you plan and install your own cutting garden. Here are three flower species to get you dreaming.
Dahlias (Dahlia pinnata)
With their enormous variety of colors and shapes, it’s no surprise dahlias are so popular. The ‘dinner plate’ cultivars feature extra-large blooms, while ‘pom-pom’ dahlias are perfectly round balls. Anemone varieties have simpler, open flowers. Dahlia season is long: from July to fall’s first frost, and their abundance of blooms means you’ll have plenty of flowers for cutting. Note: they are a bit more high maintenance than other garden favorites, requiring staking to hold up their tall stalks and heavy flowers. Grown from tubers, they are considered a ‘tender’ perennial in the Northeast, so if you want to have the same plants year after year, they need to be dug up and stored in a cool, dry place during winter. Or you could treat them as annuals, and start with new tubers each year. Either way, you will delight in the dahlia’s brilliant summer display.
Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)
The sweet pea is a charming climber and an abundant bloomer that can do double duty on your property. It will wind its way up a trellis in the cutting garden, adding another layer of visual interest; plus, its short thin stems make it perfect for arranging in smaller bouquets or vases to decorate your interiors. Not only do sweet peas come in a huge range of colors—think, airy pastels, ultra-brights, and deep dramatic hues—but many varieties have an extremely pleasant scent. If you are planning a cutting garden, we highly recommend including sweet peas, and are happy to source the perfect ones for you. They can also be grown in containers (with the proper supports), and are a beautiful addition to patios and pool areas where you can sit and enjoy their fragrance.
Breadseed Poppies (Papaver somniferum)
This flower used to be more commonly known as the ‘opium’ poppy, as some varieties in the species are produced for their alkaloids which are indeed used by the pharmaceutical industry. However, the ornamental varieties that look beautiful in our cutting gardens and in flower arrangements do not produce significant amounts of opium. If you’re a home baker, though, you’re in luck; grow the breadseed and you can harvest your own seeds to sprinkle on your breads and pastry. The breadseed poppy is an annual that flowers in early summer. Its blooms come in shades of pink, red, purple, and white—with petal structures that range from single to ruffled. Bonus: when the flowers fade, this species’ large seed pods make for a unique addition to floral arrangements.