13 Mar How to Start a Flower Garden For Centerpieces
Every time I’m at my grocery store or running errands by the local florist, I’m tempted to grab a bundle (or ten) of cut flowers. The colors! The scents! The soft petals and textures! And while I do often bring home a small assortment of flowers, the truth is that it would be far too expensive to do that all the time. However, if I grow them in my own garden, I save money, grow exactly what I want, and have the pleasure of walking out into my yard and minutes later returning with fresh flowers. There’s nothing more local than that.
If you’re intrigued about this idea, follow these steps and suggestions to creating your very own cut flower heaven.
Prepare the site. Choose a location on your property that gets the required amount of sun for the flowers you want to grow — most cutting flowers need as much sun as you can give them. Remove the weeds (especially the roots), and add a good deal of organic matter (aren’t you glad you started that compost pile?). Flowers are heavy feeders because of all of their fabulosity, so make sure your soil is as full of nutrition as it can be.
Plant your flowers. Cutting flowers can be annuals or perennials, and can be established by seed, bulb, or transplants. If you choose to sow seeds or plant bulbs, be sure you’re doing so at the correct time for your area — the information will be on the seed or bulb packet itself, but you can also ask your County Extension Office. Garden center transplants will be more expensive, but will provide more instant gratification. Ensure that the plants you are choosing have the same growing requirements in terms of sun and water.
Maintain the garden. Mulch lightly to discourage weeds, and water weekly unless you’ve had a good recent rainfall. Remember, it’s better to water less frequently but more deeply to ensure healthy roots. And keep cutting — the more you cut, the more prolific your plants will bloom.
IDEAL FLOWERS FOR CUTTING
|Baby’s Breath||Coral Bells||Marigold|
Not only are flowers beautiful, but many varieties smell good as well. You don’t have to compromise, have a centerpiece that smells as beautiful as it looks!
The following five flowers are great if you have a warm, sunny location: (These are all annuals which also give you beautiful color and will bloom all summer)
1. Sweet Alyssum is a low-growing flower that is great to put next to your walkway. Hardy and easy to grow, the small white or purple flowers have an amazing odor that wafts through the air.
2. Stock is a medium-sized flower that comes in many colors. Stock has a wonderful clove scent.
3. Lavender is a wonderful flower that is often used in sachets and flavoring for food. They retain their sweet smell even after drying.
4. Carnations are not just for prom! They are an easy to grow flower that comes in many vibrant colors and has a delightful scent.
5. Petunias are a hardy bedding plant and do well along walkways. Petunias have a strong unique scent that perfumes the air around them.
The following flowers are great if you have a shady or partly shady location:
1. Lily of the Valley is a native forest plant. The small bell shaped flowers are pink or white and combines with beautiful foliage.
2. Heliotrope has a wonderful cherry fragrance and is often referred to as cherry pie plant. This plant also is a butterfly attractor. Some varieties of Heliotrope get two feet tall and quite bushy, so plan accordingly.
3. Hosta is a popular shade foliage plant that also produces sweet-smelling flowers on tall spikes. Some hostas have more fragrance than others, so check the tag or read the description first.
About the Author:
Jenny Peterson is a landscape designer and urban farmer living in Austin, Texas. She comes from a family of gardeners and her gardens include drought-tolerant plants, herbs, veggies, and a wildflower pollinator garden. As a breast cancer survivor, Jenny specializes in gardens that heal from the inside out.