The best cutting gardens contain enough different types of flowers to supply a household with bouquets throughout the gardening season. Annuals are the mainstays of most cutting gardens, but carefully chosen perennials can lessen the gardener's work and increase the variety of flowers. The best flowers for this use have long, strong stems and colorful blooms. Once cut, they last a long time in a vase or arrangement. Fragrance is a plus, so a complete cutting garden should include at least some scented varieties.
"Cut and come again" annuals are indispensable for cutting gardens. Included in this category are old favorites like tall zinnias, snapdragons and marigolds; bells of Ireland, cosmos, larkspur, carnations, globe amaranth or gomphrena; cleome, cornflowers, poppies, annual salvia, salpiglossis or beardtongue and geraniums. Heliotrope has a wonderful fragrance. If space is ample, plant sunflowers, including the shorter varieties, and tithonia or Mexican sunflower.
Perennials do not always rebloom, but many varieties make excellent cut flowers. Shasta daisies and the various varieties of coneflower work well in cutting gardens, as do their relatives, the fall-blooming asters. Some of the newer coneflower varieties are also sweetly scented. Yarrow blooms several times in a season and dries well. Tall campanulas, chrysanthemums, coreopsis, delphinium, foxglove, liatris, lupins and rudbeckia or perennial black-eyed Susan are prolific bloomers that hold up in flower arrangements.
Plants that Grow From Bulbs, Tubers and Corms
Daffodils and tulips are wonderful cut flowers and can share space in the cutting garden with shallow-rooted annuals. Hyacinths contribute scent to bouquets. If there is room, include peonies, especially sturdy, old-fashioned varieties. Gladiolas and true lilies are great summer bloomers. Dahlias provide excellent cut flowers in the late summer and early fall.
Some roses also work well in cutting gardens, if space permits. For cut flowers, hybrid tea-type roses, with long stems, tight buds and large single blooms, make the best specimens. Modern varieties rebloom several times throughout the growing season. Scented favorites like 'Peace' and 'Double Delight' hold up well in arrangements, especially if they are picked while in bud.