Grow These 21 Gorgeous Cut Flowers With Us This Spring!
Have you always wanted to grow a beautiful cut flower garden? In this article, Botanical Interests and Epic Gardening Ambassador Angela Nickerson invites you to join a Spring Cutting Garden Grow-Along. Here, she shares her favorite varieties that provide florist-worthy blooms from spring through fall.
As a child, I fantasized about a garden where I could wander about, cut a basket of flowers, and then create a beautiful bouquet for my home any time I wanted. And, frankly, that fantasy never released me. While I didn’t have the words for it then, I do now: I wanted a cut-flower garden!
And I’m inviting YOU to join me in the Spring Cutting Garden Grow Along! Together, we will make a plan for seed starting, start our seeds, grow them, plant them out, and share our successes, too! I have taken part in other grow-alongs, and every time I learn something new. Plus, it’s always fun to meet other gardeners around the world!
So this is your invitation: join me and grow something beautiful this spring!
Sweet Pea Perfume Delight Seeds
Florist’s Sunny Bouquet Sunflower Seeds
Coral Fountain Love-Lies-Bleeding Amaranth Seeds
What is a Grow Along?
Grow Alongs have sprung up – largely on Instagram – as a way to create community around a particular project. There are also Sew Alongs, Cook Alongs, and other communal activities for people with similar interests.
For the Cutting Garden Grow Along, I will walk you through how to grow a cut-flower garden, step-by-step. We will have content on the Botanical Interests Instagram and YouTube channels every step along the way. And there will be opportunities for you to share your own stories, too, using the hashtag #BIGrowAlong.
What is a Cutting Garden?
Honestly, any garden with flowers can be a cutting garden, but for the Spring Grow Along, we will plant seeds that specifically grow great cut flowers. Traditionally, a cutting garden is a dedicated part of the garden where aesthetics are secondary to productivity. In other words, you won’t ruin the display by cutting the most gorgeous flowers – because they are there to be cut!
Some people like to hide their cut-flower gardens away in a less-used part of the garden. For other people, that doesn’t matter as much. And, frankly, you don’t have to have a dedicated cutting garden at all. Your cut flowers could be distributed in any way you like. You can grow them in containers or raised beds using no-dig methods. Your planting style could be naturalistic or neat and tidy rows.
The only rule is: enjoy your garden!
How Do I Participate in the Grow Along?
I have chosen a selection of seeds from Botanical Interests for the Grow Along, and I’ll be growing all of them. But you can start as many or as few of them as you would like! The whole goal is to grow together, learn more about growing, and support each other.
I will be posting content on Instagram and on YouTube – everything from the basics of starting seeds to updates on what plants look like at different stages of growth. And, of course, cut bouquets and the gorgeousness of a summer cut-flower garden – once we get there!
Along the way, you can post photos or videos using the hashtag #BIGrowAlong so the whole community can cheer you on!
Where Should I Put My Cutting Garden?
Most of the flowers that make great bouquets like a sunny position, so choose a full-sun location (at least six hours of sunlight) for your cutting garden. It can be as small or as large as you like. I have also found that protection from wind is quite helpful, too.
My own cutting garden consists of six raised beds in a very sunny spot in my backyard. This area has evolved significantly over the years, and last year, it was, frankly, rather unruly, so I’m using the Grow Along as a chance to renovate the garden and give it a new focus. I’ve chosen a range of flowers that bloom from spring to fall and make for colorful and abundant bouquets.
I will install some simple polytunnels over a few of the beds so I can direct-sow some of my seeds sooner. I will also be fixing the paths and doing some other maintenance work in this area – long neglected and overdue.
But you don’t have to do any of that to be part of the Grow Along! You can grow in pots. You can grow in grow bags. Grow in raised beds. On a patio, in a new garden, in a corner of your yard – just choose a sunny spot and get it ready to plant!
Which brings us to…
What Do I Need for the Cutting Garden Grow Along?
Fundamentally, you just need some seeds and a place to grow. I’ve chosen 22 different flower varieties for the Grow Along. Grow them all. Grow a few. That’s up to you!
Other things that may be helpful:
- Seed-starting trays or something else to start seedlings in
- Seed-starting medium
- Good compost
- A pair of gardening gloves
- A pair of secateurs or clippers
You can be as fancy or as simple as you like. Use what you have on hand. Upcycle. Recycle. I certainly do, and it’s part of the creativity of gardening in my book.
What Kinds of Flowers Are We Growing?
Oh, this is the fun part! When I was choosing varieties for the spring Grow Along, I looked for flowers that would grow almost anywhere in North America. I also chose varieties that won’t all bloom at one time. If we plant them all, we should have bouquets from spring through fall. Additionally, I chose some wildflowers that are enjoyed by pollinators and birds, too.
The seed list includes:
Basil is one of my favorite fillers in the garden, and I chose the Six Basil Blend Basil for the spring Grow Along because it has a variety of leaf shapes, colors, and scents all in one seed packet. I also picked Cardinal Basil because it is a great filler AND a beautiful flower. Don’t be afraid to use these basils in the kitchen, too. They are dual-purpose.
We want native bees and other pollinators to linger, and including a buffet of diverse, nectar-rich flowers keeps them fed and happy while also adding to our bouquets.
So, I picked the diminutive ‘Torch’ Mexican Sunflower, which blooms in profusion, as well as the ‘Florist’s Sunny Bouquet’ Sunflower Mix, which includes a variety of sunflowers specifically chosen as great cut flower options.
Additionally, I’ve chosen several varieties of cosmos. While neither is a U.S. native plant, ‘Apricotta’ Cosmos and ‘Sensation Blend’ Cosmos are both varieties that do well in gardens across the continent and are beloved by insects.
Like a beautiful garden, a beautiful bouquet includes flowers in various shapes and sizes. The umbellifers of Bouquet Dill hover in an arrangement, and the spires of ‘Shades of Blue’ Larkspur give airy height as well as a gorgeous true blue so often missing in gardens. Together, the larkspur and the dill blooms take on an ephemeral quality.
But it isn’t just gauzy shapes that make a bouquet sing. The punch of a globular bloom like those of Drumstick Flower Craspedia and QIS Fiery Sunrise Blend Gomphrena make any bouquet even more special.
‘Coral Fountain’ Love-Lies-Bleeding Amaranth and Love-Lies-Bleeding Amaranth are both cut-and-come-again flowers that add drama wherever you find them. Additionally, the tubular petals of ‘Sea Shells Blend’ Cosmos add a more delicate surprise.
Ideally, a cutting garden blooms for months on end. In this assortment of seeds, the ‘Orange Wonder’ Snapdragon and ‘Perfume Delight’ Sweet Peas are the first to bloom – and they look beautiful together, too.
I am drawn to color, and I certainly don’t want my cutting garden to be monochromatic. So I chose ‘Black Knight’ Scabiosa both for its long stems and for its chocolatey brown blooms, which contrast well with the marmalade of ‘Zeolights’ Calendula.
The deep purple of the ‘Giant Purple’ Zinnia promises to be a heartstopper, and ‘Queeny Lime Orange’ Zinnia is a dramatic combination of green and orange with a citrus zing.
I like big blooms; I can not lie. I chose three varieties just for their flower sizes alone: ‘Cactus-Flowered Blend’ Dahlia will be a delightful surprise as when growing dahlias from seed, you never truly know what you will get.
‘Senora’ Zinnia and ‘Benary’s Giant Blend’ Zinnia will both lend that pow-factor to bouquets while stopping the show across the garden.
In all, I’ve chosen 21 different varieties. If you grow one of each, you will have 21 different plants with gorgeous blooms for months and months to come!
I’m excited to get growing, and I look forward to hearing from you as you begin your cutting garden, too. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, we will all have the cut-flower gardens of our dreams!