If you are planing a garden from which you plan to pick stunning flowers and foliage all year round, you need to invest your efforts in choosing the right plants that will give you the results you want. When it comes to flowers for the vase, not all blooms were created equal, and you will need to know what properties make for a wonderful cut flower.
You can answer this question very simply; vase life and yield. However, being a florist before being a gardener, I would also add in, style.
Sadly not all flowers in the garden will last when cut. It truly breaks my heart to see beautiful blooms that would lasts weeks outside, picked, brought in, wilt and die. It is in readable sad somehow. So, when planting it’s really important, if you want to use your flowers in the house, or for events and bunches, that you bear this in mind when making your choices.
Perhaps not quite so important if you will purely be using your flowers for the kitchen table, but for a florist this is really important. If you’re going to put huge amounts of effort and time into growing and tending to a plant, you need to know that there will be a suitable reward at the end of the process . One flower isn’t going to get you far.
As a general rule, annuals (plants that come up once a year, every year) are your best bet when it comes to producing a large yield.
As their life cycle is only a year long they themselves want to produce large amounts of flowers, then in turn seeds, which increases their chances of survival. This property is wonderfully useful if you are willing to exploit it…which I obviously am! Cutting the flowers when they arrive, and continuing to do so throughout the season, as well as deadheading, will encourage the plant to keep on sending new flowers in an attempt to seed. This can seem oddly cruel in a way, but the plant doesn’t suffer. I am quite obsessive about doing with with my roses, and it is possible to extend yields up to three times the amount a single plant would usually produce in one season.
This might seem like an odd one, but speaking from a florists point of view, it’s a rather important one. I plant to cut. What’s the point of planting flowers in a cutting garden that you’re never going to use?
Look at your style, track the flowers you like to use throughout the year, or that you admire in the work of others, and plant accordingly. You have the most anazing opportunity to provide yourself with large amounts of your favourite flowers for a fraction of the cost. You can also use this as a chance to plant flowers that don’t do as well in the commercial environment of the flower market, that are perhaps are too small, too delicate, or don’t have straight e ouch stems. You will also have far fresher flowers, as transport from the garden to the table isn’t quite as long as the flight from Holland.
Plant what you love and take great joy in using it. There is no feeling quite like creating with your own home grown produce, and it’s rather additive.