I have always wanted to have a cut flower garden. This year I finally decided to pull the trigger and devote a large chunk of my garden to growing cut flowers instead of veggies. I still have the basics gowing like tomatoes, carrots and peppers, etc., but half of my 1600 square foot garden is flowers! Here's how my journey has been so far...
Growing Cut Flowers
Whether you have a small flower bed, or a large field, anyone can grow cut flowers! Cut flowers are flowers that have long stems and do well in a vase. It is more cost effective to start them from seed. Especially if you are doing it on a larger scale.
Starting Seeds Indoors & Planting
If you are a gardener, you know that this year has been a weird one. At least it has in my state and surrounding area. It was still in the 30s at night clear into the first week of June. Which is totally bananas and gave everyone a late start with planting. Then it seemed to heat up over night and we have been in the 90s and 100s ever since. being at the mercy of the weather is the hard part of gardening. But starting flowers from seeds is easy! You can read my whole post on there HERE and even watch my detailed video on YouTube.
What I Planted:
I have a bunch of perennials already in my yard that can be used at cut flowers such as peony, cone flowers, delphinium, salvia, anemone, daisys, and black eyed susans. The annuals that I started from seeds this year are sunflowers (yellow burgundy, white, and pink), zinnias, cosmos, gomphrena, crespidea, stock, and feverfew. All are flowering except the sunflowers and craspedia (also called Billy Ball). I also planted a few dahlias from seed and some 4 o'clocks. But those are for my patio and are not necessarily for cut flowers. For added greenery I use herbs, boxwood, tree branches and other leafy plants from my yard when making arrangements.
What Went Wrong This Year:
I had the healthiest seedlings! They were beautiful. Some were more cold tolerant (like Stock and Feverfew) and I planted those even though it was still chilly at night. But as far as the other seedlings went, I had to wait. The first week that it didn't dip in to the 30s also happened to be the week of my family reunion at Bear Lake. In retrospect, I should have asked a neighbor to water and check on my seedlings, but I already ask them to watch our animals and didn't want to be a further bother. I watered the "too big for the cell trays" seedlings really well and hoped for the best. I lost more than half of my zinnias and cosmos. The other kinds seemed to fair better. Luckily, out of all the flowers I started from seeds, those two grow the fastest and I was confident I could start a round 2 and still have blooms by late summer.
Things I Have Learned:
*I started some of my seeds too early given the fact that Mother Nature gave us a late freeze. Now, I could not have known that ahead of time, but I should have accounted for the unexpected. Next year I will delay my seed sowing by at least 1 week.
*Sometimes you have to start over, and that's okay. Seeds are cheap. I was not out very much money and while it was gut wrenching to come home and see dead seedling, it is part of the learning process.
*Experiment and have fun! I don't really know what I am doing and that is part of the excitement. I get to discover what I like, what does well, and what types of flowers look well together. Not only will my yard look lovely, but my house will get some cheery blooms too.
Next Year's Plans for Growing Cut Flowers:
I have plans to add at least 5 more types of flowers next year. In the Fall when it cools down, I will be adding more flowers beds to accommodate them all. I think moving forward, I will always grow flowers among the veggies. I have really enjoyed it!
This year I am mainly just experimenting with arrangements since I really don't know what I am doing. I like the idea of being able to throw together centerpieces for a baby shower or surprise a neighbor with a bouquet. I think it would be fun to sell bouquets at some point. But for now, I am learning and having fun :)
Do You Grow Cut Flowers?
I would love to hear your experience with growing flowers. Even if it is on a small scale. What are your favorite kinds to grow? Which have the best vase life? Spill it all in the comments below!
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Your arrangements are all beautiful.
Your arrangements are beautiful! What kind/color zinnias did you grow?
Alllll the kinds! And all the colors :) The coral is turning out to be my favorite.
Torrie @ To Love and To Learn
I live in Central Utah, and it really has been a strange year for growing -- our last frost hit June 19th!
Last year I decided to go for my dream of doing a backyard flower farm, and it's actually been much more successful than I thought it would be. It's a ton of work, but if it's something you're thinking about, just go for it! All your arrangements here are lovely and show that you have a really good idea for color combos and putting things together, so I think you should try it out.
I didn't see snapdragons on your list -- they are a must grow for sure!
That is amazing! I am so happy you have had such a good first year. I do want to try snapdragons. I am still trying to figure out space since I still need to grow veggies. It has been so fun to experiment with different flowers. Crespedia has been a surprising favorite!