ChiloquinNews article 4/11/2011
Cutting gardens have been grown for centuries to provide armloads of flowers for the house, but not everyone has the space for a dedicated cutting garden. You can plan your garden though so that there’s always something in bloom to pick and bring inside. Annuals provide a long season of color, but you can also grow perennials if you choose so that one will be coming into bloom as another finishes.
You will need a sunny spot. Pretty much any of the flowers that you can cut like to be bombarded with sunshine for the whole day. You will need to water regularly. You should also build up the soil with as much compost as you can lay your hands on.
Get an early start with daffodils. They come in many yellow/white/orange color combinations and flower from early to late spring depending on the variety. Don’t bother with tulips. Tulips look great but you will have to fight the gophers for the bulbs and replant every couple of years to keep the flowers coming.
The following plants will all do well here. Most are perennials but a few are annuals.
For spring and early summer color try Clustered Bellflowers, Peach-leaf Bellflowers, Columbines (which can take some shade), Bearded Iris, Lupines, Peonies, Sweet William, Pinks, Shirley Poppies.
For summer: Blanket Flowers, Feverfew, Purple Coneflowers, Shasta Daisy, Yarrow, Bee Balm, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Coreopsis, Golden Globe, Ladies’ Mantle (another shade lover), Pincushion Flower, Garden Phlox, tall Veronica, tall Sedum, Silene, Black-Eyed Susans.
For fall: Asters, Goldenrod.
You can grow all of these from seed, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re in a hurry to have flowers on the table. We have such a short growing season that it’s just much faster to buy seedlings. Exceptions to this would be sunflowers and Shirley Poppies. Both prefer to be seeded right where they are going to grow. Annuals especially are available every year in 6-packs for a nominal price. Perennials need to get established and it will probably take the first summer for that to happen whether you buy them in 4” pots or 1 gal pots, so I’d go for the cheaper option and get 4” pots if available. Plants like peonies are rarely available in anything smaller than a 1 gal pot, though you can buy them bareroot in early spring.
And now for the bad news: it’s still too soon to start anything except to get the soil ready. Wait until you see leaves on the aspen trees before you put out any perennials, and wait until June to put out annuals.
Pincushion flower, Red Fox Veronica, (left) Peachleaf Bellflower (right)
Silene, Shasta Daisy (left) Golden Globe, Purple Coneflower, Autumn Joy Sedum (right)