Bouquet from a cutting garden

During the summer months, we like to keep a fresh bouquet of flowers in our reception area. I cut this bouquet from one of our two cutting gardens and just plunked it into a vase. No flower-arranging skills required!

The appeal of a cutting garden is abundance: having lots of flowers so you don’t miss the ones you cut, and having enough colors, shapes and sizes to compose unique and interesting arrangements from early summer right to frost.

The thing about cutting gardens is that they usually require a large amount of space. For many gardeners that’s a problem. I wondered if we could design a cut-flower garden that would deliver an abundance of blooms, yet could be squeezed into just about any size yard.

I planted the beds in early May, using a wooden planting grid from our to measure out the rows.

We used the same square foot gardening techniques that we feature in the Kitchen Garden Planner to come up with two planting plans. One of the gardens is 7 ft. x 7 ft. and one is 7 ft. x 8 ft. There’s nothing special about those dimensions — it’s just the size beds we had available.

The gardens have been wildly successful. They look pretty (and are always busy with bees and butterflies), but the real success is the amount of flowers they’re producing. The bouquet in the photo is from our first cutting in early July.

I included cutting-garden favorites (familiar and not-so-familiar) that would generate lots of flowers over a long season. For details, take a look at the Cutting Garden Plans. Though both of these gardens are in raised beds, the plans would work just as well in a regular garden.

For more information, read Feed Your Soul: Plant a Cutting Garden. Stay tuned for more information about some of the unusual flowers growing in these beds.

Cutting garden, based on a square foot technique

We started picking flowers less than eight weeks after planting. Here’s the garden in mid-July.