My gardens were designed with flower arranging in mind. Each plant, flower, bush (and yes, even some trees) were planted because they would enhance the mixed garden bouquets that I love to create – as well as contribute interest to my flower show entries.
In the summer, the cutting garden comes to life. Perennials, favorites that come back year after year, mix happily with annuals that are chosen in February from the countless catalogs I receive. What a satisfying way to help chase away the winter blahs. But I always keep one focus in mind. Every plant at Parterre must pass the litmus test – “would it enhance a flower arrangement.” Even flowers from landscaped areas in other parts of the property are called upon to make their contributions.
In June, the long-awaited peonies make their entrance; so delectable that I cannot resist adding 1 or 2 new selects a year. Too soon, space considerations will no longer make that possible (a gardener’s lament.)
But the real season for the cutting garden starts early July, just as the roses are beginning their mid-summer decline.
Enhanced by the annuals that contribute their full-on blooms up to frost, this “secret garden” (bounded on one side by an espaliered pear “fence”) is the first place I go to in the morning and the last place I visit at dusk, when the cutting garden is sheltered by the house from the setting sun. Clippers in hand, a peace comes over me that only a garden can elicit and then I head to the mud room to start creating those arrangements that are at the heart of my garden experience.
Newport is a growing horticultural zone 6B. If a plant is not winter hardy here, I’ve noted it as an annual.
Clematis ‘Durandii’, a blue ribbon winner at the Newport Flower Show.
Beloved for its frothy chartreuse stems, Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) is tres chic when massed together in a large container.
A yummy shade of pinky-coral, Dahlia ‘Belle of Barmera’ is my go-to favorite this summer (more on these beauties in a future post.) (annual)
The flowers of the elegant Astrantia major ‘Sunningdale Variegated’ are a welcome addition when creating a bouquet.
This hard-to-find jewel smells exactly like chocolate! Cosmos ‘Chocomocha’. (annual)
I dare you to spell it…or get it “trippingly off your tongue”… Verbena bonariensis. (annual)
Though it’s not a great cut flower (as it only lasts one and a half days,) Iris ensata ‘Variegata’ makes such a wonderful punctuation in my Black and White garden, I couldn’t resist.
A real addition to any garden, the singular blooms of Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ provide necessary contrast to the Black and White garden’s design.
So romantic! Nothing quite takes the place of or has such a tantalizing aroma as sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus ‘cerise.’) (annual)
A new addition, dramatic for its 7’ height, Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta,’ promises to become a “regular” in my arrangements.
Phlox paniculata ‘David’ is a classic English garden staple known for its reliability.
Hydrangeas are a Newport signature to be found in every garden as well as enhancing many landscapes: ‘Endless Summer.’
A little resting spot in the cutting garden that nestles amongst the flowers (here, verbena bonariensis.)
What are your favorite flowers to cut for arrangements?