Once the cutting garden was reserved for aristocrats’ estates to provide a bounty of fresh flowers throughout the growing season. By the mid-1930s the cutting garden was “required” even in small landscapes. By the 1950’s and 60’s the cutting garden again became popular among home gardeners who continued to plant flowers in straight narrow rows in the service area. Today’s cutting garden’s rectangular shape is more pleasing, has been found to be more efficient, and is moving into the general landscape.
A cutting garden provides bouquets of flowers throughout the year while maintaining the lovely floral garden. No
Select flowers that you enjoy, want in your home, and that have a long bloom period. Make a list of compatible spring, summer and fall bloomers that include equal amounts of accent plants, those with interesting foliage(variegated Solomon’s seal), and are fillers (fern, baby’s breath), and height and spikiness (delphinium, snaps), and round (daisy, daylily, marigold). Other considerations: variety of color, disease resistance and continual or rebloom ability.
Winter plants are not to be forgotten. Depending on the variety evergreen hellebore begin to bloom mid-December. Rely on shrubs for berries (box, holly, privet) and stems of daylily, coneflower, and other tall plants.
Take into consideration plants’ environmental requirements in determining the location. Six hours of sun is needed by most plants. Well-drained soil. Plant tall items in the back. It is easier to install supports for tall plants before they reach 8”.
A short list of plants by season:
Spring: columbine, daffodils, iris, peony, and tulips. Early-mid summer: allium, coneflower, coreopsis, daisy, daylily, lavender, monarda, nasturtium, and tuberose. Late summer to fall: aster, mum and sunflower. Winter: coneflower, daylily, holly, and hellebore and witch-hazel.
Dahlias are the most planted for their season long bloom and wide variety of species (42) and forms (15) that continually bloom if cut when partially or completely open as they will not open once cut.
THINGS TO DO
Birds — Follow local and national bird migration this spring at Birdcast.info. This last week the migration through the area was low. To learn birds by sight and sound go to Merlin Bird ID app. Clean bird baths and feeders. Discard leftover seed that has molded and/or contains fungus.
Garden — The flower of a daylily will not fold at night if it is refrigerated the morning of the evening arrangement. Prune roses. Prune clematis (group 3) to 2-3 ft, and butterfly bush, bluebeard, and hydrangea paniculata (1/3 off and spindly stems) and H. arborescens (1/3 off).
Trees and shrubs -When replacing trees learn their mature height, growth rate, and how much growth its 1st, 3rd, 6th and 12th year. The best source of information is The Plant Growth Planner for shrubs, trees, and climbers by Caroline Bosset. Google for a list of rated Good condition used hardback books $4-10. Plant spring blooming shrubs lilac Boomerang, philadelphus Illuminati series, viburnum and sweetshrub Aphrodite and for summer bloom Simply Scentsational.
Vegetables — According to phrenology, now that lilac leaves are the size of mouse ears, it is time to sow peas, lettuce and other cool weather crops. Asparagus crown and root rot will shorten its in half. The spores can last in the soil for up to 30 years. Red lesions appear on the crown, root and spears and ferns turn yellow. It can’t be treated but it can be slowed by applying 6-12 ounces of sodium chloride per sq. ft., or 1 pound per 100sq. ft. and water in. The salt will boost vigor and slow down the decline.
March 24-25 — “All Abuzz” Spring Fling, Memphis Area Master Gardeners Garden and Plant Sale, plants, programs, activities, demos, and vendors. Red Barn-Agricenter, 777 Walnut Grove Rd., Memphis. 901-752-1207, www. Memphisareamastergardeners.org.