Creating Ambiance With Cutting Gardens


cutting gardenFrom a child’s eyes, every bright and beautiful flower is just begging to be picked and put on display, but maybe you lost this feeling after a few years of gardening. After all the T.L.C. you’ve treated your garden with, it seems like a shame to hack away your garden for some floral arrangements. Enter the cutting garden.

A cutting garden, as the name suggests, is a special, separate garden, abundant with colours and forms with which you can decorate your home, guilt-free. Before you get ahead of yourself and spend hundreds at the greenhouse on every pretty thing that grows, some planning will go a long way. The first step is the one that matters most: location, location, location. For the biggest, most colourful blooms, as a general rule, a sunny spot is best. Try to find a plot at least one metre square (or 3 × 3 feet) that has dark, rich soil and plenty of sun throughout the day. If your yard is lacking the healthy humus necessary for a really bountiful garden, don’t worry, some tilling, topsoil to start, and a regular helping of organic compost should be all it needs.

After you’ve chosen and prepared your location, it’s time to start organizing. For most cutting gardens, the primary goal is maximizing the small space you have. Here are a few tips to get the most blooming you can into your little patch:

    1. Visualize a grid. A cutting garden doesn’t have to be (and really shouldn’t be) a disorganized mess of annuals thrown together. You’ll get more from your garden if you plant row-by-row and column-by-column. You’ll also know where everything is, and have no trouble getting what you need when it’s time to harvest.
    1. Vary the heights. By using plants of varying heights you’re increasing your space into three dimensions. Just be careful about which plants are lower and in the shade so you can keep the most sun-thirsty species around the edges of the bed. By planting your tallest plants on the north side you’ll minimize the shading of the rest of the garden.
    1. Leave a gap. Don’t forget that you’ll need to weed your garden. You won’t get the most flowers if it’s overrun by dandelions, so a couple centimetres makes a big difference in the long run. Each plant should have a little space all its own to grow to its full potential.
    1. Plant in sequence. To have continuous blooms through the seasons look for suggestions by other gardeners. For example, you might go with the tried and true sequence: tulips, daffodils, peonies, lilies, zinnias and chrysanthemums. This way you’ll minimize any time through the season when you’re without blooms.
  1. Make it fun! The most important factor in determining whether you’re cutting garden will be a success (yes, even more important than location) is that you enjoy it, because if you enjoy it you’ll take care of it. Set a budget and take a trip to the garden centre with a friend. Have fun picking out annuals that match your home’s colours then make a day out of planting them.

There’s something homey and welcoming about fresh flowers in your home, so take pride in being able to tell your guests that they were grown in your own backyard. The only question is, when will you start?

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