If, like us, you love to have flowers in the house, then it can be much cheaper and more satisfying to grow your own in you have space. If you have room for a few tubs on a patio or a small flower bed, then you can create beautiful displays that will look as good in the garden as in the house. If you have a little more space to play with, then shrubs such as roses and hydrangeas are very rewarding. Here are our top picks.
Flowers for a limited space
These are perfect for tubs and small beds, and the bulbs will provide colour year after year. When you bring any cut flower into the house, keep it out of direct sunlight or too much heat and add some flower food to the water to maximise its life. Depending on the time of year, daffodils, snowdrops, tulips, irises, gladioli, alliums and hyacinths all work very well as cut flowers and require practically no care once planted. One of the few flowers that doesn’t appreciate being brought indoors is the crocus, which quickly drops its petals and is better left outside.
Flowers for small flower beds
If you have a small bed available, then you can put in a mixture of perennials and annuals to give you something to cut all summer. If you have space, then sweet peas look glorious. They’ll need some tall supports, so put them at the back of the bed. The flowers are deliciously scented but small, and you’ll need a lot of them to make a decent cottage bunch, so plant a row of stakes with two or three plants to a stake. These provide architectural interest while they’re growing as well as colour when they flower.
Sun flowers cut well, and can be planted at the back of bed with the sweet peas as long as it’s a sunny spot. They grow quickly, and children love to see their progress. They can grow up to six feet in height, so don’t plant them at the front!
Peonies look glorious and have big, showstopping flowers. They’ll need a space of about two feet square, and grow to around three feet high. The flowering season is relatively short, but the flowers last well indoors.
Roses come in all shapes and sizes these days. If you’re tight for space, choose a miniature or patio variety. These produce smaller flowers than standard roses, but can flower very copiously. Roses need a little care – deadhead them after flowering, cut them right back at the end of the summer and watch out for pests such as greenfly.
Flowers for larger areas
If you have space for a few flower beds, then you can really go to town. A lavender border looks good almost all year round with its silvery grey leaves and purple flowers. If you want the flowers specifically for cutting, though, you’ll need to put in a border rather than a couple of isolated plants to give you enough volume. Lavender lasts extremely well as a cut flower, and can be dried once it’s starting to look past its best.
Hydrangeas produce large, fluffy-looking flowers in shades of pink, purple and white that have a long life as cut flowers. They also dry very well – pick the flowers fresh and peg them to a line indoors to allow them to dry.
Making a homemade bouquet for a friend or an arrangement for your own hallway is very satisfying, and means you can always have fresh flowers without the price tag. Why not make 2019 the year of the cutting garden?
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