| Mar 20, 2008

Feature Article - March 20, 2008

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Master Gardeners - March 20, 2008 Plan to grow cut flowers in your garden Ankaret Dean, Lanark County Master Gardeners

While our gardens are covered with snow, now is a good time to think about what to plant when spring arrives. Although we organize our flowerbeds with a succession of flowering plants, and arrange them in varying heights, we seldom can spare many of them for cutting and using for arrangements throughout the year. This year why not plan a small part of your garden to grow cut flowers? This can be integrated with the vegetable patch or in a place which is not in a high profile area; however, most flowers do like sunshine. A cut flower bed will probably have lots of colour but it will not be arranged to “show off” all the time. To assist in choosing the flowers for cutting, some seed catalogues highlight certain varieties that are especially recommended. The main attribute is that they should be long lasting in water and have a long stalk. Some flowers grow on stalks which have lot of buds, and cutting these flowers means that you are also cutting off a lot of potential flower heads. Many annual flowers are very easy to grow from seeds, such as snapdragon. zinnia, marigolds, larkspur, carnation, clarkia, euphorbia, helianthus (sunflowers), nigella (bachelors buttons) rudebeckia, and salvia.

There are also summer bulbs to consider, gladiola now come in a shorter version, 24 -25" high, dahlias last very well in water and flower all summer while lilies also are long lasting in water. The only problem with most summer bulbs is that they do have to be brought inside before the winter, as they cannot survive the cold.

Perennials can also be chosen for cutting, and often they can be put in the perennial bed. I am very fond of irises, gallardia, chrysanthemum, baby's breath, dianthus and delphinium.

Dried flowers are another possibility, and again these can be integrated into the cut flower bed. Chinese lanterns are outstanding as dried decorations but beware, they can be very invasive. Another popular plant is statice, helichrysum (straw flowers) and artemsia. Seed pods from the poppies, silver dollar plants and flowers from the hydrangea shrub making interesting winter flower arrangements.

For gardening information, phone Lori MacKay at 613-256-9228.

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