Bare root roses 2

Planting Guide for Bare Root Roses

Bare root roses are an excellent way to establish a new rose in your garden. Follow these 5 easy steps to ensure your rose gets off to a great start.

Before Planting – If you cannot plant right away, keep the roots covered in soil or mulch and keep watered to ensure they don’t dry out.

Step 1 – Remove the elastic bands

The roots are wrapped in elastic bands for transport, these need to be removed before planting!

Step 2 – Rehydrate the rose

Submerge the rose roots in a bucket of water for at least 30 minutes to allow the rose to rehydrate before planting.

Step 3 – Prepare the hole

Dig a large hole, approximately 2’ wide by 2’ deep. Make sure to loosen soil up at the bottom of the hole. If existing soil is poor quality, make sure to add a good quality garden soil when planting. This is also the time to add bone meal and rose fertilizer to ensure strong growth in the first season. If adding rose fertilizer sprinkle in the bottom of the hole and add soil on top to prevent the roots from coming in direct contact with the fertilizer.

 Step 4 – Planting the rose

Planting depth bare root rose

Fig 1. Planting depth for bare root roses in the Pacific Northwest.

Mound soil in the centre of the hole so that the roots lay on top of the mound of soil. This will help to prevent any air pockets from forming.

If adding new soil, make sure to mix it in with the existing soil so that the change in soil type is gradual for the plant as it grows.

Plant the rose so that the bud union is at, or just slightly below, ground level. The bud union is the swollen area where the stems arise from the root stock.

Fill in hole with soil about half way making sure there are no air pockets and water thoroughly. Once water has drained fill in the rest of the hole with soil and water generously.

 Step 5 – After Care

Make sure to keep the rose well watered, especially in the first year. Roses are heavy feeders and will benefit from regular fertilizing.

Bee on Echinacea

Plants To Entice Bees To Your Garden

rudibeckia,-sedum,-grass-w

Rudbeckia, sedums and grass

*** It’s very important to have flowers all season long, from February to frost, to satisfy the early Masons right through to the late season foragers. Plant several of each, as bees like to ensconce themselves in a big patch of their favourite flowers and just hang out, gathering pollen and sipping nectar in the sun.

***Bees are classified according to their tongue length! A variety of flower shapes from flat daisies to large convoluted and tubular blossoms will keep them all happy.

***Let your herbs and veggies (especially brassicas) go to flower; all kinds of bees and beneficial insects will thank you.

***Try to keep all pollinator plants watered in times of drought. They may survive well without water, but their nectar supply dwindles, dries up without regular water, depriving the bees of an important source of carbohydrate.

***Bees and all insects need a source of water. Bird baths are good, but the pollinators all need a perch to stand on, put a large flat rock in with the water. Even the smaller birds will find this helpful. An interesting fact is that conifers planted in the garden hold the morning dew amongst their needles, providing a drink for the smaller critters.

The list below is far from a comprehensive list, but highlights of some of the best.

EARLY SEASON

Oregon Grape (Mahonia); our native Mason bees, bumble bees

Pieris; all varieties flower early, loved by Mason bees

Red-flowering currant (Ribes) important source for Masons

Winter heathers (Erica); often seen swarming with bumbles and honey bees here at the nursery

Sweetbox (Sarcococca); shrub, flowers early and loved by emerging bumblebees

Clover in the lawn, allowed to flower, attracts many bees. Wear shoes!

Bluebells; while somewhat weedy, they are great for long-tongued bees

Foxgloves (Digitalis); big clumsy bumbles love them, also Masons and others

Camas; important early source of pollen for queen bumblebees

Shooting star (Dodecatheon); native, bees hang upside down to access nectar and pollen; an important bumble bee plant

 

Shasta and bee

Shasta and bee

MID to LATE SEASON

Blanket flower (Gaillardia) has 32% sugar content in nectar, a stellar bee plant

Gayfeather (Liatris); late blooming honey plant; large swath for best effect

Hyssop (Agastache); special value to native bees, and significant to bumblebees

Lavender; another plant that is always swarmed at the nursery

Coneflower (Echinacea) attracts many different bees with its vibrant colour petals

Sunflower; one of the best for all summer bees, attracting from a long distance

Ocean Spray (Holodiscus); native shrub, good for butterfly larvae and native bees

Russian Sage (Perovskia); purple colour loved by honey bees and bumble Queens

Catmint (Nepeta); honey bees and bumble bees collect both pollen and nectar

Goldenrod (Solidago) draws native bees and bumblebees, acid yellow colour

Vine Maple (Acer Circinatum) native tree for native bees, host for Swallowtail

Wild rose (Rosa nutkana) loved by leafcutter bees, host for many butterflies.

Aster; fall source of pollen and nectar, a very important plant for bees

Sneezeweed (Helenium); always covered in honeybees!

Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium); fall honey plant, also native bees and butterflies

Sedum, especially Autumn Joy, is covered with honey bees in late summer and fall

To really see which plants are pollinator favourites, just walk through the nursery at any time of year. The bees will tell you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bee napping on flower scaled

Plants For Bumblebees

Courtesy of Lori Weidenhammer

A link to Lori’s Blog.

* Denotes a medicinal plant for bees

BOLD denotes special interest for bumblebee plants (buzz pollinated, longer corollas or special relationships, ie trip pollination)

Native and Near Native Shrubs: Willow (Salix spp.) maybe the most important plant for honeybees and significant for bumblebee queens, Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) is another good one for weavers, Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) also an essential bee plant because it blooms over a period of months, Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata) Loads of nectar, berries used for dye, Hairy Manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana)

June Gap: Ninebark (Physocarpus spp.) native species is Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus), Spirea spp., native is Spirea douglassi, Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii), Native Roses

Edible/Drinkable Shrubs: Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), Oregon Grape (Berberis spp.), Kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.),  Evergreen Huckleberry  (Vaccinium ovatum), Wood’s Rose (Rosa Woodsii), Prickly Rose (R. acicularis), Blueberry Vaccinium spp.Potentilla spp.

Sumac (Rhus spp.), Blue Elderberry (Sambucus cerulea), Currants (Ribes spp.) clove currant and red-flowering don’t plant European black currants, Raspberry (Rubus spp.) Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus)High Bush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum),

Native and Near-Native Trees: Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii), Chokecherry, Crabapple the native is Pacific Crabapple (Malus fusca), Pincherry, Saskatoon, Western Mountain Ash (Sorbus scopulina)

Native Vines: Virgin’s Bower Clematis (Clematis ligustifolium) beware of invasive look-alikes, Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa)

Exotic Trees: Redbuds (Cercis spp.), Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), Linden (Tilia spp.) avoid silver linden (Tilia tomentosa); Stone Fruit Trees: apple, cherry, peach, apricot, pear, quince, and plum

Exotic Shrubs: Spirea spp., Climbing roses, Potentilla spp. important late-blooming shrub

Edible Native Perennials: Native violets, Nodding onion (Allium cernuum) and other native alliums

Early Shade-tolerant Perennials: Bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.) toxic, Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum spp.), Canadian Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and other Aquilegia spp. toxic 

Native and Near Native Perennials: Spring-gold (Lomatium utriculatum) an early-blooming umbel esp. important for short-tongued bees like the Western Bumblebee

Deltoid Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea), Large-leafed Avens (Geum macrifolium) and other Geum spp.

Broad-leafed Shooting Star (Dodecatheon hendersonii)Milk Vetch (Astragalus spp.), Native Silvery Lupin (Lupinus argenteus) and other Lupinus spp., Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia spp.), Broomrape (Orobanche spp.) Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)Native Larkspurs (Delphium menziesii ) HIGH toxicity warning

Penstemon spp., Canadian Milk Vetch (Astragalus Canadensis and other native spp.), Blue Gentian (Gentiana spp.)Monkey Flower (Mimulus sp.)

Camassia spp., Woodland Strawberry (Fragraria vesca), Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium), Potentilla spp. native species and cultivars are great, Common Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia and other native and exotic spp.),

Plains Prickly Pear (Opuntia polyacantha)Gumweed (Grindelia spp.), Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome serrulata), Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), Erigeron spp., Native Lilies (Erythronium spp.), Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium spp.), Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium spp.)

Near Native Annual: Bienenfreunde aka Lacy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) very important bee pasture plant for nectar and pollen—stagger-plant this throughout the growing season. Good for honeybees and bumblebees.

Late-Blooming Native and Near-Native Asteraceae: Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium spp.) Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.), Tickseed (Coreopsis spp.), Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritaceae), Asters (Symphyotrichum spp.), Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.), Coneflowers (Ratibida spp.), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.), Gold Star (Crocidium multicaule)

Medicinal Exotic Perennials: *Turtlehead: (Chelone glabra), *Sage (Salvia spp.) *Meadow Sage (Salvia pratensis), *Oregano, *Thyme, *Dragonhead (Dracocephalum spp.), *Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

Exotic Perennials: Catmint (Nepeta cultivars) N. cataria can be invasive. Very important long-blooming plant for honeybees and bumblebees

California poppies (Eschscholzia californicacan be weedy, Liatris spp.Comfrey (Symphytum spp.), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) comes with an invasive warning, Hollyhocks (and other Malva spp.), Wine Cup (Callirhoe involucrata), Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), Sea Holly (Eryngeum spp.), Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro), Caterpillar Flower (Phacelia bolerandi) works in dappled shade, Masterwort (Astrantia major), Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), Verbena spp.,

Exotic Annuals: Borage (Borago officinalis) NB for nectar, Hairy Vetch (Vicia villosacan be weedy, Moroccan Toadflax (Linaria maroccana) plant instead of invasive toadflax spp., Blue Shrimp Plant (Cerinthe major), Globe Gilia (Gilia capitata), Zinnias (choose the large ones) Calendula (Calendula officinalis) long-blooming and open access,

Edible Exotic AnnualsScarlet Runner Beans, squash (Cucurbitae)

Medicinal Exotic Annuals: *Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), *Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica), 

*Nightshades (Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant, Potato), 

Exotic Tubers: Dahlias (Avoid doubles)

Extra Edibles: Let some of your veggies bloom for bees: radishes, kale, leeks, carrots, parsnips

Extra bee-friendly herbage: cilantro, fennel and dill

Allium Purple Sensation

A Gallery of Alliums for Every Garden

By Faye 

Onions are alliums, chives are alliums and leeks are alliums. Alliums are among the oldest cultivated plants in the world, adding much to nearly every global cuisine.

Ornamental alliums however, are relatively new to the landscape, being developed in Holland around the middle of the 19th century. Many new varieties have been introduced in the last decade, and oh, what a wonder they are!

allium-schubertii

Allium Schubertii seed head

Ranging in size from ping pong ball to larger than a basketball, globe-shaped, allium flowers add sophistication, architectural interest and colour for months, rising elegantly on leafless stems above strappy foliage. They bridge the gap between the spring blooming stars of the early garden and summer flowers, and after their bloom is spent, alliums offer even more with their outstanding seed heads. Writing this article in October, I still have stunning orbs of Schubertii seed heads in my front garden that literally stop passers by in their tracks.

While popular with butterflies and other pollinators, they are avoided by deer and rabbits presumably to avoid onion breath! I have had the pre-bloom foliage sampled occasionally but the flowers are never touched. They thrive in full sun in average, very well drained soil; like other bulbs they resent soggy ground. With these minimal requirements met, alliums will bloom reliably for years.

Alliums play well with others, in fact they are best planted with leafy perennials in front to cover their foliage, which does tend to look less than stellar by the time the blooms emerge. The tall, stately orbs show well in the mid to back of the border.

The famed landscape designer Piet Oudolf favours alliums in his meadow-like landscapes, pairing them with undisciplined perennials and grasses, but they are equally at home in a formal design with more architectural plantings. While alliums in general have similarities, several unique characteristics are described below.

Allium azureum, one of the true blue flowers in horticulture, stands out from its peers by the clear blue orbs atop the 80 cm stems. Delightful sprinkled through a rose garden, with penstemon, hardy geraniums, or yellow daisies.

Bulgaricum has a slightly different flower style, with creamy bell-shaped pendant buds that dangle from stem top as it approaches the 30-60 cm height.  This is a very elegant plant alongside wider leaved plants such as sun-tolerant blue hostas, Calla lilies, Alchemilla mollis.

Aptly named, Allium ‘Chameleon’ does change colour as the flower matures. Starting off dark rose to pink, then white with stripes, it is loved by bees as are all alliums. Only 35cm tall, this is one to grow in a drift near the front of border, perhaps with small conifers or broad leafed perennials.

allium-purple-sensation

Purple Sensation allium

Christophii, or Star of Persia, grows to only 50cm tall, but the umbels are a massive 20cm, followed by attractive seed heads. Each umbel consists of up to 100 star-shaped pinkish flowers with a metallic sheen. Due to the size of the full umbel, plant only 1 bulb per square foot, and allow it to stand out by planting with fine grasses. This variety has received the coveted Award of Garden Merit from the RHS.

Try Drumstick allium with Stipa tennuissima, Perovskia ‘Little Spire’, and Lilies. Diminutive egg-shaped flowers start off green, then pink then turn a dark reddish hue, and planted densely (16 per square foot) will age gracefully, fading through summer. Grow where you want a more ‘casual’ look.

‘Fireworks’ really does look like an explosion of colour. Only 20cm tall, full of spring freshness which will blend well with late season tulips in similar hues, or use as a vibrant splash among Heucheras and other foliage plants.

‘Graceful Beauty’ with 3” starry white flowers looks beautiful planted in drifts through the garden. Peonies, Lambs’ Ears, and grasses are lovely companions. This is an American native, cultivated since 1857.

allium-hair

Hair allium

Hair allium does look like it’s having a bad hair day, in a delightfully charming way, of course. Big on attitude, this little beauty is a whimsical conversation piece to be sure, and stands out with poppies, irises, penstemon and lilies.

‘Purple Sensation’ being slightly larger, looks full at 9 bulbs per square foot, planted in drifts. It is the earliest allium to flower. Outstanding combined with silver foliage, pale variegated leaves, Lupins, Euphorbia, and Alchemilla mollis. Favoured by flower arrangers for its long-lasting blooms.

Allium ‘Schubertii’ is a massive umbel (30cm) that looks like a botanical explosion. It dies back gracefully to leave behind a long-lasting seed head that may be more impressive than the bloom itself. Stunning in late spring with shrubs such as Berberis, conifers, and columnar flowers such as Salvia and Foxglove. Another RHS Award of Garden Merit plant, this one’s exceptional.

Alliums bring colour, style, and architectural artistry to the garden. They enhance other plants and bridge the gap between late spring and early summer bloom. They are reliable, deer resistant, and easy to grow, so what’s not to love? Do try them, you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Hakonecloa Aureola

Simple Containers

 by Susan Tice

Colourful containers sprouted up everywhere when we moved to our current home and we suddenly had lots of sun. My long pent up desire for pots overflowing with petunias and other summer beauties could be indulged almost endlessly. A few years later, the novelty wore off a little – it was a lot of work to plant up all those pots every year; time to look at alternatives. Perhaps a single, perfect specimen instead of a riot of colour…

Hydrangea 'Paris'

Hydrangea ‘Paris’

A single specimen plant in a beautiful container has an elegance and grace all its own. For a single plant to shine it should have more than one ornamental feature and look great over more than one season. The size of the plant should be in proportion to the size of the container.   The shape of the plant, whether it be tall and upright, softly weeping or a formal round ball, should complement the shape of the container.

Hydrangea 'Bombshell'

Hydrangea ‘Bombshell’

Among other things, grasses, ferns and hydrangeas are particularly well suited to container growing and look more spectacular with each passing year.   Any of the new easy care, long blooming hydrangeas would look great in a nice pot. Try ’Limelight’, Little Lime’, ‘Bombshell’, ‘Pistachio’ or ‘Adria for example.

Hakonecloa 'Aureola'

Hakonecloa ‘Aureola’

Many grasses show well in containers with Japanese forest grass (Hakonecloa), fountain grass (Pennisetum) and feather reed grass (Calamagrostis) being particular favourites.   Evergreen ferns like sword ferns and Japanese Tassel Fern (Polystichum polyblepharum) take time to fill in, but are worth the wait.

Hosta 'Empress Wu'

Hosta ‘Empress Wu’

Consider perennials like Crocosmia or Kniphofia which have spiky foliage all season and showy flowers in mid-summer. I’ve always had hostas in pots and they look stunning when elevated and a small grouping can make quite a statement.

Specimen plants in containers can adorn a porch or patio or define an entry way. When placed around the garden or tucked into a bed, they become instant focal points.   Plus, you can move them around to cover up bare patches. A well-placed container looks like art and can hide all manner of problems!

There will always be petunias in my summer garden, but the pots filled with special plants will be there year after year, like reliable old friends.

Hellebore Tutu 400x

Irresistible Hellebores

By Susan

Hellebore 'Tutu'

Hellebore ‘Tutu’

It’s hard to resist the siren call of hellebores.  Winter blooming, in a wide variety of colour and form, they are long lived and don’t even need dividing. All that and they are both drought tolerant and deer resistant! No wonder we love them.  They are the most collectible of plants.

Helleborus niger aka Christmas Rose and H. orientalis aka Lenten Rose are the species we are most familiar with.  Hellebores seed themselves freely and are notoriously variable.  That variability has long fascinated plant breeders, who had to grow their different coloured plants miles apart from each other in order to have some control over pollination.  Growing hellebores was always a bit like hosting a pot luck dinner, they never knew what they were going to get.

The real challenge though, comes in duplicating hellebores.   It’s only relatively recently, thanks to new techniques like tissue culture, that hellebores have been readily available commercially.  Hellebore varieties are still often sold as ‘seed strains’, meaning that one will be similar to others in the group, but rarely the same.  They have become complex hybrids, known botanically as Helleborus x hybridus.

Separating Seedpods

Seedpods are individually bagged and collected by colour strain.

Hellebores have come a long way from their original murky shades of pink and white, thanks to breeders like Marietta O’Byrne from Oregon’s NorthWest Garden Nursery.  Her ‘Winter Jewels Collection’ features doubles and singles, rich colours and intricate patterns which result from hand pollination and careful selection.  Even their names are irresistible – ‘Berry Swirl’, ‘Onyx Odyssey’, ‘Golden Lotus’,  ‘Apricot Blush’ to name a few; they even sound enticing.  The colour and form of each plant will be similar to others in the strain, but again, rarely identical.
Through successive generations the colours become more stable, and the strains improve.  Hellebores can be expensive, but considering the amount of work that goes into producing them and the fact that they will live for years, they can be considered an excellent investment!

The Same But Different:

Onyx Odssey

Onyx Odyssey

Hellebore 'Berry Swirl'

Hellebore ‘Berry Swirl’

 

How to Grow Hellebores
We think of hellebores as woodland plants, but in their native Eastern Europe they are found growing in open sunny meadows in alkaline soil.   They are very adaptable though, and will thrive in a lightly shaded acidic woodland.  Although they are drought tolerant, hellebores are at their best in moist, rich, well-drained soils.  At planting time, dig in plenty of leaf mould, garden compost or mushroom manure.   Additional feeding is not usually needed, but an occasional application of a balanced slow release fertilizer won’t hurt.  Mulch occasionally in spring with compost.

It’s a good idea to cut off all the old foliage just as the flowers are starting to emerge.  For one thing, the flowers will show better when the foliage is cut away, but the main reason is to keep the plants healthy.  By spring the old foliage is ratty looking and buggy.  Removing it will allow the new foliage to stay clean.  Put the old foliage in the garbage, not the compost.

Warning: Buying hellebores can be habit forming and can lead to obsession!

If you are interesting in exploring the world of hellebores the Plant Delights website is a great place to start

 

Theetuin 3 Jacqueline van der Kloet

A Fresh Approach To Planting Bulbs

'Flower Ribbons'

‘Flower Ribbons’

When I first saw photos of Dutch garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet bulb gardens, I was struck not only by how beautiful they were, but also by how well they would work in our relaxed West Coast gardens.  She leans towards soft colours punctuated with splashes of bright ones and plants in a loose natural style.  Her work can be seen in public gardens all over the world, but the same principles can be used to create beautiful displays in gardens of all sizes.

Traditional style

Traditional style

Traditional bulb plantings are based on contrasting blocks of bold colour.  Jacqueline picks a colour scheme, selects the bulbs and mixes them all together in the wheelbarrow.  In traditional plantings, the bulbs are spaced with geometric precision, but she literally throws them on the beds and plants them more or less where they land. The results are reminiscent of Impressionist paintings.

Mixed borders

Mixed borders

The majority of course, are spring blooming but summer bloomers can be added to the mix to provide a long season of colour.   Spring bulbs could be followed by alliums, lilies, gladiolus and dahlias.

Most of us add bulbs to mixed borders as an after-thought, tucked in here and there, but Jacqueline starts with bulbs and adds complementary perennials, grasses and shrubs to add structure, round out the beds and hide the old foliage as it dies down.  While starting from scratch isn’t likely to be an option in most gardens, reworking empty spaces might be.  When bulbs are planted in isolation, there is always the issue of what to plant when they die down and what to do with all that messy foliage.

Toss and plant!

Toss and plant!

When planning plantings of mixed bulbs, the trick is to keep it simple – limit the number of varieties to three or four in a small area, add a few more in a larger one.   Small bulbs should out number larger ones and there should be enough to make a good show.   Mix the bulbs together, toss them on the bed and plant them where they lie.  Some will be planted more closely together and others further apart.

The best choices are bulbs that will come back year after year.  Leaving the foliage to die down naturally will encourage them to come back in greater numbers.  Ideally beds with bulbs should be kept on the dry side in the summer so they don’t rot.

Calypso Breeze

Calypso Breeze

Garden-Gems-2

Garden Gems

It will be interesting to experiment with this new way of planting bulbs, there are so many to choose from.   Take the guesswork out of the process by trying some of the prepackaged assortments.  They are designed to produce either a prolonged display or one big show. Your choice!

Mixed Flowers

For The Love Of Flowers, Start A Cutting Garden

By Faye 

Cut FlowersMost of us want to bring the beauty and fragrance of flowers into our homes, but worry about plundering the garden beds by cutting off blooms. The solution? Plant a cutting garden! It needn’t be large but, if well planned, will reward you with glorious bouquets all season long. A few guidelines and suggestions to help you get started.

 LOCATION:

Site your cutting bed away from your main garden beds; it can be tucked behind the shed, against the garage, or even in the vegetable garden. It should be in a sunny spot, out of the wind, with good drainage and fertile soil amended with lots of compost, leaves, and slow-release fertilizer. If you haven’t gardened in this spot before, dig down deeply and add the amendments to the root zone.

DESIGN:

Plant in rows or blocks, with the taller plants on the northernmost side so as not to shade the shorter plants. Some plants that require staking, like dahlias or delphiniums, are easier to stake when planted in well-spaced rows, and because this isn’t an ornamental bed, utilitarian staking isn’t a problem.

WHAT TO PLANT:

There are only 3 main guidelines for this, and they are simple; grow what you love to have inside the house or give to friends, grow plants that produce attractive foliage or many flowers over a long period, and generally look for plants with long flower stems. Pansies are sweet and they bloom early, but their short stems give them limited use for arrangements.

Both annuals and perennials have a place in a cutting garden. Perennials will bloom over a shorter period, but they are reliable and will be there again next year.  Annuals will keep on flowering until their season ends; keep the flowers cut, or deadhead any fading blooms to frustrate the plant’s need to create a seed, thereby forcing it to bloom again.

There are so many choices for excellent cutting flowers, but these plants get my vote for ease of care and reliable bloom over a long time:

Sweet Peas - Royal FamilyAnnuals:  Often started from seed, so they are inexpensive to experiment with. Try one new thing each year, just for fun!

  1. Sweet peas are easy, early, and we usually have lots of seedlings at the nursery.
  2. Cosmos bloom prolifically over a long season
  3. Calendula make cozy bouquets, and are also lovely in salads as the petals are edible.
  4. Stocks provide an aromatic delight, soft pastel colours, and interesting texture.
  5. Snapdragons can be stunning in arrangements, and often become perennial if they make it through the first winter. Many interesting varieties are now available from seed.
  6. Sunflowers; now many shorter, more colourful varieties to grow from seed.
  7. Dill, while an herb, has beautiful foliage and the flowers are delicate umbels which add an airy texture to floral displays. Best if grown from seed.
  8. Heliotrope has the most delicate scent. Dark purple adds that touch of drama.
  9. Salpiglossis is a seldom seen annual that is truly worth a try; seems to be aphid-resistant, mildew resistant, and the flowers are stunning. Yes, we have seeds.
  10. Asters come in a wide variety of shapes and often display gorgeous jewel tones of rich pink, purple and fuchsia.
  11. Zinnia is probably the most floriferous and rewarding flower for cutting. One friend said “I don’t ever want to be without zinnias” after trying them the first time. We will have seedlings of my very favourite seed mix ‘Granny’s Bouquet’.

Mixed FlowersPerennials

  1. Echinacea is famous as Purple Coneflower but now comes in a wider array of brilliant colours.  Seed pods are also pretty in arrangements, but wait until the end of the season to let too many of the flowers go to seed, or you’ll hamper flower production.
  2. Rudbeckia, or Black-Eyed Susan, are late-blooming in many shades of yellow to bronze to burnished orange.
  3. Physalis aka Chinese Lanterns are unmatched for autumn arrangements and even sprayed with gold for Christmas décor.
  4. Aquilegia, often two-toned; columbines are a favourite in spring and early summer. Can self-seed prolifically.
  5. Alstromeria is a very long-lasting cut flower. Can be invasive, so check variety or plant accordingly.
  6. Delphinium is tall, rich, and handsome.
  7. Aconitum or monkshood can be grown in partial shade, and stunning dark blue is natural for a dramatic floral display in late summer.
  8. Lupines provide height and texture in a wide array of colours.
  9. Foxgloves self-seed so you may have them beyond the cutting garden, but are beautiful with their height and fascinating interior colourations.
  10. Gaillardia are daisy-like gems of gold, orange and bronze.
  11. Dahlias can provide the most amazing flowers; colours that defy belief, and sizes in a range from golf balls to dinner plates. Plant in rows with strong stakes.

Whether or not you have space for a designated cutting garden, try some of these beauties combined with grasses, hosta leaves, and greens from your shrubs and other foliage plants, to give pleasure to yourself or those you love. Flowers make people happy.