Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cutting garden heaven

I have a little slice of heaven that grows on the side garden, by the foundation of the house. If you read my blog much, you know I have a bit of an obsession with cut flowers.

Some people who garden can't bear to cut the blooms from their flowers for various reasons. I can relate to that....I would never cut off all of the blooms from plants on which I want to see the blooms. Obviously, cut flowers have shelf life. I'd much prefer to see the blooms on the plants--especially perennials, since their bloom time is limited.

But....I love having the beauty of fresh, cut flowers in my home. I like seeing the fruits of my labor displayed inside...and I can't always justify the cost of buying cut flowers. So, I cut from my own garden. A tiny bit of the perennial flowers, as to not deplete the flowers noticeably. I also plant some flowers just for cutting.

Although I cut from all areas of my garden--including the herb garden--I have one spot that is my favorite. My zinnia patch is near and dear to my heart.

For the cost of two or three seed packets, I have a wonderful area just for cut flowers. I love zinnias...they are tough, require little water or attention and last for a week when cut. Plus, the blooms are so pretty and vibrant.

Since the side garden (along the foundation) is where all of the utility lines are located, it makes perfect sense to plant from seed in this area. That way, I don't have to worry about the lines at all.

All of the zinnia varieties I choose are tall least 36" tall. Generally, I cut a bouquet on the weekend and it lasts the entire week. I cut down to the spot where I see a new bloom coming on. Many people don't realize that the more you cut flowers (or deadhead), the more the plant puts on new growth!

These zinnias are between a raised bed and our compost bin. Although the bottoms of the stems are a bit unsightly, I don't mind since it's not in the front of our house or in direct view in the backyard. The other thing that is wonderful about this spot is that it is directly next to the brick wall. Brick is great for absorbing heat from the sun during the day and letting off that heat at night. This makes for a great little microclimate that keeps the plants going much later into fall than flowers planted out in the open landscape.

If I had to choose one downfall of the zinnias, it would be that they don't self-seed. My cosmos, sunflowers and snapdragons all leave behind some volunteers for the next season. The zinnias have so many good attributes that I over look that one flaw. : )

Let's face it, not everything in heaven is perfect. ; )

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