A well stocked cutting garden can be a flower arrangers delight.
The gardener in the family can earn significant brownie points if they can provide foliage to complement the flowers.
What Makes a Cutting Garden
- A part of the garden dedicated to growing plant material for decoration and flower arrangements is called a cutting garden.
- A cutting garden is not meant for display. You can mix colours and plants. You can plant closer together to encourage quick straight growth and feed plants with a view to harvesting as they reach their peak.
- Good horticultural practice of soil preparation, feeding and caring regimes will boost crops.
- Foliage from trees and shrubs should be harvested when the shrub is sufficiently established to regrow.
- Many trees and shrubs will be located throughout the garden. They do not need to be in a special area but take care with the end appearance after you have harvested for your display.
Why Worry about Foliage
- Arrangements often look better if up to half the arrangement is foliage.
- The stems provide a framework and can be used to establish boundaries around floral material.
- Stems and branches on their own can look sculptural.
- Greens and greys do not fight with other colours in an arrangement.
- Green foliage looks particularly good when contrasting strong red flowers.
- Foliage is available from evergreen shrubs even when garden flowers are out of season
Evergreen Shrubs and Trees for Cutting
- Brachyglottis monroi has crimped edged leathery grey leaves
- Bupleurum fruticosum the green leaves & red stems offer double attraction
- Chisya ternata with shiny, pungent leaves is quite prolific
- Eleagnus x ebbingei’s new leaves are bronze coloured
- Eucalyptus gunnii – keep stooled to produce round grey leaves
- Olearea ilicifolia has spiky matt grey-green leaves similar to Holly
- Pittospurnum tenuifolium ‘irene patterson’ has marbled green/white foliage while Pittospurnum Purpureum’s are chocolate to purple
- Rhamnus alaternus alaternus grows small cream leaves on reddish stems
Other Plants for Florists Foliage
- Cornus alba is a dogwood that looks distinctive in a flower arrangement
- Cotoneaster corokiaq has dark wiry stems which are more prolific than the corkscrew hazel.
- Cotinus coggygria pupureus is deep purple and also provides frothy flowers in summer.
- Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ is unique in carrying multi-branched stems of silver filigree foliage. It should be grown primarily for the color and texture.
- Lamb’s Ears have soft furry grey leaves.
- Asparagus fern is a good standby for frothy green stems.
- Coleus produce a wide range of colourful, soft leaves.
- Hostas have leaves that can be like crinkly plates in greens, yellows and glaucus blues.
- Lavender and rosemary have scented foliage but are more often grown for their flowers.
More Tips on Selecting Woody Plants
- Chose plants that regrow rapidly after severe and frequent pruning and are harvestable early in life.
- Pick plants that grow numerous stems borne over a long period of time.
- Desirable features include stems at least 18″ long, retention of flowers, berries and foliage with a good vase life.
- Boxwood, dogwood, forsythia, holly, hydrangea, jasmine, lilac, pussy willow, and corkscrew willow have long been popular in the floral trade.
Read more on the web site of The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers
To grow a generic mix of flowers for arrangements and bouquets check out Thompson & Morgan