Selecting flowers: when to cut and when to bed

When planting a flower bed, the soil conditions and the bed's position play an important role. Choose a variety of flowers that bloom at different times to ensure your garden always looks colourful.

Selecting flowers: when to cut and when to bed

Flower beds and borders

  • Make a seasonal bed that contains early-blooming onion plants next to colourful perennials. Geranium, thread leaf coreopsis (tickseed), pansy and French marigold all bloom for a very long time.
  • Shade-loving plants include cyclamen, anemone, bishop's hat, lady's mantle, mimulus (monkey flower), St. John's wort and lungwort.
  • Damp shade-tolerant blooms include Christmas rose, foxglove, hosta, lily-of-the-valley, primrose and snowdrop.
  • Plant some poppy, lupine and delphinium for an early summer flower bed. Threadleaf coreopsis and multicoloured hollyhock are also good choices.
  • In the summer, plant ornamental grasses to make an attractive visual island in a flower bed. These grasses are eye-catchers until late fall and will add a uniquely romantic note to summer flower bouquets.
  • Keep flower beds from appearing totally bald in winter by including ornamental grasses, evergreens and perhaps some stone garden ornaments.
  • Create flower bed variety with some plants with attractive leaf shapes, or low shrubs with colourful bark or fruit.
  • Look for lots of buds, good branching and a well-developed, moist root ball when you're choosing plants to buy.

Cutting flowers

Here are the ground rules for cutting flowers: cut blooming flowers in the early morning, and buds in the evening. Cut irises, daffodils, carnations, marigolds, roses, day lilies and tulips as buds. But gladioli, milkworts, snapdragons, lupines, peonies, liatris and delphiniums should be partly open. Asters, chrysanthemums, dahlias, sunflowers and black-eyed Susans are at their best in the vase only when you pick them fully-opened.

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