Growing Your Own Bouquet
Viewing the garden outdoors is the gardener's delight, but beholding its blossoms inside is the gardener's indulgence. Fresh cut bouquets allow us to bring the beauty of nature into our homes for the enjoyment of all. Now's the time to plant flowers to enjoy throughout the seasons.
A lovely arrangement makes your mother's crystal vase come to life, a beautiful floral centerpiece makes an everyday meal something special and just a few blooming sprigs on the mantle brings a whole room to life. And a bouquet cut fresh from your own garden is such a unique and meaningful gesture for all events and occasions.
Good flowers for cutting usually have sturdy stems, blooms that are colorful, full and/or long-lasting, and fragrance is always an added bonus. Interesting green foliage adds texture and contrast to bouquets, so don't be afraid to use plants that don't bloom. Here are some of our favorite annuals, perennials and shrubs to use along with a few tips to help maximize outdoor beauty inside:
Annuals: snapdragon, dahlia, zinnia, cosmos, dianthus, dusty miller, marigold, salvia, coleus, celosia
Perennials: tall phlox, coneflower, yarrow, pincushion flower, lavender, delphinium, Oriental lily, peony, penstamon, daisy, anemone, hosta, aster, sedum, fern, ornamental grasses, iris, lady's mantle, liatris, coreopsis, veronica
Shrubs: forsythia, lilac, hydrangea, rose, butterfly bush, beautyberry, Nandina, winterberry holly, sweetshrub, quince, redtwig dogwood, witchhazel, red chokeberry
- Cut early in the morning or in the early evening. Snip above a node or dormant bud to spur new growth. Cut stems long enough for arrangements and remove unnecessary leaves, which will accelerate dehydration of flowers.
- Take a bucket of lukewarm water to the garden with you and immediately immerse the cut stems.
- Indoors, re-cut the stems at an angle under running water to eliminate air bubbles that can prevent food and water up-take.
- Condition the flowers before arranging. Rest the stems in lukewarm water in a cool, dark place so they can absorb water.
- Arrange in a clean vase in warm water. Trim away any foliage that will fall below the water level to prevent decay.
- Add preservative (recipe below). The sugar supplies nutrition. The bleach keeps the water free of bacteria and the citric acid helps to acidify the water.
- Change water every few days.
- If possible, keep arrangement out of direct sunlight.
Flower Preservative Recipe
2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon household bleach
1 quart lukewarm water