There is great joy to be had in gathering flowers from your own garden, either to put into a vase or to give as an impromptu gift. When my children were young they were forever raiding my garden for small posies to give to their teachers or friends, and sometimes the pickings were pretty slim and even as an ex florist it was pretty challenging! Plus, lets face it, if you’ve waited all season for those gorgeous lilies or iris to flower then chopping them down to give away or for just a few days of indoor glory is going to feel like a pretty big sacrifice!
The trick is to include flowering plants in your garden design in such a way that their is an abundance of flowering plants throughout the year and in a way that means cutting blooms doesn’t detract from your floriferous garden aesthetic.
Here’s 5 easy ways to include flowers for picking in your garden design:
1. Plant a Picking Garden
Picking gardens, also known as cutting gardens, are where flowering plants, especially feature blooms, are grown for the sole purpose of cutting. They tend to be a little eclectic in their design as a ‘the more the merrier’ approach is needed so you could choose a tucked away spot or, consider the periphery of your vege garden, if it’s big enough. Just make sure it will capture plenty of sun. Plant in rows for easy harvesting and go crazy with bulbs that will multiply over time such as Asiatic, Casablanca and Christmas lillies and Japanese or Dutch Iris.
2. Sow a Wildflower Berm
If you are tired of mowing that front berm, then consider using that wasted space to sow a wild flower garden. From seed is best and there are lots of specific mixes available, depending on whether you are looking for a cottage garden effect, bee or butterfly attracting plants or a pollinater mix. Keep safety in mind and ensure that traffic and pedestrian viewlines are clear and visibility splays out of your driveway are not obstructed
3. Create a Cottage Garden
Brimming with a mix of gorgeous, pickable plants, creating a cottage garden is a great way to ensure a steady stream of pickable flowers. Ditch the front lawn and mass plant an abundance of old fashioned favourites instead. Include a mix of large feature flowers such as such as roses, dahlia and delphiniums, along with those small filler flowers such as salvia, penstemon, larkspur and lavender. If you need a more structured look, use large leaf foliage plants or clipped forms to offset the floral abundance.
4. Pretty up the Productive Garden
Adding flowering plants to your vegetables garden not only pretties it up and gives it a lift visually and will also help attract pollinators. Sunflowers are an obvious picking choice but smaller picks such as calendula, coreopsis and marigolds also look lovely massed in a small jar or vase. If you includes fruit trees in your productive area they can provide sprays of blossom or fragrant twigs of citrus blossom.
5. Add Stars to the Shrubbery
Shrubs and trees are a great source of large, dramatic flowers and foliage, particularly in the winter when many perennial gardens are looking a tad empty. With so many cultivars to choose from magnolia, camellia and gardenia can be worked into most garden themes. Fragrant sprigs of daphne or osmanthus make these worthy of a spot in your garden and if you are gardening in the shade, choose from the myriad of hydrangea cultivars.