Cut Flower Garden – planning for summer color

Get inspired to plan for summer color in our Pacific Northwest gardens.

Cut Flower Garden Design

There are few things that will make our guests feel more welcome than a colorful bouquet of flowers from our very own cut flower garden. With grey skies slowly turning sunny, we are all more than ready for some color to stimulate our senses.  If it were my choice, I would have bouquets of flowers in every room.  Cut flowers have a way of lifting our spirits and brightening each special occasion.  As soon as we see them, they instinctively create an “Oh-wow!” moment.

Summer gardening time is just around the corner, and it is not too early to begin thinking about using our outdoor spaces to create cut flower arrangements for ourselves and those we love.

Designing a cut flower garden

A great place to begin when designing a cut flower garden is to start by identifying your likes and dislikes. Looking at garden publications like Garden Design magazine and attending local nursery events can provide great inspiration. What color palette might you choose for your garden style? Do you have areas in your garden that provide at least 3-5 hours of sunlight? Have you considered hiring a landscape designer to help you see the big picture and help interpret your ideas into a detailed plan of action?

Summer plant combinations are often bolder and more apt to transition into fall. It is helpful to consider layering plants based on height, texture and contrast. Combining color with a variety of foliage is often what makes it have the most dramatic impact.

Another way to create impact in a cut flower garden is to plan large swathes of color. Drifts of repeated mass plantings create impact and interest. Referencing the designs of Piet Oudolf, plant designer for the Highline greenway in New York City, placing masses of color in the garden provides for a natural style that is both appealing and timeless.

Cut Flower Gardens

Flower choices:

  • Allium - A member of the onion family, Allium has a great organic shape and is available in several sizes and colors.
  • Dahlia - Many varieties are available in the form of tubers and thrive in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Crocosmia - A brightly colored plant from South Africa has masses of brilliant wands of fiery blooms that grow on tall slender stems.
  • Agapanthus - It's name is derived from the Greek words "love" and "flower". The tall sun-loving perennial from South Africa has round cluster-shaped bluish flowers and thick strappy leaves. 
  • Echinacea - Known as the Coneflower, the name is rooted in the Greek word echinos meaning hedgehog, referring to the spiked appearance and feel of the flower heads. They are available in a variety of color choices.
  • Hydrangea - A native to eastern Asia, the large classic round flower heads provide bold colorful blooms for arrangements.
  • Peonies - Many peonies live up to 100 years and come in showy varieties from traditional to the more exotic. They thrive in cooler climates and have no rival as cut flowers.

Cut flower gardens offer more than just flowers

When planning your color garden, some points to consider are selecting plants for wildlife habitats such as butterfly gardens, birds and beneficial insects, pet/friendly plants, and herbaceous plants.

Whether grown for making floral bouquets or simply to enhance a beautiful landscape, one thing is sure. It’s nice to take time to smell the flowers.  Try planting at least a few varieties that are known for their pleasant aroma.  Lavender is an example of a plant that grows well in the Pacific Northwest that has a lovely fragrance.  It is also drought tolerant, requiring little water and lots of sun.

Are you planning a cut flower garden in the future? Contact us at Spring Greenworks for help with designing and planting a vibrantly colorful garden.

If you already have a cut flower garden, what are your favorites and why do they inspire you?