Flowers are a symbol of love and respect. They come in all shapes and sizes. The most popular flowers include roses, tulips and lilies.
These hardy workhorses of the flower farmer produce long-lasting, sweet-smelling blooms. They’re a mainstay in cottage gardens and make beautiful additions to bouquets.
Almost every flower can be cut and enjoyed indoors. But growing a cutting garden of flowers takes some planning.
Jessica Damiano writes about gardening for The Associated Press. Damiano says that she cuts lilacs to bring indoors for their scent in the spring. And hydrangeas and roses make it indoors on her dining room table for the summer.
The first step, Damiano says, is to think about flowers as a crop to be harvested. Just as some tomatoes are better for use in sauces, some flowers are better for cutting and showing than others.
Flowers that do not grow tall nor bloom are not the best to show indoors. Damiano says to look for this information in seed catalogs. The descriptions often include whether specific kinds of flowers, from perennials, annuals or tender perennials, work well for cutting and showing.
Perennials are plants that flower for more than one year. Some flower for just two or three weeks, while others flower repeatedly. And they usually flower in their second year, but sometimes third.
Annuals are plants that live for just one year. But they usually produce more flowers during the growing season.
Tender perennials are perennials in the sense that they live for more than one year. But, they are usually grown as annuals because some do not dependably return and some cannot survive winters.
To ensure a continual supply of flowers for cutting, Damiano says to plant seeds or young plants every two weeks.
Annuals that are good for cutting include cosmos, globe amaranth, larkspur, and Queen Anne’s lace. Perennials to grow and cut include bee balm, coneflower, fox glove, lily, and rose. Tender perennials that work well for cutting include California poppy, snapdragon, and strawflower.
Both annuals and perennials can be grown in the ground, in raised beds, or even in containers. If you have enough room, growing them in separate beds will simplify yearly planting. But it is not necessary. If you are short on space, plant where you can.
Most flowers need fertile, well-draining soil, repeated watering, and at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. You can use plants bought from a garden center, start your own from seed indoors, or plant seeds directly into the garden.
Add a large amount of compost into planting holes to provide nutrients to the plants. If you’re planning ahead, top the soil with five to eight centimeters of compost in the fall, and the bed will be highly fertile by spring.
Beds should not be much wider than a meter. This will help to keep your harvests within easy reach from all sides. When planting, place the tallest flowers at the backside of the bed, middle-sized plants in the center, and smaller plants in the front so that all are easy to get to.
Be sure to follow directions for plants on how much space they need to understand their full-grown size. Plants that do not have enough space often become diseased plants.
After planting, add a balanced, slow-release fertilizer and five to eight centimeters of mulch, then water well. If you are planting seeds directly into the garden, fertilize and mulch when the growing plants are 10 centimeters tall.
Beginning three weeks after planting, add a liquid flower fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus. And repeat every two weeks.
I’m Gregory Stachel.
Jessica Damiano reported this story for The Associated Press. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
garden – n. an area of ground where plants (such as flowers or vegetables) are grown
scent – n. a pleasant smell that is produced by something
bloom – v. to produce flowers
catalog – n. a book containing a list of things that you can buy or use, and often pictures
drain – v. to remove (liquid) from something by letting it flow away or out
compost – n. a decayed mixture of plants (such as leaves and grass) that is used to improve the soil in a garden
mulch – n. a material (such as straw, leaves, or small pieces of wood) that is spread over the ground in a garden to protect the plants or help them grow and to stop weeds from growing
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