Flowers For Cutting

There are some flowers that lend themselves to being cut and placed in a vase of cool water to bring delight to the senses indoors. The herbaceous peonies that are growing here at the Faire Garden have begun to bloom, right on time for Mother’s Day, May 11. There are several varieties, all old ones, no new fancy cultivars. Some came with the property and some were passalongs from friends and neighbors, thanks May, Mickey and Laurie. Most of them are the above variety, with the palest of pink outer petals and white multi petaled interiors. As a youngster, the lady who lived next door to my parents had a large garden, filled with these types of peonies. When they began to bloom, she would have huge bouquets cut and wrapped in paper towels and waxed paper for me to take to my teachers at school. She had them ready to hand off to me as I walked by her house on my way to school. They were always a big hit. But no peonies will be cut to be brought inside here.

Another flower that is popular for cutting is the orchid. Shown above is a species, cattleya skinneri. The catts were once popular for wrist corsages for spring dances and Mother’s Day church ornament pinned to one’s suit lapel or dress collar. The flowers are stiff and waxy, holding up well to both frenzied dancing or solemn prayer. No orchids will be cut and brought into the house or worn for any purpose here.

A stalk of foxgloves would make an artistic addition to a mixed bouquet, suitable for a rendering in pastels or water colors. The above is digitalis ‘Apricot’, a seed grown specimen that has returned to bloom again another year. No lovely stalks of foxgloves will be snipped here.

St. John’s Wort, hypericum berries are often used as filler in arrangements. In fact, this is the filler that was used in offspring Semi’s wedding bouquet. It had to be specially ordered from our local grocery, to go with the mail ordered coral calla lilies for the home made bouquet. It was then that we decided to try and grow this plant for our own berry needs. They are growing nicely, even though we have never picked the berries. We like to see them on the plant.

The taller alliums, this was considered an allium by the powers that name plants at the time they were ordered, make nice additions to cut flowers brought inside. Name changes are popular with those powers and this may no longer be considered allium bulgaricum, (syn. Nectaroscordum siculum). The red flowers growing along with these bulbs are sweet william, dianthus barbatus. Neither will make it to a vase here.

The stately bearded iris, this one is Spartan, plays nicely with other flowers in a vase, or alone in a Japanese style flat container with the prickly flower frog device to hold it upright. But not here.

Another good filler, artemisia versicolor ‘Seafoam’. This was ordered from High Country Gardens last year, along with several other xeric plants. Our rainfall in normal years is too high for many of the plants offered by this southwest nursery to thrive, but this one survived our wet winter nicely. More of these will be ordered, to be grown outside and not touched by the shears.

This is the one flower that we will cut and bring inside to enjoy in a small pitcher on the kitchen windowsill above the sink. Keeping these picked will prolong the bloom period, as long as the temperature outside stays moderate. These are the first blooms open from the seeds planted out last December.

They are growing on a wire fence along with sugar snap peas, planted in January. We planted the snap peas in the same row as the sweet peas because the sweet pea plants had disappeared. We added chicken wire at the bottom to protect the peas from ravaging rabbits, and lo and behold, the sweet peas returned. They were being eaten to the nub by the hungry pests. They didn’t need to be pinched back to make bushier plants, they had been regularly pinched already.

This is the number one reason that the flowers get to remain on their stalks out of doors, or in the greenhouse/sunroom here, Hazel the plant eating cat. She can and will eat any and all living or dried flowers that are displayed anywhere in the house. She has eaten dried hydrangea blossoms that were several years old. A favorite food of hers, besides our home made soap, (ivory is the only substitute), is lettuce. Whether store bought or home grown, she will come running when the water is turned on to the wash the leaves. She will meow incessantly until she has been hand fed several morsels. She uses her paw to hold one’s hand in the proper position until she has gently taken the piece in her teeth.

Our little pitcher of sweet peas is small enough to set on a ledge that Miss Hazel cannot reach. The fragrance released by these small flowers fills the house with its perfume. While we grow many flowers that could be cut and enjoyed in the house, or on one’s clothing, the sweet peas will be giving us the joy of seeing and smelling them through their bloom time. May it be long lasting, as the flowers in the vase.


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30 Responses to Flowers For Cutting

  1. Gail says:

    It’s raining hre I hope you’re getting some, too…Love the artemisia. Xeric is so smart and I have some spots that remain dry but the winters worry me! The faux allium and sweet William look great together.

    I also have a plant eating black cat! He hasn’t any other talents, except being cute.



  2. Piondröm says:

    Ohh I love your cat!!!!!!!!soo sweet, our dog Tindra loves lettuce to and she dont like sausages.Please make a comment on our blog , we have a lottery over a gardenfairy. Carina

  3. karen says:

    Whoo, I love that artemisia. I bought a couple of things from High Country Gardens this year, too, despite our soggy summers. We shall see.

    I shall never cease to miss peonies and bearded iris (and lilac), despite the many lovely things I can grow here!

  4. Nancy J. Bond says:

    Your cat is so cute. 🙂 My bad boy eats all manner of flowering plants, too, which is why I don’t keep more houseplants. He even munched on a miniature rose bush, thorns and all. The peonies are my favorites for cut flowers, I think, though the sweet peas would give them a run for their money!

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that you can’t bring flowers inside because of Hazel. My friend has two cats inside that eat any and all plants. She is a gardener tooo and would love to bring in cut flowers but she just can’t. I feel sorry for you ladies. I love to bring in cut flowers. The flowers you have shown us are just beautiful. I think it is so great that you were able to start a plant from a wedding bouquet. I think it would be special to have something growing from such a memorable time in ones life.

  6. Amy says:

    My little red peony shoots are only about an inch tall just now 🙂 I find it so fascinating to see what is blooming in warmer climates.

    My mother has many old fashioned pink peonies. When we were preparing decorations for my wedding we picked several blossoms just as they were opening and hung them upside down. They dry beautifully and look just like large pink roses

  7. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    My kitty loves flowers too, but she doesn’t usually eat them she just likes to play with them.

    Peonies are such gorgeous flowers!

  8. Sylvia says:

    A lovely post with beautiful pictures. I don’t know how you do it, you must spend ages thinking of a ‘story’ to tell us. Amazing. Thank you for all your hard work – looking forward to the next one…!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  9. tina says:

    What a sweet neighbor you had!

  10. Rose says:

    Such beautiful flowers, Frances! I don’t think I’ve ever seen an iris the color of yours–it’s gorgeous. I, too, find it hard to cut flowers to bring inside; I’d much rather see them blooming outside in the garden. Although I can’t resist bringing in some stems of lilac each spring.

    Our cat has no interest in eating plants; he’s definitely a carvnivore. Are you sure Hazel isn’t part rabbit??

  11. Carol says:

    My peonies are a lot like yours, but I think they will not bloom for another week or so. I got mine from my Dad. He always cut bouquets of them for us to take to our teachers, and they loved them.

    I guess if you are going to have just one cut flower indoors, sweet peas is a good to have. It does smell so… sweet!

    Say “Hi” to Miss Hazel for me.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  12. Frances, says:

    Gail, our cats must be related, Hazel is the least intelligent cat I have ever owned, but she is quite attractive, to me anyway. No rain here, blue skies, maybe later. I have been watering everyday, there are so many new things to keep alive until we get a good soaker. I never know about the xeric stuff, but our slope has such good drainage I take a chance. The artemisia has such a unique texture, I love it too. The allium was planted before the sweet william appeared, lucky again.

    Carina, welcome. Usually Ken stops by. I will come on over and see what you have got, your primroses always are so lovely.

    Hi Karen, the High Country catalog is so tempting, isn’t it? That artemisia is sited on the edge of a steep slope, no way water could collect there. It had a little winter die back, but with a trim it is growing back. We are on the very edge with our zone 7 of being able to grow the lilacs, peonies, bearded iris and tulips. They don’t do as well as farther north, but they do grow.

    Nancy J., those kitties give us so much pleasure and pain don’t they? ;-> The peonies are certainly one of the most beautiful flowers, but the sweet peas have that scent and bloom so much longer. It would be hard to have to pick one over the other.

  13. Frances, says:

    Hi Lisa, Hazel prevents cut flowers from coming in, it’s true, bless her little black heart. ;-> I didn’t start the hypericum from the wedding flowers, I will have to fix that sentence so it doesn’t give that impression. I cannot start anything from cuttings except willows, those just get stuck in the ground.

    Hi Amy, that is the way I feel when reading Meems at Hoe and Shovel. She has tomatoes that are turning red! How nice to dry the flowers that way. I used to have lots of dried flowers around the house in a previous life, but now have gotten used to a more clutter free existence, HA.

    Robin, I still am thinking about your George, that is so funny. Peonies are like the movie stars dressed up for the red carpet, aren’t they?

    Sylvia, HA that is funny. In fact, I just go out and take a bunch of pictures and look at the best ones and try to figure out how to tie them together. It is fun and light hearted usually. The pictures tell me what to write. I take off during the weekend from the blog, including Friday, but try to always post on a Monday. Thanks for your support!

  14. Frances, says:

    Hi Tina, yes our neighbors are wonderful and have a huge garden, they bought five city lots, one at a time over the years. Their yard is like a park. People have weddings there and drive by all the time to see what’s in bloom. They are retired and getting older, there is a lot of mowing and work to do over there. They have been more than generous to me. Their place is the reason we bought this house, I knew there would be nice people in such a beautiful garden, and they are.

    Hi Rose, HA, that is the key to Hazel, she is part rabbit. But we cannot figure out why she is crazy for bar soap. We have to keep it up out of her reach. She will stand in the bathtub and jump up to try and get it. When the lilacs bloom, I cut every one and bring it in, they are so fleeting. I put them up high and hope Hazel isn’t interested. They don’t last more than a day or two anyway. Thanks, that iris is one of my favorites.

    Hi Carol, Hazel returns the greeting! Those are an old fashioned peony, but they are really pretty. I have them all planted pretty close together so they hold each other up without staking. It is a pretty sight. The sweet peas really have to be cut or the seeds form and they stop blooming. I have done that too, for the seeds, but really miss the blooms. So they get picked, even if they just get tossed into the compost. Enjoy your vacation, gardening!

  15. Phillip says:

    I’ve never really noticed my cat eating plants but a few days ago I noticed that she was eating rose petals that had fallen on the ground. Aren’t the peonies wonderful? Mine have started blooming too.

  16. Frances, says:

    Hi Phillip, rose petals sound like a yummy thing to eat, even for humans! The peonies are in a bed by the hvac unit, not really a showcase for them, they are so fleeting, but they can be admired from the front porch there. They really have an old fashioned romance to them, like the roses.

  17. walk2write says:

    Long live the peonies! They will live long too, probably longer than I will. Maybe it’s because they get to take such a nice long winter’s nap and only have to put on a brief show. Their strength must lie in their strong roots.

  18. Frances, says:

    walk2write, hear, hear! I have seen country lots where the house is long gone, but the peonies remain, blooming their hearts out. Some roses are like that also. I once read that peonies should be planted at gravesites because they would last forever.

  19. Cinj says:

    Beautiful flowers. At least you can enjoy them on their stems in the garden. I have two reasons not to bring my flowers inside. Although my reasons don’t like lettuce like Hazel does!

  20. Frances, says:

    Hi cinj, thanks. Even without the plant eating Hazel, few flowers would be cut to bring inside. I like to see them in the garden, they last longer and are the reason for the garden!

  21. kate smudges says:

    I had a Hazel cat, but thankfully she only liked eating catnip and spider plants. She is much missed, but fondly remember in her catmint corner of the garden.

  22. Frances, says:

    Hi Kate, I think I did know you also had a cat named Hazel. That is a good memorial to her, her memory lives in the catmint garden.

  23. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    How lovely your Sweet Peas are! I wish I could grow them. They are special because that’s what I had in the bridesmaids bouquets at my wedding. I’ve tried several times, but they never get to bloom fully before the heat takes them.

  24. Frances, says:

    Hi MMD, thanks. Maybe you could try to start them inside. I have read lots of UK gardeners do that. Keep trying, since they have that sentimental value to you. This is the first year we have had any luck, even though I have been trying every year since we moved here. The rabbits were eating them, that might resonate with you. ;->

  25. Gardener of La Mancha says:

    Hi Frances, I think the blue flowers are some kind of Veronica. It’s got opposite leaves, true-blue flowers, and the flower shape reminds me of our local veronicas. Ours are mostly crawling weed species, but this looks like a garden variety of somekind. Lovely, whatever it is. Good luck!

  26. Annie in Austin says:

    What a fun post, Frances… as each lovely flower was unveiled my wonder and amazement at your restraint deepened, because I would have cut every one of those flowers, especially the peonies.

    Since you were the author of this teaser, I was sure there would be a punchline and it was a doozy!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  27. Ewa says:

    Hazel is adorable!! I have never had a cat that loves lettuce or any other vegetable. I had a dog once, it was field spaniel, she loved eating all vegetable, except onion. even potato peels were pulled out of bin 🙂

  28. Lisa in CA says:

    Francis, your garden is just beautiful. Everything looks so vibrant and healthy.

  29. Sherry at the Zoo says:

    A cat that love lettuce? Too funny! I love all the pictures. You have so much in bloom right now.

  30. Frances, says:

    G of LM, thanks. Another vote for veronica, lots of different opinions on this one surprisingly.

    Oh Annie, thanks for that sweet comment. It is true though, I have come into the house from working in the garden when there were cut flowers, only to find the vase spilled, water on the floor, Hazel all wet and the flowers chewed up, not worth it!

    Ewa, Hazel says why thank you! How funny, potato peels.

    Lisa CA, thanks for those nice words.

    Sherry, thanks for stopping by. There is a lot in bloom right now. I was out of town all weekend and it was late when we returned last night, so I can’t wait to go see what’s blooming today.

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