by Melinda Myers
Keep your flower vases filled all summer long with beautiful blossoms picked right from your own garden and containers. Growing seeds, plants and tender bulbs that can double as cut flowers
For early spring flowers, look to spring-blooming bulbs like tulips and daffodils, and cool weather annuals like pansies and snapdragons.
Clipping branches from trees and shrubs such as forsythia, quince and
If the selection in your spring garden is limited, strike up a trade with a friend. Pick some of theirs in the spring and share some of yours in the summer. Then make a note to add more spring-blooming bulbs and perennials to your landscape.
Gladiolas and dahlias add pizazz to summer and fall bouquets. These spring-planted bulbs combine nicely with other summer flowers and continue to bloom well after other flowers have faded in the heat of late summer.
The flower-packed spikes of gladiolas are available in a rainbow of colors that will inspire your creativity. These inexpensive bulbs are easy to plant and take up very little space. Pop them into containers, flowerbeds or even your vegetable garden. Start planting in mid-spring and continue every two weeks until midsummer for months of colorful flower spikes.
With dahlias, you can choose from dozens of different flower sizes, flower styles and colors. For easy, eye-catching bouquets, plant a color-themed blend such as the Sugar Plum Mix from Longfield Gardens. Another option is to select colors that will harmonize with flowers that are already in your gardens such as phlox, sunflowers, asters
Hybrid lilies are perennial garden favorites as well as fabulous cut flowers. Plant the bulbs of Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies and Oriental-trumpet lilies in spring, for color and fragrance that lasts all summer long. To ensure months of flowers, be sure to plant a few bulbs of each type of lily.
Annuals play an essential role in any cut flower garden. Extend your budget by starting zinnias, sunflowers, larkspur
Foliage can elevate an ordinary homegrown bouquet from good to great, and your garden can provide all sorts of interesting options. Incorporate the leaves of perennials such as hosta, baptisia,
Cutting and arranging flowers is a fun way to exercise your creativity and bring the beauty of your garden indoors. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and you’ll soon be sharing your flowers with friends, neighbors, family, coworkers
Gardening expert Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books. She hosts DVDs, TV & radio segments and is the contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her website is www.melindamyers.