In the Garden:
Creating simple summer bouquets of flowers from my garden keeps my house full of color.
June's a great time to gauge the garden's progress. My main goal is to produce tons of flowers. If I can pick a bouquet of beautiful flowers for the house almost every day, life is good.
Whether you grow your own or buy flowers, a great bouquet needs several qualities such as spikey and round flower shapes, a minimum of three colors, a mix of loose and tight flowerheads, and foliage with bold and fine textures. I like something that smells good as well. I even have used a sprig of rosemary in a bouquet if a fragrant flower isn't available. Generally, I prefer a mixed arrangement with one of everything in flower that day.
I grow plants that flourish without needing regular spraying for pests. I pride myself in building great soil, giving plants plenty of water and fertilizer, deadheading, mulching, and cutting back when needed. However, I don't bother with plants that act as an insect or disease trap, such as peonies and lilacs. Some of my best flowers for cutting include purple coneflower, garden phlox, rudbeckia, butterfly bush, St. John's wort, daylily, lantana, and the roses 'Caldwell Pink', 'Fairy', and 'Red Cascade'.
The best time to cut flowers is early in the morning or late in the afternoon after irrigation. However, if it looks like rain, I'll cut flowers any time I'm in the garden. Rain has a way of knocking petals off the most beautiful flowers. To cut, use a very sharp knife (single-edge is best) or thin-bladed pruners or sharp scissors, and carry a bucket of tepid water to hold the cut stems. Most flower buds showing some color will open, so cut some of these. Cut as long a stem as is practical. You can always trim it down later.
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