“Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yes, it is that time folks. Time to begin thinking of the garden, all its magic, beauty and what you desire to accomplish this gardening season.
So, today I want to share a few thoughts about a cutting garden. Having flowers grown with the specific purpose to cut and bring indoors brings me great joy. And, if you have not grown a cutting garden before, you might give it a try. Truly, I know it would tickle your heart to cut and bring something lovely, you raised, inside your home. It can also be a wonderful adventure for the “little ones” in your life.
Two of my favorite flowers in a cutting garden are zinnias and cosmos. Zinnias range in size from dwarf to giant and are available in a multitude of colors. Cosmos are wispy and flutter about in the wind. They too, come in assorted colors. Additionally, the bees love cosmos and by planting them you are not only creating something lovely, you are helping to feed and save our bees. Both zinnias and cosmos are easily grown from seed planted directly in the garden or in containers.
Another lovely flower for the cutting garden is a gladiola. For many years, I was not especially fond of, or interested in, growing glads. Then along came Norman. Norman was a retired Navy Commander and fighter pilot, a retired school teacher, a fabulous, extremely knowledgeable, energetic and enthusiastic gardener. He was my garden buddy and a dear friend. What I learned from Norman is probably enough for a book or perhaps two. But, today I will just tell you about the gladiolas.
One mid-June day, too many years ago, Norman appeared on our back porch as he often did. This particular day, he was not his normal happy, show me what’s blooming self. So, I handed him a glass of tea, with his mint (which was on its way to conquer the state of Virginia), and we sat down to chat. He had quite a large box he had brought and set on the porch. I knew something interesting was surely inside. However, he began talking about the reason for his visit, which was to tell me he was going to have knee surgery. Surgery he had put off for far too long, and his knee was to the point of needing immediate attention. Even though it was June, and clearly everyone knows gardeners have surgery in the winter, however, the surgery was in fact the next day. After I absorbed the news, he went on to explain the contents of the box.
In January of that year (January is when garden catalogues begin to arrive), Norman had ordered 250, assorted colors, gladiola bulbs. Yes, 250. And, all 250 bulbs were in the box – for me to plant. He wanted me to plant and enjoy them. Thus, saving the bulbs for him for another year. I was still working, but within a week I managed to plant all the bulbs, and my-oh-my, what a show I did have that summer. I cut, filled vases to enjoy in our home and gave them to everyone. But mostly, I took them to Norman.
Norman recovered well from his surgery and that fall, he helped me dig the bulbs. He shared many of the bulbs with me and took the remaining ones with him to be planted at his farm the next spring. Those 250 bulbs, gave me an appreciation of the beauty of a gladiola. My dear friend did work in strange ways.
To this day, I never look at a gladiola without thinking of Norman. And, I hope you will plant a few and think of him too – he would love it if you did. Gladiolas can be scattered about in a garden. They don’t take room and are not aggressive. Additionally, there are winter hardy varieties which do not have to be dug each year. And, they are a lovely cut flower. One in a vase, is a garden story.
So, I hope you will take a walk about and try to envision some zinnias, cosmos and a few brightly colored gladiolas. You will be happy you did, when you walk through your home and see the beautiful reward from your effort. But, keep in mind, “Don’t, conquer more than you can care for.” Translated, don’t plant 250 gladiolas.
See you soon,
Author’s Notes: Jelly jars and canning jars make great small vases. And, yard sales and thrift shops are a good source to purchase assorted vases.