The Cutting Garden

In my daydreams, I have a really, really big garden. Like big enough to have a patio, some nice landscaping, a kitchen garden, a vegetable garden in a sunny patch far from the house, a berry patch, a mini-orchard with fruit trees, and the true luxury–a cutting garden.

What I have in real life? A postage stamp-sized backyard (which is pretty luxurious for a townhome) that is filled to the brim with vegetables, herbs, and some flowers. Sadly, I have so little room that if I cut many flowers there won’t be any left for the bees and the butterflies outside, so I concentrate more on varieties that thrive in the garden and not so much on flowers suited for the vase. Still, I’ve always wanted that cutting garden, maybe mostly because I want dahlias. Big, fluffy, exuberant dahlias big as a dinner plate. This year I sacrificed a tomato plant and carved out a sunny space for one dahlia plant. There was a time in the spring that I feared it would not bloom, but this week the first of several blooms opened. Completely worth the wait, and a joy of the fall garden.


If you have some space, big or small, for some cut flowers, I suggest you include some dahlias. These books on creating an abundant cutting garden can suggest a few more delightful varieties (like clematis, chrysanthemums, asters, ranunculus, sweet peas, peonies…) along with tips and tricks to get the most out of your flower garden.

An American Cutting Garden by Suzanne McIntire 635.966 M4599

The Flower Arranger’s Garden by Rosemary Verey 635.966 V586

The Cut-Flower Garden by Theodore James, Jr. 635.966 J236

The Cutting Garden by Sarah Raven 635.966 R196

The 50 Mile Bouquet by Debra Prinzing 635.966 P937

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