Can’t get enough chocolate? Then this is the plant for you. Chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata) is a native wildflower from the Southwest. These sunny yellow blossoms release a rich chocolate fragrance during the morning hours. Plants are drought-tolerant once established and make a great choice for low water-use or xeriscape gardens. Encourage longer blooming and tame plant sprawl by cutting stems back in midsummer. Chocolate flower grows 12 to 20 inches tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
For a fall harvest celebration, decorate with items from your garden like pumpkins, gourds, eucalyptus cuttings and fresh flowers. Seat many guest by creating a temporary table with planks of wood set on top of saw horses.
The French Country-style family room features windows or French doors on three sides of the space that open up to the wraparound garden and ocean view. The garden is filled with edible plants and show flowers, including cutting beds and climbing roses, citrus trees and lavender bushes, grape vineyards and raised vegetable beds.
Garden phlox makes a great addition to a cutting garden, and Volcano Phlox is no exception. This fragrant phlox continues to flower all summer long if you cut plants back by a quarter after the first flowers fade. Plants grow 24 to 28 inches tall by 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-10. Good vase companions for phlox: chamomile, euphorbia and hosta (shown).
Roses in the Romantica series, from Star Roses & Plants, have old-fashioned flower forms with new and improved disease resistance. ‘Moonlight Romantica,’ the newest rose in the line, is very fragrant, with large, light yellow flowers suffused with white. The bushy, vigorous plants grow to 6 feet in zones 6-9. Grow this variety in a cutting garden.
Violet to brown tinted centers on these clematis flowers contrast strikingly with pure white petals. The largest blossoms appear on plants in early summer, followed by smaller flowers on new stems in midsummer to early fall. Gardeners often grow ‘Henryi’ as a trailing clematis at ground level, letting stems tumble along and cascade over rock walls. For best flowering, prune stems in late winter or early spring, cutting stems back to 6 to 9 inches above a pair of fat buds. Vines grow 6 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.
Bee balm, also known as Oswego tea, explodes with floral fireworks in summer. This variety is ‘Raspberry Wine,’ beloved for its burgundy-tinted leaves that resist powdery mildew. Flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Bee balm (Monarda didyma) makes a terrific addition to a cutting garden. Place plants in full sun to part shade with consistently moist soil. Rabbit- and deer-resistant plants grow 30 to 36 inches tall and 14 to 18 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Look for bee balm in a host of colors and plant sizes—there’s one to fit any spot in your garden.
Add bright gold to stream or pondside plantings with Chinese globeflower (Trollius ‘Golden Queen’). Blooms open 2 to 3 inches across from late spring into midsummer on plants that grow 24 to 36 inches tall by 18 to 24 inches wide. Include this beauty in a cutting garden—its flowers make a great addition to bouquets. Chinese globeflower is a slow grower and takes one to two years to become fully established in the garden. Hardy in Zones 3-7.
Cutting tools are vital to successful gardening. Start with the dynamic duo of hand pruners or shears and loppers. Hand pruners are the tool of choice for stems up to ¾ inches thick. It’s a go-to tool for deadheading or pruning perennials, trimming new growth on shrubs and snipping thick pepper and squash stems. With hand pruners and loppers, a bypass blade design (blades work like scissors) give you more cuts and versatility in the garden. Also invest in a sharpening tool of some type, along with lessons on use. Clean and sharpen cutting blades regularly to keep them in tiptop shape. Last but not least, pick up a good pair of sturdy scissors (bright handles are preferable—helps in not losing them in the yard). You’ll grab those for snipping twine, herbs, flowers for bouquets, greens and a host of other items.
Even though alliums are related to onions and garlic, you probably won’t smell anything unless you crush the plants' leaves. In the fall, give the bulbs a spot with full sun, and plant them 6” deep and 12-14” apart, with the pointed ends facing up. With their long, slender stems and globe-shaped flowers, alliums are great for a cutting garden. Don’t worry if their foliage turns yellow by mid-summer. It’s just going dormant until the bulbs are ready to bloom again.
No matter what makes someone cherish a plant, for it to remain a garden favorite it must tolerate a wide range of soils and climates. The bright red berries of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica), the large winter flowers of Camellia japonica ‘Pink Perfection’, and the fragrant stems of paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta) are from plants grown at my family home place for over 75 years with no care at all. And they have been shared from cuttings and divided clumps and bulbs throughout our whole family.