It’s a mystery.   For years I’ve tried to grow this clustered bell flower for cutting, and regardless of where I moved it or what care I showered upon it, as far as a cut flower – it was a failure for me.  Then a few summers ago as I was strolling through a friends garden, I halted in amazement as I stood before an enormous bunch of purple clustered bell flowers.  The funny thing was, she didn’t even know what they were, just ‘some plant’ she got as a gift from her kids.  I begged a few starts from her, and this summer they are just as stunning in my own cut flower gardens.  A few years ago I wouldn’t have recommended this plant, but as the photos show, you can grow some stunning clustered bell flower for cutting – some as large as the palm of your hand!

Growing information:

Hardiness – zone 3 – 8

Height – 20 inches

Bloom time – early summer

Light requirements – Full sun to part sun

I love Pasque flower for being such an early bird bloomer in my gardens.  The colorful star-shaped blooms are opening right with the daffodils, even before the tulips.

And while I love them for heralding in the Spring, I also enjoy them when they are done blooming; it is then that the fuzzy-wuzzy seed heads often find a place in my flower arrangements.  While the flower itself is often too short to use as a cut flower, the stem continues to grow taller as the seed head emerges, making it useful for cutting at that stage.  It is a very low maintenance perennial.

I initially planted both a purple and a red Pasque flower, and now have a violet Pasque flower that I am guessing is a seedling from a cross of the two.  I love surprises like that!

Growing information:

Hardiness – zone 4 – 8

Height – bloom height 8″-10″, seed head height 12″-15″

Bloom time – Early Spring

Light requirements – full sun to mostly sun

Formerly known as Anemone Pulsatilla.

I am looking for a home for some perennial seeds; I used just a few seeds out of each flower seed packet and can’t bear to throw the rest away!  The seeds are for these perennial flowering plants which will all be useful as cut flowers:

Asclepias Gay Butterflies (Butterfly Weed)
Chinese Lantern (considered an annual in some areas)
Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Sunray’
Geum chiloense ‘Lady Stratheden’
Helenium autumnale Yellow
Penstemon strictus (Rocky Mountain)
Platycodon Komanchi (Balloon Flower)
Rudbeckia Green Wizard

If you would like a packet of seeds, just drop me a line in the comments box.  If the adoption response is good, I will pick eight winners, if not, you might end up with all of them.  If you are a randomly chosen winner, I will contact you for your mailing address – the postage is on me!  Happy Gardening!

Veronica can be a workhouse in the cut flower garden; it will provide a full second crop of stems if cut down completely to the ground after the first harvest. Veronica is a spiky or linear type flower that provides movement, action, or life to an arrangement, and is long lasting in the vase.  Available in blue, purple, pink, or white, I have found the blue and purple varieties to be the most vigorous and productive growers.

My Veronica Longifolia does require support to prevent flopping and bent stems; a simple light-weight wire tomato cage is adequate.  I also grow Veronica Spicata for cut flowers; they are shorter and don’t require any support, but the blooms are smaller and stems are thinner than the Longifolia, and the second crop is often too short to be useful as cut flowers.

In my gardens I have found that Veronica attracts the tarnished plant bug, which causes unsightly damage to the foliage.  The tarnished plant bug can be easily controlled by hand picking or with an insecticidal soap.

Veronica spicata is also an easy perennial to grow in borders and accent gardens.   It is not fussy, and grows in a neat, tidy  clump that doesn’t need frequent dividing, and provides an upright and spiky contrast to mounding and round flowers or plant shapes.  Deadheading of spent blooms will provide subsequent re-bloom throughout the summer for continual color.

Growing information:

Height – from 15″ to 30″, depending on variety

Light requirements – full to partial sun

Bloom time – first bloom in early to mid summer, second bloom in late summer if cut back

Hardiness – zone 3 – 8

blooming helenium

Growing information:

Height:  30 inches tall

Prefers full sun

Hardiness:  zones 4 – 8

Bloom time:  mid Summer to mid Fall

The small blossom size on this plant, about 1″, make this useful as a colorful filler in mid to late summer.

blooming bleeding heart

A few years ago, Julie, my daughter, and Elise, my granddaughter (then 4 years old) were cutting flowers.  In the back of the house the bleeding heart was blooming, and when Elise saw it she said, “Oh, Julie, will you pick me some of those ‘heart beats’?”

The old fashioned Bleeding Heart graced gardens years ago, and is still popular today.  It will grow as large as a small shrub if given the right location, and the unique heart flowers that hang in a row delight both young and old, especially four-year-old little girls!

Growing information:

Hardy zones 3 – 8

Bloom time – late spring

Height – 28 inches tall, can grow the same wide

Prefers full shade to some shade.

Cut when one or two hearts are almost full size to use as a cut flower.  Flowers continue to grow and spread out in the vase.

Have your children or grandchildren given plants or flowers a catchy new name?  Please share it to help everyone smile!

blooming huskers red pods

Husker’s Red Penstemon delivers three seasons of interest to my gardens.  In early summer I cut the purplish foliage to use as fillers in bouquets, then in mid summer I cut the blushing pink flowering bells.  In late summer the flowers have transformed into an interesting cluster of colorful seed pods, which are useful for an accent in flower arrangements.  Other penstemon varieties will also make interesting seed pods if not deadheaded, usually they form an interesting cluster of green pods.  Deadheading of Penstemon will encourage new growth and rebloom.  Penstemon will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

Growing information:

Hardy zones 3 – 9

Bloom time – mid summer

Height – 24″ tall, other varieties can vary from 12″ to 48″

Plant in well drained soil


Echinops ~ Globe Thistle

August 27, 2008

blooming globe thistle2

With its unusual shape, texture, and color, globe thistle adds much interest to both the garden and vase.  The foliage definitely resembles a thistle, so this plant might work better in a cottage garden rather than a formal garden.

Growing information:

Hardy zones 3 – 8

Height – 30″ to 48″

Bloom time – mid to late summer

Plant in average, well drained soil.  Drought tolerant.

Good for fresh cut flowers or dried.

blooming scabiosa

Pincushion flowers are an adorable addition to a flower arrangement; the 2 inch white or lavender blossoms are elegant and long lasting in the vase.  The varieties to grow for cutting include ‘Fama’, ‘House Hybrids’, ‘Alba’, ‘Blue Perfection’, and ‘Grand Stone’.  Scabiosa is very low maintenance, rarely needing dividing and doesn’t require support.

Growing information:

Hardy zones 3 – 7

Height – 24″ to 36″

Bloom time – Mid summer

Plant in full sun or light shade, prefers afternoon shade in warmer zones

blooming phlox natural feelings

Tall phlox brings a burst of color to the mid summer garden, and one of my favorites for its unusual coloring and twisted petals is ‘Natural Feelings’.

The rosy pink petals are striped with green and never fully open, giving it a look much like statice.  Not only are they long blooming and draw much attention to the garden border, they are also a long lasting cut flower for flower arrangements.

Growing information:

Hardy zones 4 – 8

Bloom time – mid summer, long blooming

Height – 24″ to 30″

Plant in sun, with good air circulation to help prevent mildew