Posts tagged garden
How to Root Cuttings

One of the fastest and frankly, easiest ways to expand your garden is to start plants from cuttings.

Most of us are familiar with starting plants from seeds as well as dividing plants. Plants such as swiss chard and sunflowers grow easily and quickly from seed, while plants such as irises and daylilies can be divided in the fall and spring to create new divisions of plants.

But there are some plants, such as mint or oregano or ivy that don’t really grow from seed and can’t really be divided into new plants. How exactly can you propagate them?

The answer is with rooting cuttings from your plants.

Not all plants root easily from cuttings, but there are a few common plants that are incredibly easy to root, including:

  • Catmint (Nepeta)

  • Sedum (Sedum/Hypotelephium)

  • Mint (Mentha)

  • Rosemary (Rosemarinus)

  • Sage (Salvia)

  • Wormwood/Sage (Artemisia)

  • Pachysandra

  • Vinca

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Flower Farming: 8 Easy Perennials to Take Cuttings From (And Grow On for Next Year)

As the season winds down, we’re getting ready for next year.

The funny thing about flower farming is that good flowers can be planted the same season - but great flowers need to be planned out 6-12 months ahead of time.

One of the things we are doing this year is expanding our perennial offerings for florists and wedding design, so we are in the midst of propagating a lot of hardy perennials for production next year.

It might be easier to just buy in plugs, but of course as you know flower farmers aren’t necessarily the most logical people. I actually prefer to propagate our perennials myself because I get a thrill out of seeds starting and cuttings rooting, and it’s cool to be able to say that I propagated hundreds of plants from one original “mother” plant.

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How to Grow Cafe au Lait Dahlias

Inevitably every gardener is going to try growing dahlias at some point in their career. Whether it’s for showing in the local Dahlia society exhibition, cutting for arrangements or enjoying in the garden, dahlias are invaluable for their vigor and of course their amazing flowers.

And if you’re growing dahlias, no doubt you’ll be interested in growing the famous (or infamous depending on your personal opinion!) Cafe au Lait dahlia.

The one dahlia that everyone seems to love - retail customers, floral designers, gardeners, dahlia enthusiasts and casual observers all agree that its a spectacular dahlia. In fact, the only people that seem to dislike Cafe au Lait dahlias are flower farmers for a few very specific reasons - but we’ll get into that later on.

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Mad About Geums

In the past couple years, we’ve noticed a fairly unknown plant has come into fashion in a very dark horse manner - the geums.

Loved by flower farmers and gardeners alike, it seems to be the IT plant this year, and the interest shows no signs of abating.

Known also by their common name “avens”, geums are in the Rosacea family - subfamily Rosoideae - and are closely related to potentillas as well as fragaria (the former illustrated by its form and fuzzy leaves - the latter by its sepals and foliage).

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How to Grow Cosmos for Floral Design

Cosmos are one of those garden plants that everyone seems to have grown at some point. Whether the usual wild pink variety of bipinnatus , the gold and orange sulphureus, or the fancier varieties like the ‘Double Click’ or ‘Cupcake’ series, all gardeners seem to fall in love with cosmos at one point or another.

A very easy plant to grow, cosmos are one of those garden plants that seemingly need little attention in order to thrive. In fact, they really seem to grow the best with neglect!

That’s not to say there’s not an art to growing them - especially if you’re going to be growing them for floral design.

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How to Grow Perfect Dahlias

Dahlias are the quintessential flower. Whether growing in the garden, cut for a vase on the table, or in a flower farmer’s fields to be used in weddings, bouquets and installations, they are quite possibly the most popular and more demanded flower these days.

It used to be that dahlias were relegated to enthusiastic hobbyists, who would carefully pamper and debud their plants for exhibition in the fall. Although impressive, they were only seen as specimen plants to be exhibited at garden centers and for a select intellectual few.

Something changed though. Perhaps it was Martha Stewart (the original flower queen) and her love of dahlias in the garden that led to their re-discovery. Perhaps it was garden enthusiasts like Sarah Raven that reinvigorated the use of dahlias in the garden as not just straight single-flower specimens grown for competitions, but rather for enjoyment and cutting for the vase. Or maybe it was Erin Benzakein of Floret Flower Farm with her photographs of armloads of dreamy dahlias in the Skagit Valley sunset that made the world fall in love with them.

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How to Grow Gorgeous Zinnias (For Floral Design)

There are a wide variety of zinnias available - seemingly for every intent and purpose.

    You have big, giant zinnias like the ‘Benary Giant’ series that can get a good 3-4” across and are perfect double gorgeous blooms in a wide variety of colors. The perfect zinnias for cutting and using in arrangements, they are almost like Gerbera daisies in appearance - fully double in most cases, with those same fluffy outer petals that are almost like a tutu in appearance.

    On the other hand, you also have the ‘Queen’ series. As opposed to the bright and bold colors of the ‘Benary Giant’ series, the ‘Queen’ series are a lesson in subtlety. Coming in shades of muted dusty rose combined with the delicate light green of viburnum and hydrangea petals, these zinnias are unlike the ones that you see in home gardens and in landscapes - they have a beautiful antiqued, heirloom look to them. They also have a great form, creating an almost spherical, perfect shape in some cases.

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How to Grow Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)

Scabiosa- so named because it was rumored that it could cure mange - is an old European flower that has been grown by gardeners all over the world. It’s also earned the name “pincushion flower” due to the fact that the ends of the stamens look like tiny white pinheads that have been sunken into a velvety, fluffy center of a flower.

Scabiosa are one of the flowers that we love to grow because of their ease of growth, ease of care, and the character that their stems bring to any arrangement. The same swoops and curls and swirls that poppies or ranunculus display with their stems are the shapes and motion that scabiosa can lend to an arrangement.

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How to Grow Basil for Floral Design

    Basil is one of the summer workhorses in our cutting garden. No other foliage we’ve tried has been so easy, so spectacular and so versatile. It goes great mixed with pretty much anything, holds up for a week in the vase, has that vertical form that is so hard to find, and of course the wonderful scent that is both exotic and yet comforting at the same time.

    I had always included flowering basil in the jam-jar arrangements I would sometimes make growing up, cramming a fistful of flowers from the garden with no design sense or order. Herbs had always felt like a natural addition to floral arrangements for me ever since seeing Gayla Trail’s handful of mint in a bouquet on You Grow Girl back circa 2008, so the addition of basil to bouquets had always been a thought.

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How to Grow Daucus (Chocolate Lace Flower, Queen Anne's Lace)

Daucus, also commonly called Chocolate Lace Flower, Chocolate Flower, Chocolate Queen Anne’s Lace, came onto the scene a few years back and took the florist and flower growing world by storm.

The umbellifer heads floating like clouds on strong long stems are such a beautiful sight. The variation in color runs from a dark burgundy to light cocoa to a bright white and changes as the flower ages. Even after the bloom is finished, the seed heads are this awesome weird curly magical structure that looks like some sort of chair a tiny fairy might sit on.

Despite looking like a color variant of Ammi, it is only distantly related to the Ammi majus and is actually a variety of Queen Anne’s Lace (the wild carrot that is endemic to the UK). It grows fairly quick - blooming in 65 days from seed - and from my experience blooms for a much longer period than Ammi.

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How to Grow Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea cyanus)

The first flower that I ever grew from seed were bachelor buttons.

It was the first spring at the house I was renting, and had received permission to start a small garden there. I had done some research as far as easy seeds to start, and had purchased a packet of bachelor buttons.

It seemed strange that the weird little grey seeds with their little hair-like tufts at the end would ever become really anything, but I planted them into a little bit of potting mix and waited for spring to come.

The seeds sprouted quickly, and soon sent up strappy silvery-grey leaves. I was a bit surprised at how easy they were - I had tried seeds in the past for vegetables, but never had started flower seeds before. The seedlings were incredibly vigorous, outgrowing their container in a few short weeks before getting planted outside.

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How to Grow Snapdragons (Chantilly, Potomac and Rocket)

Snapdragons aren’t necessarily one of the flowers that I first fell in love with as a grower. They were kind of “meh.” I thought of them as mostly bedraggled bedding plants that never really looked great at any point, although I was fascinated by the small snapdragon that managed to struggle and overwinter three years in a row.

    In addition, snapdragons were endemic in all of the very standard Teleflora designs, especially in the “Hospital Dolly Yellow” as Sarah Raven describes it. Boring, standard, and overused, there was nothing that I loved about snapdragons.

    That was, until I saw some photos of snapdragons in farmers fields. We don’t have too many of those vertical spires available to us - digitalis, veronicas, verbascums, eremerus are the only ones aside from snapdragons I can think of. A row of snapdragons standing upright at attention is something to behold.

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How to Grow Icelandic Poppies - Stress free!

Icelandic poppies. Their papery translucent petals are the stuff dreams are made of. Like a crushed silk dress that slowly unfurls, there is something so romantic and yet exciting about their delicate petals.

They were, also for three years, my nemesis. For three years, I've tried to germinate thousands of seeds, and every single time, I have failed. Not a single flower to show for my attempts, I had to purchase my plants in.

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Garden: Natural Dyeing, Part III: Natural Dye Colors

As we mentioned previously, natural dyeing is quite a bit of trial and error when it comes to good usable colors that affix well to silk.

There are a lot of supposed plants and materials that allegedly make certain colors, but not a lot of them come true to color. For instance, generating an actual green dye is practically impossible for us - sources all seem to lead to disappointing shades of brown.

Brown shades and orange/yellow shades are plentiful in the natural world, with greens, blacks, and true blues being far rarer. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of natural dye colors and sources that you can use to create your own silk ribbon dyes = all from natural sources, some available in your garden or flower farm!

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Garden: Natural Dyeing, Part I: Understanding Dyes

Historically speaking, dye sources have been difficult and rare items.

We as humans have been obsessed with color - more than likely due to the fact that we needed to quickly identify color when hunting and gathering in order to pick out brightly colored fruits and flowers that signalled food sources as well as to watch out for poisonous animals that might display certain colors.

Interestingly enough, it’s a proven fact that women have more color receptors in their eyes than men, possibly due to the fact that evolutionarily-speaking, women may have done more of the gathering and therefore needed better color vision to spot the fruits and vegetables that they would have to locate and harvest.

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10 Autumnal Flowers for Arranging and Enjoying At Home

Autumn is our favorite time of year for many reasons, but our most favorite reason is because of the floral arrangements that we can make now! After months and months of sunflowers and dahlias and summery arrangements, it’s now time for autumnal arrangements. I’m talking grasses, seedheads, deep bold colored flowers with burgundy, bronze, gold, rust and pumpkin shades of colors that we’ve been waiting all year long to use.

We wanted to share some of our favorites for this time of year with you, so let’s get this list started with our favorite:

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