Mother Earth Living

Garden Spaces: Plans for a Cutting Garden

By Kathleen Halloran
April/May 2007

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Illustration by Gayle Ford


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• Lady’s-mantle (Alchemilla mollis): Exquisite clusters of yellow-green flowers rise above foliage that catches the morning dew. This hardy perennial grows to about 2 1/2 feet.

• Yarrow (Achillea spp.): Long-lasting flowers. Many varieties are available in yellow, red, pink and white. Try ‘Coronation Gold’, ‘Moonshine’ or ‘The Pearl’. Will spread, but controllable. Hardy perennial to about 3 feet.

• Artemisia (Artemisia ludoviciana): While generally too aggressive for the average garden, try the better-behaved ‘Valerie Finnis’, a hardy perennial that stays to about 2 feet.

• Pinks (Dianthus spp.): For small arrangements, include an assortment of this wide-ranging genus, including the little carnation relatives, D. caryophyllus and D. ×allwoodii. In the garden, they are low-growers, generally under 1 foot.

• Globe thistle (Echinops ritro): The intricate, blue spiny seed pods add a touch of whimsy to arrangements. Hardy perennial, to 2 feet.

• Baby’s-breath (Gypsophila paniculata): This hardy shrub comes in both white and pink varieties, can reach about 4 feet. ‘Bristol Fairy’ has pure white, double flowers.

• Rose (Rosa spp.): With so many to choose from, go for the color you like best and a full flower that will unfold its petals in the warmth of the house. Try the wonderful old pink polyantha shrub rose ‘Cecile Brunner’, 3 to 4 feet tall, or ‘Chrysler Imperial’, a rich red hybrid tea that performs well on a 4- to 6-foot shrub.

• Goldenrod (Solidago spp.): With showy spikes of yellow flower clusters, this hardy perennial native is commonly seen along roadsides and grows best in lean soil. Can grow 3 to 4 feet or more; look for dwarf varieties.

• Sedum בAutumn Joy’ (Sedum hybrid): These dusky red flower clusters are a dependable sight when the days cool off. A drought-tolerant hardy perennial, it will reach about 2 feet.

• Bee balm (Monarda didyma): Try both ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ and ‘Croftway Pink’. Can spread aggressively in some climates. This hardy perennial reaches 3 to 4 feet.

• Catmint (Nepeta ×faassenii): Blue bloom spikes cover this hardy 2-foot plant. A larger version is ‘Six Hills Giant’, a vigorous perennial to 3 feet.

• Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale): A robust perennial, to 3 feet, has 4-inch flowers in a range of colors from white to deep red, usually with a dark blotch at the base of the petals. Some double forms are available.


Kathleen Halloran is a freelance writer and editor living and gardening in beautiful Austin, Texas.

Click here for the main article,  Garden Spaces: Plant a Cutting Garden .








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