Growing a cutting garden

Flowers bloom from late April through mid-October at my house on about an 1/8th of a collective area. This sounds teeny, yet, it’s a fun smattering of color in various gardens on my 4.75 acres. The first to flower are the Grape Hyacinths and soon to follow are the Alliums, Bleeding Hearts and Irises – rich, burgundy flowering transplants from my mom. The tulips sometimes make it. The bunnies with the edible win again this spring.

My homegrown flowers make me happy — in the garden, at home in eclectic vases and in recycled jars for friends and family. This joy inspired me to launch Cheerful Nature Bouquets — officially today! — and a new hillside cutting garden is underway.

A soil test has been ordered. A Sunday afternoon trek to a favorite grower, Hilltop Greenhouse and Farms, resulted in a carload of perennials and annuals. Another favorite, Salvia, was picked up at Lowes and more Starlight Coreopsis and a fun new-to-me flower set has been ordered online. Planning is underway with the aid of a borrowed book from my lovely neighbor, Michele: Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden. (After much note taking, I had to order the book for my own library.)

Cheerful Nature Bouquets is launched!

Pretty skunk cabbage

I have developed the habit of hiking along the Lowland trail in Waterloo State Park in early spring. So convenient to my home, the trail always delivers on the first distinct signs of spring with the rising of hardy gold-speckled burgundy claws in the wetlands. Oftentimes, I see this skunk cabbage peaking through early-spring snow. A big thanks to the skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) for the reassurance that spring has truly arrived. Soon, the forest bed will be sprinkled with dainty Trilliums and the outstretched green foliage of the skunk cabbage will be overlooked. Not its smell, though! It is a stinker once its leaves unfurl. Even so, I’m a fan because its a harbinger of spring in the woods and the stinky fragrance attracts certain insect pollinators. Learn more here.