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Grow Your Own Cut Flower Garden

- Robbie Caponetto
Robbie Caponetto

So long, store bought!

There’s nothing like having a fresh bouquet of flowers in the kitchen or on your bedside table. But then again, there’s really nothing like the satisfaction of knowing those very flowers came from your own garden. There’s a certain gratification in knowing you tended to these colorful beauties yourself, and if you’ve had the plants long enough, they’ve basically cost you nothing.

It may take some time to get established, but at least you can enjoy the freshly planted greenery in the meantime. Depending on what you plant, you could have flowers in a few months to a few years. With just a little regular effort, you could be operating your own little flower farm. Here, some perfect “picks” that are sure to keep your vases full year after year.

Peonies

This isn’t for the faint of heart, but boy is the payoff big. Start with Southern-friendly selections like Festiva Maxima or Sarah Bernhardt. After that, give it a solid two to three years to see good blooming.

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Dahlias

These big, dramatic flowers hate long hot summers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at them. Try growing them in afternoon shade, and plant in April or May. For the best selection, buy dormant roots in February and March, from mail-order sources like dahlias.com.

Daffodils

These easy-to-grow bulbs come back every year, stand up to both cold and heat, and don’t require dutiful doting. Plus, you may know them as the yellow and white flowers, but they come in shades of orange, apricot, pink, cream, and even red. Plant bulbs in the fall and expect blooms winter to spring, depending on your region.

Zinnias

Some of the easiest flowers to grow from seeds, these don’t require much in way of specific conditions. Not only that, but the more you cut the more they’ll grow. Oh and butterflies love them. They’re so quick growing, you can plant the seeds mid-summer and see blooms late summer into fall.

Snapdragon

For a little dramatic height—in the garden and in arrangements—snapdragons are just the fix. Set out started plants in the fall and see blooms winter-spring until it really heats up.

Watch: A 10-Minute Floral Centerpiece for Summer

But in the spirit of the Barefoot Contessa, if you don’t have time to measure out a plot of your yard, dig up the land, tend to the plants, patiently wait for them to have enough flowers to cut without stunting its growth, and then maintain them throughout the year, store-bought is fine.

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