Guest Kelly Sullivan of Botanique Flowers, a Seattle-based floral design studio, talks with Hilary about how she turned her 6,000 square foot city lot into a productive flower farm.
Cutting Garden Design Basics:
Almost all annual cut flowers require a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day during the peak growing season. Choose hellebores and filler plants for shady areas!
Amend planting areas with an application of 2-3 inches of compost at least 1x per year.
Both in-ground mounded beds and framed raised beds can create successful foundations for a cutting garden. If you already have framed raised beds, and want to transition some of your vegetable growing space to cut flower production, great! If you’re building a new garden exclusively for cutting, I’d consider building right into the ground for two reasons:
one - you don’t have to worry about soil contamination (as long as you’re not planning to grow flowers for culinary purposes)
two - flowers tend to be tall and somewhat unwieldy, so working with them in lower, in ground beds tends to be more manageable
Kelly’s production garden (and job!!) is about 1,000 square feet.
Hilary’s hobby cutting garden is around 150 square feet and provides ample blooms for cutting and sharing with friends and family
Plan for irrigation! Both Kelly and I use Dripworks irrigation products. Pressure-compensating drip tape or emitter tubing are great choices. Typically, I’d suggest using 1/2 emitter tubing to irrigate perennial plantings, so if you’re going to order a roll, just use that for your annual production areas as well!
Kelly’s Top 3 Beginner Flowers (all of these flowers have very long lifespans, see below for images of these flowers throughout the season)
Hilary’s additions: Stock, Snapdragons and Aster - but all three of these should be started indoors under lights (Kelly uses simple and inexpensive shop lights on adjustable chains!)
Good beginner flowers that bloom almost all season long: Scabiosa, zinnias, stock, snap dragons, aster and late fall cosmos from Hilary’s garden:
Perennials For Bouquet Filler and Year-Round Interest:
Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius
Lilac, Syringa vulgaris
Mockorange, Philadelphus virginalis
Spirea, Spiraea prunifolia
Annual Flowers That Are Best When Left to Self-seed:
Kelly’s cutting garden:
Cutting Garden Arrangement inspiration from Kelly:
Great Books on Cut Flower Gardening:
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More about this weeks guest expert:
KELLY SULLIVAN is the owner and Lead Designer of Botanique, a full-service floral design studio in Seattle, Washington. She creates custom bouquets, arrangements, and flower installations for weddings and events. She also offers workshops focused on sustainable design techniques. Kelly maintains a backyard cutting garden stocked with her favorite blooms. This episode is going to be dangerous because, after hearing about Kelly's cutting garden, we're ALL going to be scrambling to squeeze more flowers into our growing space.
About the Host:
Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food.