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A Cut Flower Calendar

A lot of gardeners are looking to plant summer flowers, perennials, and shrubs in their landscapes that can double as a cut flower garden. Whether inspired by the proliferation of farmer’s market bouquets or the rising cost of floral arrangements, more and more people are inquiring about suitable plants when shopping at the garden centre. So, to start you off, here are twelve months of seasonal cut flower and berry suggestions, followed by additional lists of annuals, bulbs, perennials, and shrubs.


Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Pink Dawn’

We start the year with one of the longest blooming shrubs we offer, Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Pink Dawn’. The shell pink buds begin opening in November and continue blooming through to April, showing in spurts of warmer weather. The long stems and enticing fragrance make a nice filler in winter arrangements.

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

On the other hand, the bright yellow blossoms of the Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis) can stand on their own, as the fragrant bright yellow strap-like blossoms literally envelop the branches and it is also the first Witch Hazel to come into bloom.


Helleborus lividus ‘Pink Marble’

It’s no secret that I love Hellebores but did you know they also make excellent cut flowers. Your best choices here are the evergreen forms such as Helleborus lividus ‘Pink Marble’ or any of the Rodney Davey Series such as ‘Anna’s Red’ or ‘Molly’s White’ as they both have strong stems and beautiful foliage.

Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas)

The little-known Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas) is actually a Dogwood that starts blooming in late February during mild winters. The sprays of tiny yellow flowers hold up well and this species also produces edible fruits.


Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’

March is pussy willow season and while there is nothing wrong with the traditional Salix caprea or our native Salix discolor, you can actually grow your own ‘pink’ pussy willows. Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’ produces abundant bubblegum-pink catkins that really pop in any mixed arrangement.

Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum orientale)

Leopard’s Bane (Doronicum orientale) is one of our earliest blooming perennials and the yellow daisies with thin petals will brighten your early spring bouquets.


‘Electrus’ Daffodil

The warmer weather brings us an abundance of cut flowers but Daffodils are a traditional choice. But instead of settling for something mundane like ‘King Alfred’, why not plant something more unusual like ‘Electrus’ with its flared corona of salmon-pink backed in a pure creamy white.

Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’

Another unusual choice are Euphorbias and although you have to wear gloves when cutting (due to the milky sap that can cause skin irritation), the combination of reddish-purple foliage and chrome-yellow flowers found in Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ are the perfect foil for mixed arrangements.


Siberian Iris (I. sibirica) Ruffled Velvet

Siberian Iris (I. sibirica) is not only one of the easiest perennials to grow (it even tolerates wet soils) but a mature clump is capable of producing 20 stems or more. Add to this the fact that you can choose from a wide colour range including purple, deep blue, pink, white, yellow, and innumerable bicolours.

French Lilacs (S. vulgaris) 'Sensation'

Of course, May is also lilac month, with old-fashioned French Lilacs (S. vulgaris) making some of our best fragrant cut flowers. A few of my favourites include ‘Sensation’ (purple w/ white picotee) ‘Beauty of Moscow’ (dbl. pale pink), ‘Monge’ (deep purple), and ‘President Grevy’ (lavender-blue).


Herbaceous peonies (P. lactiflora)

If want to save yourself a little money on expensive cut flowers, then just grow your own peonies. Herbaceous peonies (P. lactiflora) are probably your best choice with ‘Bowl of Beauty’ (pink w/ yellow ruffle), ‘Karl Rosenfield’ (dbl. red), ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ (pale yellowish-white), and ‘Dr. Alexander Fleming’ (deep rose pink) all being readily available.

Perennial Delphiniums

Perennial Delphiniums make good companions for peonies in a spring bouquet, with deep blue, white, pink, rose, and sky-blue varieties all available, some with white or dark bees.


Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)

The heat brings a plethora of cut flowers but few are as reliable as Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium). The flower range is broad and includes salmon-orange (‘Terracotta’), bright yellow (‘Moonshine’), deep pink (‘Cerise Queen’), white and red (‘Pomegranate’).

Tall phlox (P. paniculata)

Tall phlox (P. paniculata) is another prolific bloomer, often with contrasting variegated foliage. A few of my favourites include ‘David’ (pure white), ‘Goldmine’ (hot pink w/ gold variegation), and ‘Starfire’ (deep salmon-pink w/ bronzed foliage).


Gloriosa Daisies (Rudbeckia hirta)

The heat needn’t deter the cut flower garden as there are several perennials that thrive in it. Gloriosa Daisies (Rudbeckia hirta) just knock themselves out this time of year and there are many unusual cultivars to choose from such as ‘Cherry Brandy’ (burgundy), ‘Cappuccino’ (gold with copper highlights), and ‘Chim Chiminee’ (thread-like petals).

Crocosmia 'Emily Mackenzie'

Crocosmia also comes into its prime at this time, with the hummingbirds enjoying each and every flower. ‘Lucifer’ (red, tall stems), ‘Emily McKenzie’ (deep orange w/ a red eye), and ‘George Davison’ (yellow) are all tried and true varieties.


Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena)

With its often-unpredictable weather, we have to look a little harder for cut flowers but a late sown Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena) is a reliable annual that often self-sows if some seedheads are left.

Hypericum ‘Ignite Red’ St John's Wort

Shrubby St. John Wort’s such as Hypericum ‘Ignite Red’ can also provide both flowers and red seedheads at this time of year.


Crimson Flag (Schizostylis coccinea)

Crimson Flag (Schizostylis coccinea) often has a few leftover blooms in October and this perennial bulb comes in deep coral red, salmon-pink, and white.

Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum opulus)

Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum opulus) is a tall old-fashioned shrub with trilobed leaves that turn a vibrant scarlet in the fall, complementing the abundant clusters of translucent red berries, a great filler for the late fall bouquet.


Beauty Berry (Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’)

Beauty Berry (Callicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’) is really quite boring until the leaves drop and the branches encrusted with tiny purple berries reveal themselves. These make long-lasting cuts for the vase or even winter porch pots.

Skimmia japonica 'Rubella'

Another underutilized shrub is the shade-loving Skimmia japonica, particularly the male cultivars ‘Rubella’ and ‘Rubinetta’ which bear attractive red flower buds that make excellent short cut greens.


Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) 'Little Red Goblin'

We end the year with the celebratory red of Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and the winter-flowering Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’. Both make excellent cuts but you will need a male clone to provide pollination for the berries on the female Winterberry plants.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’


Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis)

Some annuals such Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis) are impossible to find as starter plants, so you are going to want to plant from seed.

Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea cyanus)

Other worthy annuals include sunflowers, Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea cyanus), Cosmos, tall zinnias, and Gomphrena (Globe Amaranth).


Tulipa ‘Moonglow’

If you are going to invest in bulbs for cut flower production, you might as well choose something different like the lily-flowered Tulipa ‘Moonglow’, as well as hyacinths, daffodils, Cactus Dahlias, calla lilies, gladiolus, and flowering onions such as Allium ‘Purple Sensation.’


Eryngium ‘Blue Hobbit’

The same principle applies to perennials, choose unusual or prolific bloomers such as Eryngium ‘Blue Hobbit’, globe thistle (Echinops ritro), Gayfeather (Liatris spicata), Purple Coneflower, Sneezeweed (Helenium), Lupines, Anemone japonica, and of course, German Statice (Limonium).


Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire Fab’

You need look no further than hydrangeas for an abundance of long-lasting cut flowers, including the newer Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire Fab’ which emerges lime-green and fades to a deep rose pink. A few other reliable choices include Spirea ‘Vanhouttei’, forsythia, David Austin’s English roses, Viburnum tinus, Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), and Japanese Rose (Kerria japonica ‘Pleniflora’).

While some of these plants may be seasonal in nature, you can actually find most of them this time of year at Amsterdam Garden Centre. So, come see us for your cut-flower needs!

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