I have a cutting garden. . . it was one of the first gardens I planted as the gardening fever hit me just over a decade ago. It was a brilliant idea, I thought—it’s placed on the south side of the house, where it is bordered on one side by house and on two other sides by fence. My idea was that, since I can’t see it from inside the house, or even from the back yard unless I’m in that particular little area, I wouldn’t miss the flowers there when I cut them to bring them inside. I had visions of gorgeous bouquets gracing my living room coffee table all summer long.
There is just one problem with my cutting garden—I have a dickens of a time actually cutting anything out of it. Which makes a bit of a problem, for a cutting garden. I don’t know what it is—the flowers probably last almost as long inside in a vase as they do blooming on their stems out in the garden. But I just always feel like I’m ruining the garden when I cut blooms out of it. I have all these feelings of turmoil. . . “It’s so beautiful right where it is! I can’t steal color from this bed just to have flowers inside!”
And then, if I do cut any flowers, I feel guilty. And as soon as they are past their prime in the vase and start dropping little bits of things all over my living room, I think, well, guess I should have just let them be outside.
The one exception to this rule is peonies—they seem to look nice for such a short time on the plant, and since it seems like every year as soon as they start to bloom we have a storm that renders them ratty and unattractive, I don’t have trouble cutting them off. Plus, the spent bloom heads always need to be cut off the bushes pretty much right away anyway, or they look shabby. So I sort of think of it as deadheading in advance, I guess.
In the past two weeks I have cut two bouquets of peonies for the office—they smell fabulous and they are truly beautiful. And I really think peonies, for some reason, seem to last longer in a vase than on the plant (for one thing, the wind seems to be particularly hard on them).
But I have yet to take anything else out of my cutting garden so far this year. . . I guess we’ll see how it goes.