Gathering Bouquets Between Raindrops & Simple Tips for Fresh Cut Flower Care

Peony blossoms are of course my favorite cut flower, and by growing many cultivars, it’s possible to extend the flowering season for a month or more

After two days of steady rain, I slipped outside this morning to wander around the garden between raindrops and gather fallen flowers for fresh bouquets. Poetic as drooping blossoms look when tumbling from perennial borders, I can’t imagine leaving them on the lawn to be devoured by snails. Oh no. In fact, the main reason I grow peonies is for cutting, and I’ve planted many other perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs with fresh flowers for bouquets in mind. False indigo (Baptisia australis), iris, columbine (Aquilegia), fox glove (Digitalis), old-fashioned roses and  poppies (Papavar orientale), are some late spring favorites for the vase. I love all colors, but I am particularly fond of deep violet, blue and cerise colored blossoms. I also cut foliage for flower arrangements, including entire branches from shrubs and trees. Of course fragrance trumps almost all other considerations when it comes to fresh cut flowers, so lilac (Syringa), fragrant abelia (Abelia mosanensis), roses, lily of the valley (Convularia majalis) and of course peonies, will always be planted in excess throughout my garden…

My studio desk with blue, false indigo (Baptisia australis) cut fresh from the garden

Whenever I see tiny bud vases at flea markets, I snap them up. I also use old spice jars, recycled perfume bottles and salvaged medicine bottles for tiny bouquets

Peonies are, of course, kept as close to nose-level as possible. With blossoms as pretty as these, it seems like gilding the lily to add anything extra to the simple blue-green, glass canning jar

Simple Tips for Fresh Cut Flower Care

Cut flowers when it’s cool in the garden. Morning or evening.

Use sharp, clean pruners or shears.

Carry a bucket with you while cutting and place flowers in tepid water.

Cut flowers in bud or just as they are beginning to open.

Cut stems long, but take care to remember the rules of pruning; particularly when cutting roses, lilacs & other shrubs (revisit this basic pruning post).

Strip off lower foliage and side branches as you go (anything below the waterline of the intended vase).

Sear sappy/milky stems with a flame or boiling water (poppies, hollyhocks, etc).

Hammer the bottom and strip bark from woody stems.

Arrange flowers in a clean vase, filled with tepid water.

Add a tiny bit of sugar and a few drops of bleach (hydrogen peroxide based is fine) to the vase when you arrange flowers.

Check and change the water in vases every other day.

A combination I love: Blue Siberian Iris with Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’ (read more about Physocarpus opulifolius here)

Weigela florida ‘Red Prince’, and the branches of many other flowering shrubs are beautiful in arrangements

Beautiful Baptisia australis looks gorgeous atop a dark dresser or dining table

Weigela florida ‘Red Prince’ produces lovely cerise blossoms on strong branches (read more about this beautiful, tough shrub here)

Words & Photographs â“’ Michaela Medina – The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions) are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reposted, reproduced or reused in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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7 Replies to “Gathering Bouquets Between Raindrops & Simple Tips for Fresh Cut Flower Care”

  1. Fran

    beautiful with the lovely pale blue glass Atlas jar offsetting the intense peony colors! just started following you on twitter and feel as if i have won a prize to gaze at these exquisite blooms…

  2. Michaela

    @ Fran, Thank you both for your wonderful words of praise, and for following The Gardener’s Eden tweets! I love the feedback… It greatly inspires me!
    xo M

  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Hi Michaela, Oh how I love your Red Prince, he is right up there near the top of my “someday” list and now I’ll have to add Baptisia australis as well… Thinking that it would look mighty nice combined with Birds-foot trefoil (most likely a near cousin?) xo D

  4. Nicole

    I love the Baptisia! We live in Peoria Illinois and after looking up the zoning etc. we will have to give it a go! Is it true that the deer won’t eat it? We have friends in Chicago who live by a forest preserve and the deer are as friendly as dogs, eating everything in sight! I wonder if this would be a good suggestion for them? They also have quite a bit of shade in their yard but some areas of partial sun… Not sure if that would work? Also, is this plant agressive?

    Thank you so much! Love you blog!


  5. Michaela

    @ Nicole – Yes! Baptisia is a very deer resistant (not sure anything is really deer “proof”, and I do not find it to be invasive at all! I think it’s a beautiful garden plant, and I hope you enjoy it (looks gorgeous backed-up by Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’, ‘Summer Wine’ or ‘Center Glow’.) ;) M

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