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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Tuesday - July 30, 2013

From: Charlotte, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Cutting Gardens from Charlotte, NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to plant a year-round picking garden for flowers to bring into my home. I want to look at landscape plans in lieu of throwing down wildflower seeds. Can you suggest a few websites for ideas?

ANSWER:

We believe you are referring to what we have always called a "cutting garden." We can't provide you with a plan, since we don't know what your soils, rainfall and available sunlight are; however, we found a number of sites when we searched on "cutting garden" that had lots of good ideas. The gist of these articles seems to be that you do not expect a cutting garden to be a landscape display, but perhaps tucked away in a sunny place where you can grow what you want and cut flowers from it without spoiling the landscaping "look" on your property. The contribution that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, can make is to introduce you to our Native Plant Database from which you can choose flowers native to your area, which is all we recommend. You can even specify the month of the year for blooming, but don't be surprised if you get no results for months like December and January. Here are just some of the websites available on the Internet:

From Better Homes and Gardens Planning a Perennial Cutting Garden

From the University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Services Creating a Cutting Garden

Cutflower Gardening by Dr. William C. Welch, Landscape Horticulturist, Texas A&M University

About.com Consider a Cutting Garden

Begin by going to our Recommended Species section, where you will find a map of the United States. Click on the state of North Carolina, and you will get this list of North Carolina Recommended Species. Note this paragraph at the top of that page:

"North Carolina Recommended

Commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in North Carolina. Visit our Suppliers Directory to locate businesses that sell native plants or seeds or provide professional landscape or consulting services in this state. Visit the Organizations Directory to locate native plant societies, conservation groups, governmental agencies, botanical gardens, arboreta, and other plant-related organizations in this state."

These are all from our Native Plant Database, simply selected for North Carolina, of which we got a list of 135. To use the "Search" feature, go to the list of specifications on the right-hand side of the page. Select on "herb" (herbaceous blooming plants) for Habit, and on Light Requirements of "sun," which we consider to be six hours or more of sun a day. Most blooming plants require full sun to be really effective. If you then click on "Narrow Your Search" you will get a list of 30 native plants that will bloom in the sun in North Carolina. Just for fun, we are going to go back and run the same list 12 times, designating a different month of blooming for each. We will tell you how many possibilities there are for each month, give you one example and a picture from our Image Gallery. From there on, you can manipulate the database to suit your needs. Remember that we recommend only plants native to the area in which you are gardening. If you go into a large commercial nursery or home improvement store you will probably find none of them for sale. See the directions to the Suppliers Directory above. Most of these plants, of course, bloom for several months, but we managed not to repeat the same plant on our list.

January: no results

February: no results

March: 4 results Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells)

April: 15 results Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

May: 18 results Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

June: 22 results Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

Jully: 24 results Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)

August: 20 results Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia)

September: 17 results Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm)

October: 11 results Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)

November: 13 results Physostegia virginiana (Fall obedient plant)

December: 1 result Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie blazing star)

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia bluebells
Mertensia virginica

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Great blue lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Fall obedient plant
Physostegia virginiana

Prairie blazing star
Liatris pycnostachya

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