Even small gardens can have a cutting garden

Way back in winter 2019/20, I decided to turn some of my bigger planters from vegetables to flowers. Yes, I made a cutting garden in the Microgarden. With no regrets. Not one.

When the Plague of 2020 had everyone else scrambling to buy up veggie seeds, I already had my seeds – for Zinnia, Calendula, Cosmos, and other long-blooming flowers – as well as Dahlia tubers and three more cultivars of Gladiolus corms. As a result, when spirits have needed boosting most, we have been blessed with an ever-changing display of cut flowers.

Don’t think you have to sacrifice beauty in the garden to have a cutting garden. The beauty of having planted in containers is that I can move them around to fill bare spots.

Giving over my largest planters to the flower garden also doesn’t mean I didn’t plant vegetables. I still have baby cucumbers (you can see them climbing in the background in the first pic below), tomatoes, pole beans and herbs, all in new soil and most in new planter bags. But it does give me a chance to let the soil in my very large water troughs rest for a year because that’s where I put the shallow-rooted gladioli.

When it comes to overwintering summer bulbs, I’ve found glads to be almost idiot-proof (I’m the idiot that needs proofing). And they last a long time as cut flowers.

I really had no idea what they’d really look like when I ordered from Canadian bulk bulb retailer FlowerBulbsRUs.com. I just picked three I thought might look well together. And they did! [Full disclosure: I pay for my bulbs, just like a regular person.]

My first bouquet, in a vase by our daughter Lucy. See her work @avonleashop on Instagram.
As the Zinnias and Dahlias began to bloom, I just expanded on the first arrangement.

Then came the glads! ‘Greenstar’ is a star, for sure. ‘Spic-and-Span’ has great striations and purple stamens. And ‘Sotsji’ has to be my favourite. All frills. Cursor over the thumbnails for the caption or click on any image for the slideshow.

Together, they’re just amazing.

Here are some of the other beauties in this year’s cutting garden. A couple of years ago taught me I should never be without zinnias.

The flowers I’m looking at today.

The cutting garden has brought me a lot of joy. And thank goodness for that. How about you?


  1. So interesting that you did this. I had already decided to plant more flowers in my raised bed now used for veggies and producing more than I can eat. In other years it was easier to give away my surplus. I will try Glads next year along with the Dahlias and Zinnias now growing in the assigned cut flower garden.

    1. My glads gave me about a month of flowers indoors, and the zinnias are continuing to brighten up my days. I’ve even become enamoured of zinnias in their less-than-perfect phase. The cutting garden was definitely a pleasure centre for me in 2020.

  2. I love your arrangements! One thing I am still trying to figure out is how to keep gladioli stems straight. Any tips will be received gratefully.

  3. This is such a timely post for me Helen, as I’ve been musing about squeezing in a small cutting garden somewhere and pondering where… and which flowers to grow. I’ve made a few bouquets out of the self seeders in the lawn (ox-eye daisies, Eryngium and lemon balm, plus Alchemilla in a tiny vase) and would like to do more, yet I can’t bear to cut anything flowering that’s in the ground. Let’s see what next year brings…

You might also like