Making the Cut

Garden-to-vase flowers from your own backyard. 

Fresh-cut flowers not only brighten the aesthetic of a room and provide a subtle, natural perfume, but they also have known benefits for mental and physical wellness. Studies have shown that placing flower bouquets throughout a home contributes to lower blood pressure and reduces feelings of anxiety and fatigue. Homeowners who cultivate a cutting garden can ensure a ready, steady supply of fresh flowers, avoiding the need to seek out store-bought flowers of questionable quality and freshness. 

A Good Clip 

Our favorite flowers.

To create your own cutting garden, plot an area of your existing garden or yard and ensure that the chosen space gets ample sunlight—ideally six or more hours per day. 

It is important to plant both annuals and perennials, in rows rather than clusters, and to focus on long-stem varieties such as coneflower, Japanese lily, bee balm, lavender, and baptisia. Peonies, sunflowers, and roses are also good bets and will help add variety to cuttings throughout the different seasons.

Cutting Edge

Your best gear.

Trowels and hand rakes from Heart and Spade Forge are made from cast iron and are specially sealed to prevent rust. $225-$250. HeartAndSpadeForge.com

The Sakurahamon Koeda shears from Hida Tool & Hardware Co. are made from carbon steel. The slim profile makes them easy to hold for precision snipping. $28. HidaTool.com

Multi-purpose jersey gloves from Carolina Glove Company are made from100 percent cotton and protect hands against thorns and dirt. Starting at $4. CarolinaGloveCompany.com

The Haws watering can from Kaufmann Mercantile is made from solid copper and coated with zinc to help prevent rust. Cans come with a brass rose nozzle. $140. Kaufmann-Mercantile.com

A mandala of dried botanicals at Lewis Ginter.

Photo courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Pickers’ Place 

Cutting gardens around the state.

Even if you don’t have the perfect conditions to create your own private cutting garden, you can visit one of several that are open to the public. The Market at Grelen features a 2,000-square-foot cutting garden with everything from peonies and dogwoods in the spring to evergreens that can be crafted into wreaths in the winter. The Reading Room at Lewis Ginter BotanicalGarden in Richmond displays dried flowers and a gardenfest tree sourced from the on-site gardens. Additional public cutting gardens can be found at Evelynton Plantation in Charles City and Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg.


This article originally appeared in House + Garden 2019 issue.

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