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Enjoy a Cutting Garden

Gathering tulips (plus daisies, snapdragons and lavender) from your backyard or at a you-pick farm fills vases -- and the soul.

Spreading the joy at you-pick farms

Omena Cut Flowers, north of Suttons Bay, Michigan, reflects the growing popularity of you-pick flower farms in the Midwest.

Carolyn Faught started the farm to spread a little of the joy she's gained from tending her plants daily. "A lot of people don't have flowers to pick," Carolyn says. "It's a real experience to come and just walk amongst the flowers."

Her six original small amateur beds have grown into 26 perfectly planned ones, draping over an acre with 150 feet of rolling shoreline (left). Customers can cut a bouquet or just enjoy the scenery. Many leave notes of hope, gratitude and inspiration. "Thank you for your celebration of everyday miracles," one visitor writes.

Omena Cut Flowers

Spreading the joy at you-pick farms

Omena Cut Flowers, north of Suttons Bay, Michigan, reflects the growing popularity of you-pick flower farms in the Midwest.

Carolyn Faught started the farm to spread a little of the joy she's gained from tending her plants daily. "A lot of people don't have flowers to pick," Carolyn says. "It's a real experience to come and just walk amongst the flowers."

Her six original small amateur beds have grown into 26 perfectly planned ones, draping over an acre with 150 feet of rolling shoreline (left). Customers can cut a bouquet or just enjoy the scenery. Many leave notes of hope, gratitude and inspiration. "Thank you for your celebration of everyday miracles," one visitor writes.

Omena Cut Flowers

Cutting gardens to visit

If you don't live within driving distance of Omena Cut Flowers, here are some others to try around the Midwest.

Miss Effie's Country Flowers and Garden Stuff, Donahue, Iowa. Spend a day on the farm picking from among 90 different annuals and perennials.

Turner Farm, Cincinnati. Snip a few stems at this certified organic garden, or become a member of the flower share program, which lets you cut 10 bouquets throughout the season.

Kemper Cutting Garden, Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. Immerse yourself in the display gardens, then browse the cutting garden for ideas on what to grow at home (flower-picking not allowed at the botanical gardens).

Lilly House Cutting Garden, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Flower-picking isn't allowed, but you can get inspiration for your home garden from 10 acres of blooms at the historic 1920s mansion.

Cross Cutting Garden, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota. Although you can't cut plants here, you can check out 29 types of annuals and perennials and get ideas from University of Minnesota experts.

Miss Effie's Country Flowers and Garden Stuff

Turner Farm

Kemper Cutting Garden

Lilly House Cutting Garden

Cross Cutting Garden

Make blooms last

Maintain your bouquet's beauty with the tips on this slide and the next:

Cut flowers and plants in the morning, when they're the most fragrant and filled with stored food.

Cut stems diagonally, which produces much less cell damage.

Use glass vases. Metal vases can poison the flowers.

Use lukewarm water in your vase. Flowers, like you, don't like getting scalded or chilled when they enter a bath.

Re-cut stems underwater right before putting them in a vase so the first "breath" flowers take is of water and not air.

More tips for better bouquets

Keep bouquets away from fruit, which gives off a hormone called ethylene that harms flowers.

Never spray bouquets with water. This encourages fungi to develop on petals and leaves.

Crush the cut ends of stems on woody plants such as lilacs and flowering quince with a hammer to promote water absorption.

Re-cut stems every few days to overcome the flowers' constant effort to repair and seal off the cut.

Grow your own bouquet

A good cutting flower is one that holds its bloom for a long time and has a single sturdy stem. Try the perennials listed on this slide and the annuals on the next one.

Perennials
Asiatic lilies
Columbine
Daffodils and tulips
Delphinium 'Pacific Giant' or 'Magic Fountain'
Foxglove Digitalis x mertonensis 'Strawberry'
Lady's mantle
Lamb's ear
Lavender
Liatris
Lupine Russell hybrid
Monarda
Painted daisies 'James Kelway'
Peonies 'Sarah Bernhardt', 'Festiva Supreme' or 'David Harum'
Phlox 'David' or 'Bright Eyes'
Purple coneflower 'Magnus'
Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'
Veronica 'Speedwell'

Growing Lavender in the Midwest

Good annuals for bouquets

Try these annuals along with the perennials listed on the previous slide for beautiful cutting-garden plants.

Annuals
Calliopsis
Cleome
Cosmos
Gladiolas
Larkspur 'Giant Imperial'
Snapdragons 'Rocket'
Sunflowers 'Sunrich Orange', 'Velvet Queen' or 'Sunrich Lemon'
Tricolor sage
Verbena bonariensis
Zinnias 'Benary's Giants', 'Oklahoma' or 'State Fair'

For more information on any flowers, check out the Plant Encyclopedia on our sister site, bhg.com.

Do you have a favorite cutting-garden flower or a you-pick flower farm near you? Tell us about it in the Comments section below!

Plant Encyclopedia

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