Grow a great cutting garden

Tips for making cut flowers last. Plus, a painter's palette of blossoms worthy of a wedding bouquet

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To avoid the "confetti" look that comes from mixing together too many flower colors, garden designer Sharon Nyenhuis came up with a design scheme that combined plants with similar bloom colors ― yellows, blues, and whites near the house, hot-colored flowers farther away, and a lawn and an all-white garden serving as a visual buffer between the two areas.

 In her hot-colored garden, Catherine uses dahlias to mark the transition between the different-hued plantings. For example, where orange and yellow sections meet, she backs the orange section with orange dahlias that have yellow highlights, and the yellow section with yellow dahlias that have orange highlights.


A system of drip tubing, soaker hoses, and low-volume overhead sprinklers keeps plants well irrigated during Sequim's dry summer. At season's end, healthy plant debris goes into giant compost piles, and diseased plants are discarded separately.

Every winter, the couple spreads a 3-inch-thick mulch of composted dairy manure over all the beds to fertilize the soil and smother weed seeds. Then the Mixes get a few weeks to relax, recharge, and plan for even more profusion the following year.



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