Guide to low-maintenance gardening

From low-water plants to simple projects, our guide to easy gardening will make a green thumb out of anyone

30 easy gardening tips & projects

Discover quick fixes and easy, manageable projects to transform your garden

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Bank on bouquets
E. Spencer Toy

Bank on bouquets

Want to pick flowers for bouquets month after month? Plant a cutting garden. For a striking look in both garden and vase, choose plants with contrasting hues. The bed pictured here emphasizes sunny yellows, oranges, and reds. Splashes of chocolate, deep purples, and burgundies temper the fiery tones. Plant tall growers in the center or toward the rear, and position trailers, such as calibrachoa, to soften the bed’s edges.

Cut flowers early in the morning or just after sunset. Bring along a bucket of tepid water, and plunge the cut stems in the water. When arranging the blooms, recut each stem underwater. Then pull off any foliage or flowers that will be below the water level in the vase.

  • ‘Oranges and Lemons’ gaillardia. Daisylike blooms in bright orange and yellow grow on plants 1 1/2 feet high or more.
  • Calibrachoa. Flowers, ­available in many colors, resemble dainty petunias. Trailers reach 6 to 10 inches.
  • ‘Mystic Desire’ dahlia. Bright scarlet flowers with chocolate centers rise 2 feet above blackish brown foliage.
  • Salpiglossis ‘Chocolate Royale.’ Velvety trumpets in rich browns grow on 1-foot-high plants.
  • ‘Benary’s Giant Lime’ zinnia. Plants 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet high bear cool lime-colored flowers.
  • ‘Sonata White’ cosmos. White blooms up to 3 inches across grow on plants 1 1/2 to 2 feet high.

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