Secrets to Achieving Happiness in Your Garden: The Eighteenth Secret

I went out to the garden yesterday evening, just before sunset, to cut a few flowers to bring inside.

My few flowers included coreopsis, foxglove, a few last dianthus from its first flush of bloom, an open flowered Clematis, its name long forgotten, plus Clematis 'Pagoda', 'Rooguchi' and C. integifolia 'Alba', speedwell, columbine and a hardy orchid.

I don't think often enough about cutting flowers and bringing them inside to enjoy. I don't consider myself good at arranging flowers. This simple bouquet is pretty much the extent of my floral design skills.

This morning I cut a few of these same flowers to take to the hostess of a garden retreat. I was there to to talk to the group about growing vegetables and share some of my secrets to achieving happiness in your garden.  I explained the first five secrets to the group and then asked them if they knew any secrets.

Someone did.

"Cut flowers for bouquets."

I ran down through my list of 40 secrets to see if I had discovered that one earlier. I had not. It was a new secret!  It's now number 41 on my list.  Thank you, Helen M., the other presenter at the garden retreat, for sharing this secret with me.

Oh, you just noticed that I'm calling it the 18th secret here on my blog but I have a list of 41, really 42 secrets?  Well, that's because I haven't shared all my secrets yet.  That's why they are secrets.

"Cut flowers for bouquets."

I have never thought much of my own flower arranging skills. The bouquet pictured above is as good as it gets for me. A long time ago, I took a class in flower arranging in college, taught by an actual florist, as "pass/fail" because I didn't want what I was sure would be a low grade to mess with my grade point average. I remember at the end of the semester the teacher asked me why I had taken the class pass/fail. I explained my reasoning. She told me I would have gotten an A anyway, but that didn't really boost my confidence level in arranging flowers.

But now that I know "cut flowers for bouquets" is a secret to achieving happiness in your garden, I intend to cut more flowers and try to do more than just shove them in a vase.

To remind me to cut flowers for bouquets, I've placed my copy of Slow Flowers by Debra Prinzing front and center on my coffee table. I know I will also learn from it how to do something with the flowers other than shoving them in a vase.

Slow Flowers, by the way, is a treasure for flower lovers and anyone who wants to enjoy flowers inside.  If you want to be inspired to arrange your own bouquets from locally sourced, seasonal flowers, get this book.  Debra shows how you can have flowers 52 weeks of the year and tells the story of how each bouquet came to be. She also includes design and flower care tips throughout the book.  It is one of my best modern-day book purchases this year.

"Cut flowers for bouquets." 

I shall do that often this summer.  It's a secret to achieving happiness in your garden.


betsy said…
Your comments about garden size are so true. And it is not only resources we should consider before we dig up the whole yard. A huge seaside garden in Maine might be one thing, but consider the outsized garden south of the Mason-Dixon line.
I believe the best garden for the steamy states is a small to medium one. I speak from experience!
Deanne Fortnam said…
So true, by taking the time to cut and enjoy the flowers we are taking the time to see and view each one in its individual beauty.
Pat Dean said…
On the rare occasion I cut flowers for bouquets, it's usually for someone else. The flowers last longer outside still on the plants and feel bad when I cut them and bring them in for myself. I can see them just fine outside. But when I cut them for someone else, I feel that I've brightened their day, so I don't mind cutting flowers for them.
Even though I have so many blooms in the garden, I just have the hardest time cutting any to bring inside. Not sure why. But the goods news is that I can look out any window and see all the blooms, so they are kind of inside!!!
I'm not a good flower arranger, but I enjoy the flowers I cut and put into a vase placed on my kitchen table.
Anonymous said…
I love cut flowers in big, blowsy bouquets, but am terrible at arranging them. Also, my cat Hazel eats all plant material that is brought into the house, even dried. The exception for cutting is sweet peas, which are edible anyway and need cut to continue blooming, not to mention the fragrance they bring into the house.
Jean said…
Hi Carol,

I'm so glad you've discovered the joy of cutting flowers to bring indoors. One of the best things about cutting flowers: you can spend time in your garden without gloves or dirt!
You should absolutely write a book called The 41 Secrets to Achieving Happiness in Your Garden. I, for one, would buy it - and I bet loads of other people would too. (Can you tell that you've tantalized me with the mention of these secrets?)
debra said…
thank you for your great post, Carol - and here's to your summer of bouquets! It's a slippery slope . . . once you get into clipping flowers and foliage from your garden, the next thing you know you'll be trolling ebay for vintage American vases in which to arrange your backyard blooms!
xoxo debra
Carol-I so enjoy your posts and after a long day just visited to do some reading and relax. Many a time I too have had the temptation to bring in cut flowers and finally started clipping hydrangea blooms just last summer. You are right-it is a nice feeling to be able to bring part of the garden inside to enjoy! It is also fun to let some blooms dry out for a floral arrangement that can last a while.
Donna said…
Thanks Carol for the reminder. I don't cut flowers and bring them in but I have written it down that i must start...I'll check out the book too.
Copper Diem said…
I love cutting flowers! It's one of the top reasons I garden - little bud vases of fresh flowers in each room. such heaven!