- UC Marin Master Gardener Events & Classes
Garden Help from UC Marin Master Gardeners
- Farmers Markets
- Help Desk
- All about citrus
- Ornamental grasses
- Beneficial insects
- Preventing a codling moth invasion
- Stop snails in their tracks
- Winter garden color
- Caring for holiday gift plants
- Propagating native plants
- Japanese maples
- Container gardening
- Growing gorgeous camellias
- Redwood trees
- Pomegranates: an ancient tree
- Bulbs for spring
- Nothing quite like a freshly picked bouquet
- Seeds hold the miracle of life, so save, swap and share them
- Sold on Salvia
- Sudden Oak Death: a million trees gone and counting
- Habitat gardens
- Growing In Your Garden Now - Fava Beans
- Using water effectively in the garden
- Yikes, thrips
- Growing a salad in a pot
- Rain gardens: an attractive solution to a challenging environmental problem
- How to select bare root roses
- Lovely birds... or pests?
- Australian plants in winter
- Get a head start on spring with cold frames
- Snails and slugs: keep them out of the garden
- Sow seeds now for flowers in spring and summer
- Fire-safe landscaping
- Plants made for the shade
- Chinese pistache tree glows in autumn
- Attracting honey and native bees to your garden
- Sow wildflower seeds in fall for spring show
- Native shrubs create a visual anchor in landscapes - fast
- What to plant in the fall-winter veggie garden
- Proper pruning of wisteria for a plethora of blossoms
- Compost for every corner of your spring garden
- All about mushrooms
- Butterflies in the garden
- Growing blueberries
- How to plant a fruit tree
- Protecting plants from frost
- What's that plant?
- Bright spots of color lift the drabness of the winter garden
- Books for Marin gardeners
- Benefits of School Gardens
- Trees: not just nice to look at
- Dealing with mosquitos
- Epilobium – California fuchsia
- Why bees matter, and how you can help
- Picking the Right Plant for the Right Place in Your Garden
- What's That Plant?
- Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh
- Late Summer Color
- Growing Summer Squash
- Short on space? Containers!
- Herbs: tough, attractive, practical
- These plants are true companions
- Companion planting in the vegetable garden
- Get Grounded – Healthy Soil Does Matter
- Mushrooms on the March
- Our Gentle Winters are Good for Vegetables
- Rodents like it Warm
- Know What Makes an Invasive Species Invasive
- California Natives - Plant Like a Native
- Consider a Simple Water-Catchment System and Rain Garden/Bioswale Before Winter Rains Arrive
- Have You Scheduled a FREE Bay-Friendly Garden Walk?
- A Green Autumn
- Rx for Pests: Ants
- Fine Tune Your Garden
- Colorful Drought-Tolerant Plants Thrive in Marin
- Water Restrictions and Recognizing Signs of Water Stress
- UC Researcher Is Helping Plants Survive the Drought
- Summer Is Perfect For Peppers
- Do the Leaves on Your Trees Look Scorched?
- Fine Tune Your Garden
- How to Recognize Drought and Water Stress
- Spring is the Time for Potatoes, Asparagus and Citrus
- Don't Let Stink Bugs... Bug Your Vegetables
- Harvesting Berries
- Water Heroes
- Natural Cold Storage
- Fruit Trees; Why We Treat Them in Dormancy
- Fondness for Old Friends
- What Happens to Garden Bad Guys in Winter?
- Plants that aren't blown away by the wind
- A hill o' beans
- Fruit tree thinning
- Fragrant plants: Add some chocolate or Kool-Aid to your garden
- Top 10 resolutions for Marin gardeners
- Trees with interesting bark shine in winter
- Who says your garden has to be green?
- Plant bulbs now for spring beauty
- Gardener's checklist for fall
- Cover crops boost soil in vegetable beds
- Rx: Living with deer
- Growing berries in Marin
- How to build healthy soil
- Gardener's checklist for summer
- Water-saving tips for the home garden
- Gardener's checklist for spring
- Stop the popping - Controlling hairy bittercress
- How to control aphids
- Brightening up the winter garden
- Selecting a fruit tree
- What to plant and harvest in the winter vegetable garden
- Rain, rain, don't go away
- Gardener's checklist for winter
- Getting rid of rats
- Fall: a time for planning and planting
- Asparagus: spears for years
- Lawn: use it or lose it
- Rx for powdery mildew
- Community Outreach Projects of UC Marin Master Gardeners
- Great Gardening Information
- Selecting Plants
- Marin Master Gardener Independent Journal Articles
- How to Become a Master Gardener
- UC Marin Master Gardeners Opportunity Fund: Providing for the Future
Nothing quite like a freshly picked bouquet
According to behavioral research conducted at Rutgers University, flowers are nature's way of providing us with a simple way to improve emotional health. They trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and affect social behavior in a positive manner far beyond what is normally believed.
"Is burying your head in a just-picked garden bouquet and inhaling its perfume a joy-inducing experience?" asks Debra Prinzing, author of "The 50 Mile Bouquet," a book about seasonal, local and sustainable flowers.
According to the Rutgers researchers, it certainly seems to be the case for many of us.
"That clutch of gerbera daisies or tulips from the supermarket may appear picture-perfect, yet it feels disconnected from the less-than-perfect (but incredibly romantic) flowers growing in your own backyard," says Prinzing.
Do you know where those store-bought blossoms come from? Sixty-eight percent of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported — Colombia leads the group, followed by Ecuador, Netherlands, Canada and Mexico. That's a lot of air miles for your bouquet of blooms, and it certainly isn't very "green" — especially when there are umpteen purveyors selling locally grown flowers. Better yet, you can do it yourself.
Growing your own flowers allows you to stay in tune with and appreciate the seasons. In addition to being food for the soul, garden-grown flowers delight the senses with visual interest and heady fragrance.
Some flowers can be used in cooking or preserved to savor for months to come. They can attract and support bees and other pollinators and provide food and habitats for birds and beneficial insects. One of my great pleasures is to share my garden flowers with family and friends, multiplying the enjoyment.
The flowers you grow for cutting can be integrated into your overall garden, mixed in with your food crops or tucked away in an area dedicated for just this purpose.
Most flowering plants need six to eight hours of sun daily to produce blooms, along with healthy soil and good drainage. Most importantly is selecting the right type of plant for your location.
With a focus on plants that bloom in summer, some of the top performers fall into the following categories:
- Stunning cut flowers: black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), clematis, dahlias, foxglove, hydrangeas, roses, sunflowers and zinnias
- Long blooming season: Catmint (Nepeta), geraniums (Pelargonium), hydrangeas, lantana, nastursium, penstemon, Peruvian lilies (Alstromeria), red hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria), roses and sage (Salvia)
- Attract birds, bees and/or butterflies: Asters, campanula, cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), catmint, clarkia, coreopsis, lamb's ear (Stachy byzantinas), lantana, lobelia, nicotiana, roses, sage and verbena
- Low water use: Coneflowers (Echinacea), cape plumbago, coreopsis, lantana, lavender, sage, statice (Limonium sinuatum), windflower (Gaura lindheimeri) and yarrow (Achillea)
- Deer resistant: Aster, catmint, coneflowers, dahlias, foxglove, lantana, lavender, penstemon, Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), sage and yarrow
- Dries well: Hydrangeas, lavender, roses, scabiosa, statice and yarrow
While roses don't fit into the low water use or deer-resistant categories — and they are prone (depending of variety) to some pests and diseases — they can produce blossoms nearly nonstop from April to November with little care other than watering and removing spent blooms. And, as deciduous shrubs, they can last for decades. That's a pretty good return on your investment.
In general, floribunda, polyantha and shrub type roses produce lots of blossoms versus hybrid tea types, and newer cultivars are much more disease resistant. Some favorites are 'La Marne', a prolific bloomer with unique cerise pink blooms blushed white. 'Sally Holmes' puts out flamboyant trusses of blooms that resemble hydrangeas. Sweet-smelling 'Westerland' is adorned with a swirl of sunset colored blossoms, and 'Graham Thomas' is covered with bountiful lemon yellow cupped blooms, as is the powerfully scented 'Julia Child.'
To keep your cut flowers looking great indoors, Prinzing recommends adding fresh, room temperature water to a clean container. Cut stems with floral shears or a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle (to increase the surface area that the flower can "drink" the vase water), and remove foliage from the portion of the stem that will be under water.
Once you're satisfied with your arrangement, locate it in a cool area away from direct sunlight. Flowers will last longer if you change the water every day or two and re-cut stems a quarter to half an inch.
So, go local and plant some flowers in your own garden; you'll be able to enjoy safe and sustainable blooms knowing exactly where they came from.
Original article by Nanette Londeree for the Marin IJ
Edited by Marie Narlock for the Leaflet