Have you ever done something that you know is such a bad idea or so dangerous it defies common sense, yet you are compelled to try it anyway? I guess that’s how thrill seekers live much of their life. Well yesterday I went and did that crazy thing and this week we’ll see how well I survive. I went to that place in the Garden that many of my flower friends call “the slaughterhouse” but I think most people just call it the “Cut Flower Garden.”
The Cut Flower Garden is actually a pretty little place that is poised to see a lot of visitors this summer. It is just off the route between the butterfly house, the Enchanted Storybook Forest exhibit and the Children’s Garden. The garden is right in front of the Greenhouse and filled with colorful flowers that beckon sweetly to passersby. I guess for people it is not so perilous, but any poor plant seduced by their charms enters at its own risk. Because here, plants grow for the primary purpose of being cut and used in floral arrangements created by staff and volunteers.
The design in this garden is a little different than many of the others here. A picket fence encloses the garden which contains a small tool shed and a shady gazebo. Along the outside of the fence grows sweeps of colorful flowers like any found in a traditional cottage garden. But inside the arrangement is all workman-like with diagonal blocks of plants grown for easy access to vicious shears. At the far end stands a small arbor covered in grapes. A sculpture called the “The Farmers” stands tall over the garden. Created by the Peruvian artist Ccopacatty, three large menacing yet intriguing metal figures depict farm workers at various tasks, including one with a sickle about to cut a plant!
The flowers that grow here are quite colorful and deserve to grace any flower arrangement. In front of the fence, black-eyed Susans and cockscombs provide a warm greeting to all visitors. Rows of oriental lilies flower abundantly near the tool shed. Spotted pink and white funnels lure numerous bees deep into their trumpet while stamens stand ready to sprinkle a little pollen on them as they come and go. Over by the gazebo, bright yellow sunflowers turn their cheerful faces to the bigger yellow orb in the sky. Against a clear blue sky, they are quite a sight. The summer heat and the florist scissors have gotten the better of the bachelor buttons. Only a few remain. However, rows and rows of colorful zinnias and dahlias fill a majority of the garden. A rainbow of color provides a wonderful buffet for any salivating floral arranger. Butterflies and bees take advantage of the offering as well.
To the right of the cut flower garden but still in front of the greenhouse spreads a new display bed. The All-American Selections plants have found a new home. Previously this display flowered near the conifer garden, but as trees grew and shade expanded, the plants languished there. Now these champions thrive once again in the full sun next to the greenhouse. For those wanting to see proven winners in the summer heat, here is your chance. An interesting variety of flowers bloom here – from the rich Pacific Burgundy Halo vinca to the bright Mesa Yellow blanket flower, from the large Moonsong Deep Orange marigold to the diminutive Zahara Rose Starlight zinnia. There is a shape and color for every taste. Vegetables are not ignored. Cucumbers, eggplants, melons and peppers grow amongst the flowering champs.
So once I get over my insane thrill seeking in the cut flower garden, I may just hide in this little garden. Now if I can only get a gardener to create an AAS winner label for “dandelion.” I think I deserve it.