The Best of My Cottage and Cut Flower Gardens in 2021

It was a year of valuable lessons, beautiful new varieties of flowers, and the most incredible dreams that came true. I can’t wait to share the best of my cottage and cut flower gardens in 2021. 

2021 is in the books and with the new year upon us, it’s time once again to look ahead and start planning for 2022’s garden growing season.

I’ve already chosen my seeds for the cut flower garden which you can see HERE.

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In this post, I’ll share the valuable lessons I learned, the new varieties of flowers I grew, and the most incredible dreams that came true in my cottage and cut flower gardens for 2021.

I’ll also share some of the things I want to accomplish for 2022.

There wasn’t much to see out in the cottage and cut flower gardens during the winter months, but there were so many things behind the scenes that had been done to get the garden ready for the 2021 growing season.

Planning what I was going to grow, buying seeds, and starting to sow seeds like sweet peas and snapdragons, all took place in the winter season.

I spent a lot of time in the greenhouse. And so did my favorite gardening helper, Jax.

And of course, the geraniums were overwintering and new ones were started.

More seeds were sown in the greenhouse, with the last varieties being sown 4 weeks before the expected frost, which for us is April 18th.

These couple of months were so fun to watch the seedlings grow taller and taller. I pinched many of my seedlings to promote more blooms and to make the plants bushier and fuller.

It could just be me but I have never been able to bring myself to cut tulips and other spring bulbs to take into the house.

I think it’s because there just isn’t much to look at in the garden in the early spring. I’ve always felt guilty for taking what little beauty there was in the garden.

To see how a raised bed full of tulip bulbs would do in my cutting garden, I planted tulip bulbs in one of the raised beds in the fall of 2020.

We have a lot of deer that would just LOVE to eat my tulips but I did a good job of spraying a deer repellant every chance I could when it wasn’t raining. And it worked.

Aren’t they gorgeous? I planted bulbs in the rest of the raised beds that will pop up spring of 2022. I can’t wait to see how they look.

It is usually pretty mild in the Seattle area during the winter so I have chosen to keep my dahlia tubers in the ground each year rather than storing the tubers over the winter months.

A thick layer of mulched leaves from the yard is added on top of the dahlia tubers which gives them the protection they need from the cold winter weather.

Early April is the time when I spend a day or two (with help) digging my dahlia tubers up and dividing them. If they don’t get split every year they will get too big to handle the following year.

Also, the mama tuber needs to be split from the rest of the dahlia tuber clump or the plant will eventually bloom less and less as time goes on.

My husband made me a raised planter along the edge of my cottage garden next to the greenhouse in early 2021. I changed up the flower selection in the planter every season.

Perennial primroses and spring bulbs started to pop up in the flower containers.

In early spring I planted violas and pansies to add even more interest to the containers.

Around the time of the expected last freeze of the season, I started the process of hardening off the seedlings. I also acclimated the geraniums that spent the winter in the greenhouse to the outdoors at the same time.

I transplanted the seedlings to the cut flower garden around the first week of May after they were acclimated to the outdoors.

The rhododendrons and azaleas, which the Pacific Northwest is known for, were in full beautiful bloom.

Photo Credit: Jay Wilde; Copyright: Cottage Style Magazine and Country Home Magazine

It was a dream come true for this gardener as my cottage and cut flower gardens were featured in Better Homes and Gardens Cottage Style Magazine in their Spring 2021 issue and Country Home Magazine in their Summer 2021 issue.

Here’s Jay Wilde, photographer, in my garden in July 2020. It was the hottest day of the summer, in the high 90s and I remember flowers wilting all over the place.

Photo Credit: Jay Wilde; Copyright: Cottage Style Magazine and Country Home Magazine

The photo shoot was originally planned for the B&H Cottage Style issue so I was so excited when I heard that Country Home Magazine, which is also owned by Meredith Publication, was going to pick up the pictures for the summer issue.

See more about the magazine’s features.

My home and garden were also in the Cottage Journal’s Vintage issue in June 2021 which was a feature of pictures I had taken myself. To be featured in 3 magazines in one year was such an honor and a huge dream come true.

June has always been a challenge for me when it comes to the garden.

Not only are the cut flowers taking their time blooming, but the transition between spring and summer leaves the cottage garden with few blooms compared to the rest of the growing season.

One day while I made my way to the shopping cart area outside the grocery store, I saw 12 foxglove plants.

It was as if they were calling my name, begging me to take them home.

And of course, I did. I took all 12 of them and planted them in my cottage garden.

The delphiniums were so pretty in the cottage garden last spring, but I lost a couple early when I forgot to put slug bait around the plant.

I planted a few lupines in the garden for the first time. Although they were stunning in the garden, they brought with them many aphids which spread throughout the other plants around them.

I was never able to control the pest problems in both the cottage and cut flower gardens in 2021. It was an ongoing problem that I had never really experienced before last year. Neem oil did seem to help.

We had a record-breaking heatwave at the very end of June 2021 which my cottage and cut flower gardens did not appreciate.

First of all, we don’t get high temperatures in June very often. And secondly, we have NEVER had 100°F weather for three days in a row. The hottest day for us was 110° F.

The idea of having to protect the garden from extreme temperatures was something we had never even had to think about in the past.

This was a huge learning moment for me and shade cloth is now my new best friend. We will be adding hooks and buying more shade cloth in 2022 so I can easily add shade to the cut flower garden as this may be the new normal for all I know.

The 4th of July is when I officially called it summer in the cottage and cut flower gardens in 2021.

The summer annuals and perennials were almost all blooming except black-eyed Susans and dahlias, which had another couple of weeks before they were stunning.

This is one of my favorite shots of the summer garden. The hydrangeas and phlox were in full bloom with the most exquisite coloring.

Having a garden on the shores of Puget Sound is the most incredible gift.

Did you know that I planted one daisy plant in my garden almost 10 years ago?

Over the years I have divided the heck out of my plants. They are the gift that keeps on giving and is the perfect star of the show in the cottage garden while waiting for the dahlias and black-eyed Susans to bloom.

Coneflower or echinacea is another favorite of mine that stuck around for most of the summer months and was constantly visited by pollinators.

The cut flower garden is my pride and joy and changes its appearance yearly.

Every flower in the white picket fence garden is an annual flower that has been started from seed.

I started a blog series called GROWING A CUT FLOWER GARDEN this year and will continue to add posts throughout 2022.

There are a few cut flowers I will ALWAYS have in my garden but the varieties may change each year. Zinnias are one of my favorites and they are one of the longest-lasting flowers in the garden.

Cosmos are another cut flower that I can’t get enough of. And the frilly foliage is a perfect filler in any flower arrangement.

I grow 4 sweet pea varieties each year. This is the first seed I sow in the greenhouse and the sweetest-smelling flower in the cutting garden.

This is the Chantilly Mix Snapdragon and I will grow this variety as long as I have a cut flower garden. The bloom color mix is like nothing else I’ve ever seen.

I think I cut my snapdragons back too early in the summer. I’m going to try to hold off and see if they grow more in the fall.

And let’s not forget about the strawflowers. I love these beautiful blooms so much that I grew 4 varieties last year.

I will be toning it down a bit with only 2 varieties for 2022 though. The papery blooms are so unique and look amazing in floral arrangements.

I’ve chosen to grow fewer varieties of cut flowers this coming year because of a project we’re working on for 2022.

I grow vegetable basics like tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and snap peas within the flowers every year.

We’ve decided to try growing even more vegetables but we are running out of room. One of the projects we’re going to work on for 2022 is to build another garden on the side of our house for mostly veggies and a few flowers mixed in for the pollinators.

Roses, dahlias, and black-eyed Susans were the stars of the show in the late summer cottage garden.

I grew cafe’ au lait dahlias from Breck’s Bulbs for the first time in 2021. And I’m hooked!

Bright and beautiful dahlias lined the cut flower garden picket fence.

A late summer view with the black-eyed Susans in full bloom.

The raised planter my husband built me was filled with purple petunias and marigolds and made quite a statement with the black-eyed Susan backdrop behind them.

There were so many bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds throughout the cottage and cut flower gardens in 2021.

Bee’s Choice Mix was a dahlia seed variety I tried in the garden last year and was one of the pollinator’s favorite flowers because of the open center of the bloom.

Capturing a butterfly in the garden, especially when it’s a monarch, is always pure magic.

The early fall cottage garden was filled with black-eyed Susan, aster, rose, Jupiter’s beard, and dahlia blooms.

Be sure to check out my fall garden post. more of my fall garden.

I dried the blooms from several of the zinnia varieties that were being discontinued at Floret Flowers in 2022 and will try to grow plants from the seeds I saved.

I’ve never sown my own seeds from the garden so we’ll see how it goes.

Slowly, most of the flowers in the cottage and cut flower gardens faded away in mid-fall of 2021. Then it was time to plant grasses, mums, asters, ornamental cabbage, and kale in containers to keep a pop of color alive in the garden.

I added one of my denim shirts to an old scarecrow that was falling apart which seemed to liven things up on the greenhouse porch.

Pumpkins and cornstalks were added for more interest along with the few blooms that were in the garden.

We replaced our mermaid weathervane on top of the greenhouse with a copper witch from Good Directions for Halloween.

The hydrangeas turned a dusty pink for fall and I had a great time drying them and using them as fall decor around the house.

You can read more about drying hydrangeas.

I added a beautiful glow along the greenhouse pathway with AQ Lighting copper area lights.

And I installed them all by myself. Impressive, right?

Just in time for the holidays!

We did miss a very white Christmas by one day. We woke to a winter wonderland the day after Christmas 2021 and this white stuff stuck around through New Year’s Day.

Stacy from Bricks ‘n Blooms is also sharing her cottage garden recap from 2021 and you will not want to miss it.

Thank you so much for being here. I hope you loved my 2021 cottage and cut flower gardens as much as I did. I have a lot of spring bulbs for 2022 that will be coming up this spring and can’t wait to start our vegetable garden project in a few weeks.

If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find these gardening tips useful.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening in 2022!

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  1. Kim I loved the look back! From the tulips in the raised beds – they look awesome. To cute Jaz in the greenhouse. Jeff’s planter is amazing and all of your flowers looked so pretty this year. I love all the cottage charm you add and hope to bring that to a few of the beds here at the new place! I’m so excited to garden with you – even though we are on opposite ends of the country! Thanks for friendship both inside and outside the gardens. xoxoxo

    1. It wouldn’t have been as fun without you Stacy. So happy that we are able to garden together even though we are on opposite ends of the country. We’re going to have so much fun this year!

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