Several years ago I began cutting flowers from my garden for use in church arrangements. I didn't bring flowers every week just when I thought I had some nice flowers. The next year I grew a few with the intention of cutting them and took more of an interest in what was needed each week to make the arrangements. The ladies that make the arrangements prefer cut garden flowers over florist flowers. So I began trying to grow flowers that they could use. They like long stems, branches, lots of color, and interesting foliage. For me a flower in the garden is often overlooked but in an arrangement it stands out out in all its simple richness. This is a new aspect of gardening for me that I'm starting to appreciate. Got a lot to learn though. Last year I started with a single raised bed for cutting flowers--it was a good first effort but I need to have a plan for succession planting. This year I will have a second bed as well as incorporating some plants into the public garden. I've read the books on cutting gardens that I mentioned earlier this month. They were good but the most complete information came from the Virginia Cooperative Extension. I'm a little more prepared this year.
This was a good weekend for winter garden chores. I raked up the third pick-up load of pine straw for mulching. While cleaning up I noticed that the oldest Mahonia is in bloom. The other three bloom in the late fall but this one is a winter bloomer.