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Benefits of Quarantine Gardening

Even if you haven’t been a gardener in the past, you may find yourself taking it up this year to get some fresh air, stay busy, add some color to your landscape and your tabletop!

The head of our landscape architecture department, Paul Lepard, RLA, PP, recently shared the story of how gardening started his horticultural interests. He also put together a list below of beautiful vintage perennials (that he remembers from his grandparents garden) that will make great cutting flowers in your garden.

Here’s Paul’s story:

“Thanks to the COVID-19 quarantine and missing the company of my family, being outside gardening reminds me of how my horticultural interests were imparted to me at a young age. 

It all started with weeding, yup, that never ending chore.  Weeding the family gardens with, and for my parents, was one of my many chores growing up.  When it was particularly hot and humid, weeding was punishment for my sister and I though the parents won’t admit that now, HA! 

As I got older, and may be a little more proficient, weeding became a helpful task to assist my grandparents with their gardens during summer visits.  I still didn’t enjoy it much, but looking back at these moments, they afforded me the opportunity to get to know both of my grandfathers.  A blessing despite the dirt, bugs, and sweat.  Our gardening conversations were often silly, full of laughter and ‘grandpa’ jokes (not worth, or allowed, repeating).  As I grew, our conversations became more meaningful and purposeful; both shared their life-stories and lessons, imparted to steer me away from making poor choices during those daunting teenage years and looming adulthood.  While I don’t recall spending much time talking plants per se, they certainly taught them, maybe through osmosis?

Even today, some 40 plus years later, I can still recall their gardens, full of cutting flowers, herbs and well-groomed rows of vegetables that grandma jarred to stock their pantry.  In homage, and thanks, to their many years of guidance and care, here are some beautiful throwback perennials which flourished in their gardens and are still wonderful cutting flowers today.”

Perennials that make great cutting flowers:

Dahlia

Beautiful multi-colored tuber/perennial.  Bloom size ranges from half-dollar round to 6” round star-bursts.

Dahlia

Peonies

Larger shrub-like perennial with lush green foliage and beautiful 4-6” round flowers throughout the plant crown.  Peonies come in a variety of colors from white to deep red, and every shade in between.  Beautifully aromatic.

Peonies

Gladiolus

Think grass-like perennial with a floral stalk packed with multiple single bloom florets.  This classic cutting flower comes in a variety of colors, and like peonies, they are distinctly aromatic.

Gladiolus

Daylilies

Mounding grass-like perennial with floral stalks that are clustered with terminal flower buds.  Old-fashion lilies are large star-like flowers and are bright orange.  Today, lilies come in a variety of colors ranging from bright yellow to deep reds.

Daylilies

So whether you head outside to garden alone or use that time impart some wisdom on your children, these perennials can be a great addition to your garden and eventually your table.

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