Cut flower garden

Branching Out

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Phaedra, I recall you mentioning that some flowers did better when cut back hard in mid-summer. I cut back a couple of Calendula 'Zeolights' hard in August, and I also had a different patch that I just deadheaded carefully. The two that I cut hard are now lush and beautiful, and the ones that received a light trim look spindly and terrible. So I agree with you, that it is worth cutting some of these annuals back hard in mid-summer.
 

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Phaedra

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Phaedra, I recall you mentioning that some flowers did better when cut back hard in mid-summer. I cut back a couple of Calendula 'Zeolights' hard in August, and I also had a different patch that I just deadheaded carefully. The two that I cut hard are now lush and beautiful, and the ones that received a light trim look spindly and terrible. So I agree with you, that it is worth cutting some of these annuals back hard in mid-summer.
Yes, according to my observation, deadheading is not very sufficient unless the purpose is to keep as more foliage as possible to carry on photosynthesis (like for Peony, Lily, etc). Otherwise, for flowering annuals, a hard cut-back right after the first flush always help to bring the next. I did the similar experiments on several sweet peas by removing 2/3 of their height and wished I have done that for all about 5 weeks later, when the new and healthy stems sending new flowers.

After cutting back hard, the plants usually become shorter and bushier, which is also helpful as they might no longer need additional support (wind).

Besides, cutting them back might be helpful from some diseases like powdery mildew - as the older and spent stems and leaves are removed.

For me, the cut-back materials are very necessary for my hungry compost heaps, as many greens went to the chickens. :D
 
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Phaedra

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Dinnerplate Dahlia 'Islander' - so gorgeous! This one is growing in a raised bed and doing very well now. I strongly recommend this variety, as its color and shape are both classy.
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This year, both the white and dark magenta cosmos did very good jobs in the garden. I once heard from a flower farmer's Youtube channel, she classified cosmos as 'not worthy to grow'. Maybe true from a flower farmer's point of view - but this year, I do regain the love for cosmos. I should make one post about cosmos later.
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Branching Out

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Yesterday I was pondering the cosmos that were swaying in the breeze as I walked through the garden; they really look beautiful in late summer when most other flowers are finishing. I tried to get a good photo of one, however that proved difficult because they bounce around so much in the wind. Here cosmos needs reigning in sometimes, because it will grow in the cracks in the sidewalk (which causes problems, because the stalk can grow quite thick over time). I love cosmos when it is young and in bloom, but I do not like having to chop up great big stems with thick lateral branches. The trick may be to sow small successions, so that you can chop and drop the plants 2-3 weeks after their first flush of blooms.

But-- it is also a great flower for seed saving, and for that the plants needs to stay in place to mature. I tend to prefer the short varieties like 'Daydream' and 'Rubinato', and I am trying to select seeds from these short plants in the hopes that I can have many different little cosmos in my garden next year.

Note: at the bottom of this article on cosmos Rubinato the author says 'if you are like me, you will cut Rubinato back every few weeks rather than deadhead'. Sounds like good advice!
 
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digitS'

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I probably mentioned this before :).

Those taller cosmos that volunteer in a flower garden can "fill in" for dahlias that fail to appear. They are about the same size. And, a dahlia that was given plenty of room and then didn't have the strength after long Winter storage leaves quite a gap in a flower bed. Often, a problem that one doesn't become aware of until I have found homes for all the other plant starts.

Steve
 

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True, cosmos is very good candidate to fill the gaps in flower beds or borders. However, they turn into monsters very easily. I agree what @Branching Out mentioned, the best idea is keep cutting them back. So the plants remain in a younger stage.

After cutting them back, I kept their height between my knee and waist. As their strong main stems are still there, I don't have to give them additional support so far. They will grow taller for sure if you let them, then proper supports will be necessary.
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I like them, but I don't want them to cause troubles to other plants in the surrounding. I also don't want to spend time to deadhead them one by one. So, when they grow too wild, I just cut them back and send to the compost.

I chopped their thick stems short and they can increase some air pockets in the compost, I think? :D
 
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digitS'

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I remember this:
We have a "Memorial Day" the last Monday in May. Many people buy flowers to put beside headstones in cemeteries on that day. After that special day, businesses put potted, flowering plants on sale. They have been forced into bloom in greenhouses but the chrysanthemum flowers begin to fade.

Their outdoor bloom season is in the Fall so that you can cut them back, transplant them outdoors, and they should have time to grow again and bloom
So, I was talking about purchased plants, forced into bloom, with cutback about the first week of June. I have those again in 2023 and can take a picture soon – they are just beginning to show some color and will, hopefully, be able to take advantage of our delayed frost and be able to boom soon :).

Steve
 

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