comments: 121

26CrewSelfie of my crew, by Andy

Aw, yeah, we're here. Have I ever been this tired? Shoot no. Even after Grandma Paulson's wonderful visit this past week, where I did nothing but indulge myself by going out to eat, seeing a movie, talking on the phone, sitting in my studio, surfing Pinterest, staying in bed until 7 a.m. (not sleeping mind you — sleeping only lasts until 4 a.m.), talking and eating some more, sewing, and occasionally actually working, I am tired. It feels kind of nice, to be this tired today, in the rain. I don't feel that compelled to do anything but the bare necessities, which is not how I often feel. Spring break indeed. It's lovely. I have needed it.

Amelia is walking around the house wearing her little parka, a mitten, and the oven mitt. As I was fixing dinner, she got a throw pillow from off the dining room chair and put it on the floor outside the baby gate and then laid down and put her head on the pillow and watched me. Tired boo, too! It's hard work getting up at all hours of the night.

I want to turn the raised beds in front into a mini wildflower meadow/cutting garden this summer. Do you have any suggestions? Do I buy individual seed packets (and can I start those outdoors — no room inside) or transplants at the nursery (expensive)? Do I buy one of those cans of wildflower meadow seeds and sprinkle it around? Does that just make a huge mess? (And maybe that's what I'm going for? Or not?) I want it to be easy and pretty. I want to be able to cut stuff throughout the summer, just enough for a couple of little mason jars at a time. It gets part sun, full sun, part shade, and deep shade. Everything throughout the day. I'll take any and all suggestions, if you have the energy! Thank you!


Just wanted you to know that I have been reading your blog for over a year now, and I enjoy every minute of it. The pictures, the writing...your humor. I look forward to it every week:)

Thank you for doing this. Who new that reading a blog could be so darn enjoyable?

Oh, you have so many responses! My husband's firm sowed those wildflower mixes outside their office, around the bases of some trees that they'd planted one year at Christmas. They filled in beautifully - I was surprised; I've never had good luck with those.

You've got so many comments here already! Some of my faves don't turn up in the cutting garden: fritillaria bulbs are really easy; they come up in the spring, die back in the summer, and they don't have to be dug up for winter (and they are ever so pretty! Besides, it might be fun to throw in a few bulbs and know that, come spring, you will have some early color and delights!). I also like borage, as another person recommended, and amaranth (it gets tall and quite dramatic!), and asclepias tuberosa, which is a non-invasive form of milkweed that makes pretty clusters of orange flowers and supports butterflies! Zinnias and cosmos are great; if you need/want a good filler or low plant, consider roman chamomile. It's a mounting groundcover that looks like delicate bright green moss, covered in little chamomile flowers (unfortunately, they're a little bitter for tea). Violets and pansies will sow themselves, and purple coneflowers are very hardy. I second the suggestion of The Fairy rose - I have one; it's the most delightful thing (and I found mine for $6 at Home Depot, so you don't have to splurge and pay $40 at a nursery!). What about some lupines or foxglove, to give some vertical interest? I have trouble with aphids on the lupines, but foxgloves are lovely and they reseed themselves (just don't cut the stalks as the flowers die; leave them to dry out and then give them a good SHAKE all over before you put them in the compost). Foxgloves are biennials, though, so I'd plant a few transplants to have flowers this year, and sow some seed so you have flowers next year - after that, you should be off and running!

Icelandic poppies are also very hardy and bloom early. What about black-eyed susans? Or gaillardia? Or geums (avens rose), which are SO romantic! =)

Oooh! For perfume, consider Aztec Nicotiana. It's a night bloomer with the most lovely jasmine fragrance. It's a little expensive, but it does self-sow nicely; you'll need to be able to stake it up, but it's so worth it. I grow it every year, mostly for my neighbours - the perfume wafts downhill and fills their patio, and every summer my neighbor thanks me for it =)

I used to live in Washington and here's what I would recommend: hollyhocks, poppies, cosmos, zinnias, alyssum, snapdragons and pansies (the last three are annuals, the rest should reseed every year). You could also mix some herbs in there for fun. Also cute are nasturtiums. This would give you an easy cottage garden look and there'd be plenty for cutting. I'd go with plants over seeds for the first year with the exception of the zinnias. They grow and bloom quickly. Good luck!

I would put in some bachelor buttons also known as the cornflower they are a blue purple in color and grow pretty tall nice for cutting.

My heart is melting and so happy for the JOY in your lives! No plant advice, except agree with cosmos and pansies. I like snap dragons, reliable.

Our Son was an early riser and would be tired while I made dinner also. Once, after dinner, he came and asked me if it was bed time yet!!! Perhaps most parents dream question, but it was 6 pm! He was able to wait another hour. It is very nice having an early riser... for those future school days... oh but let's not talk of that far off time. How about early morning trips to see the sunrise!

With Kindness,

Andy Paulson! Where you been?!!? I missed a good ol' Andy post! Woot woot!!!

Hi Alicia, for a cutting garden with a lovely range of colors, you could try mixed zinnias for yellows, pink , oranges and fuchsia along with daisies for white, and bachelor buttons for blue. Coleus is a great plant with a wide range of colorful foliage which will grow in the shade. Snapdragons in mixed colors would also be lovely. And, if you have room, dahlias. Looking forward to seeing how your flower garden grows! xxxxx

The ideas above sound good. Just check the packet to be sure it says to direct sow and you are golden. More sun is better, but I have grown all of these in partial sun with OK results.

Oh I've been looking forward to seeing your little raised beds planted up! I love using seeds, but I have no idea what would work in your climate (being in Australia, in a subtropical climate- we are literally world's apart :)

I usually always plant a few flowering herbs in with my flowers- it makes the most amazing smell!

Zinnias!! They come in different varieties, the seeds go right into the ground and they are super-easy to grow. they make lovely bouquets. I grow them every summer to put in vases around the house. They're darling.

Also, dahlias! Just try a few different tubers. If you are in zone 8 or higher, you can leave the tubers in the ground over the winter. They make a spectacular cut flower!!

We used the Territorial regional blend last year and really loved it. I think its called Pacific NW or something like that.

Yes to so many of these great suggestions; direct seed borage, white cosmos, love-in-a-mist, bachelor buttons, and zinnias. The only drawback with zinnias is overhead watering = powdery mildew, at least in my garden anyway. If you want to start a tray of something indoors dahlias are so satisfying from seed, you feel like you are getting something for nothing! I couldn't believe they bloomed the same year I started them. And dwarf glads are fun, and acidanthera are sweet and easy to grow.

cynthia Potts says: April 01, 2014 at 08:32 AM

Burpee has some planned flower gardens, cutting flower gardens etc, and you purchase the package which comes with the seeds for the different flowers and the overall plan of where to plant. Makes it easy!

I just planted in my new raised beds last weekend. I'm doing a combination of veggies, herbs and cutting flowers. I've mostly bought packs from the nursery of zinnias, cosmos, delphinium. But, I've started some sunflower seeds as well. The perennials will definitely work better out of the raised beds with the annuals being in the beds. I posted about mine a couple of days ago along with a couple of good sites I found.

Verbena bonariensis, foxgloves, ferns and daisies are the ones I need to have for picking every summer. All the best,

i'm not sure if this posted..

I forgot to add 2 of my favorites...

Ranunculus and peonies!!!



Definitely scatter cosmos and cleome, delicate, but beautiful. Great selfie!

love this post! you are so inspiring and just makes my heart feel cozy when i read what you have to say and then today with little women- my all time favorite!!!
Do you have instagram? would love to see your beautiful pics pop up on my instagram feed throughout the day!

Can you grow dianthus, or is it too wet in your garden? I've always liked them, I believe they are part of the carnation family--so good for cut flowers.

Elizabeth says: April 03, 2014 at 12:35 PM

We got a couple of those wildflower mixed-seed packets at Home Depot last year and just sprinkled them in the dirt- and ended up with a beautiful, eclectic wildflower garden that lasted like 3 months! highly recommend.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.