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!


(That should read "individual envelopes of flower SEEDS.")

I bought the seeds mixed in with composty stuff to just sprinkle - don't bother. Very disappointing and weedy. I'd recommend seeds: Nigella (Love in the Mist), Cosmos (pink and white) and Night Scented Stock for divine clovey scent and splash out on a couple of phlox plants, a tray of snapdragons for the bees and maybe a couple of Marguerite daisies. Those are the ones on my list for this year, and with our mild (but very wet) winter here, I'm hoping the geraniums have survived in their sheltered pots. I'm tired too - maybe it's the change of season. Let's hope for some sunshine.

I'm doing exactly the same thing with some of my raised beds this year. Hopefully some flowers for cutting and some for bees and butterflies. I've got some packets to sprinkle around.

Still so much snow here. I can't wait to get out in the garden!!!

Annual cutting flowers are really nice to have around. Some sow/scatter-in-the-ground favorites: Larkspur, Bachelor's Buttons, Cosmos, Zinnias, Queen Annes Lace, Coreopsis, Annual Grasses, Corn Poppies, Shirley Poppies, Opium Poppies, Clarkia. Maybe a multi-headed sunflower or two. Some mixes work, some don't - a fun gamble. A few Gladiolas and Dahlias are are beautiful too, but not really wildflower meadow-ish.

Buying a few packs of seeds and either mixing your own custom blend, or scattering patches of various kinds seems to be the most successful for me. Also, sowing a ratio of 75% sand and 25% seeds will help for oversowing/crowding.


Can you grow zinnias up there? They're prolific here in S. Tex. They cut well. And all the pinks/oranges/reds/yellows are sheer happiness. Seeds.

MY friends who have tried those 'meadow in a can' flowers said they got more weeds than flowers. I'd buy individual packets and sprinkle those. That way you can choose what flowers you want. I'd just sprinkle it on turned ground and let it go.
I am loving this rain too and quilting up a storm.
My 'Miss maggie Rabbit' kit arrived today and I am excited to start it over the weekend. So a few more days of rain would help. Does this mean we have turned into Oregonians?
Love your blog and your little girl is adorable.

Hi Alicia, over here in the UK, Sarah Raven is an inspirational gardener. She sells seeds for cut flowers, have a look at her website, it will inspire you. She's also written several books, one called The Cutting Garden is full of suggestions for cramming as many flowers as you can into small spaces. I've read your blog for years and you too are a great inspiration to me. Thank you Amy x

Zinnias and nigella (love in a mist) in between, forget-me-not - all direct seeded.
Tithonia (mexican sunflower) I dont like those tins of flowers - lots of unwanted grasses....

Every year I grow a little cutting/wildflower garden. Just buy annual seeds that appeal to you and scatter them. For me, it's cosmos, asters, poppies and clary sage. Makes the loveliest bouquets and they bloom throughout the entire planting time.

You might want to checkout They have lots of different mixtures of very high quality seeds. Even though I planted mine very late last year, I had wonderful success.

I tried the wildflower mix and lived to regret it! There were some pretties but an awful lot of, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THAT?!
I don't start anything indoors, they don't transplant well in my neck of the woods. You might want to try perennials with a few annuals seeds too?
However your little one is growing like a flower herself!
Happy planting :)

This is such a timely discussion as we, too, have decided to have a cutting garden and I am so enjoying all of the great advice here. Zinnias have been my primary focus (leftover flower envy of a neighbor's garden last summer--beautiful!) but now I'm ready to get some cosmos and marigold seeds as well. I'm going to try the direct seed planting after the last frost....fingers crossed for many a bouquet this summer!

Cosmos all the way! I also suggest, if you want a wildflower meadow look but not the upkeep, to plant a few Gaura's.I think they are also called Butterfly bushes. They are perennial....I cut mine back hard each winter and they never let me down in summer.In fact, they ARE summer! Happy gardening!

I don't know about the garden, but you know you're going to have to show us more of that room, right?

Due to a Beagle who eats EVERYTHING! I had to switch to flowers. I have had a lot of luck with Forget-Me-Nots, Cosmos, Poppies, Foxglove, Borage and Chamomile from seed. I look for flowering perennials, so many come back each year, it is lovely to watch and recall...

I have the world's brownest thumb, but even I can get the "Cut & Come Again" zinnias to grow. I have started mine in potting soil in egg cartons---I always want to get them started in the spring and don't have the patience to direct sow, although my grandfather did that for years and years, using seeds from the plants he grew.

I have a few suggestions as well. If you have a shady spot, plant some hellebores and some coral belles. They are perennial - shady things grow more slowly so perennials in the shade are positive.

In the sunnier spots, taking your tastes into account, I would suggest:
-sea thrift

Also, I second the idea of lamb's ears for Lil' A!

Hi Andy! Love Amelia's face in your selfie..
My suggestion - get a few packets of seeds of flowers you like - that grow at different times. This way you always have something to cut.
My personal favorites - are cosmos and daisies - mixed with herbs like lavender, sage, or thyme ...they look lovely in mason jars - plus last throughout the season.

Calendula will come and the more you cut it the more they will bloom. I also plant zinnia's, sunflowers, bachelor buttons. All of these seem to grow great here! We have short summers.

Linda in Waterloo says: March 27, 2014 at 04:54 PM

I would not recommend spreading a 'wildflower mix' as in my sad experience you may be removing unwanted 'wildflower's for years to come. I used a mix and was plagued by a spread of some awful filler seeds they had incorporated. Much better to select your seeds and spread those. A friend gave me some tall, fragrant, "Kiss me over the Garden Gate" plants (Mennonite name) and I am still removing those 8 years later after pulling them out 2 years after planting. Some plants are a blessing and others are not. I would suggest planting bird, insect and butterfly friendly plants like milkweed (Monarchs) and Joe Pye Weed. Go natural - it will work well with the Liberty prints and such!Love your blog. Your girl is getting so big. Clover, poor thing, needs stress meds.

Linda in Waterloo says: March 27, 2014 at 04:59 PM

And YES! as someone suggested - borage - it's awesome. We first had it served atop pats of butter at a lovely restaurant. It's a must IMO.Spreads but is lacy with beautiful purple flowers.

sheila haskin says: March 27, 2014 at 05:12 PM

Botanical Interests seed catalog has nice selection of quality seed. check it out online! cleome spider flower, cosmos,calendula,and plant a long as you can row of cut&come again zinnia's you and your little helper will surely love the bouquets have fun and good luck sheila from u.p. michigan

Add some fennel plants to the mix. They look great with flowers. And you'll get a lot of butterflies to watch when they come in to lay eggs on the fennel. The fennel will return each will the butterflies.

I would recommend individual seed packets. I love Larkspur (which self seeds and comes back year after year), poppies they do the same, nasturtium, sunflowers, ZINNIAS!, bachelor buttons, celosia, coneflower and cosmos to name a few. Have fun!

ZINNIAS. They are foolproof from seed and thrive with very little care. See the last part of this post -
Moon flower seeds at the base of your porch posts and nicotiana sylvestris (only sylvestris) for height. Are all fast growing. The white moon flower and white nicotiana have a heavenly fragrance in the evening and are a nice contrast to the colorful zinnias.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

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.