Our first garden: how to plant a cutting garden with your kids

How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink MonsterHello my friend ((big hugs)), how have you been? Things have been crazy here, as usual, Sam came down with another one of her coughs, which was awful for her but also meant mommy being up all night with her, which as you know all too well equals fried brain cells. Luckily for me, & all of the plants I had purchased that were sitting on my deck beginning to wilt, she was better by Tuesday & we were able to finally plant our first garden.

This whole garden idea started one day in February when I asked the girls if they wanted to plant a garden this year. I’m pretty sure I got the idea from when it’s those last few months of winter & you are just dying for warm weather, green trees & flowers. I pictured myself & my little minions every day after school pruning away at our beautiful little flower garden, we’d talk about our day & be warm & tan & have little aprons that would be overflowing with all of the flowers that our beautiful little garden with a white picket fence around it would ever so effortlessly produce. Usually these perfect mommy daydreams I have come nowhere near actually manifesting into reality but the girls took this one hook, line & sinker. They have asked me almost every day since February if it was spring yet & time to plant our flower garden. Last week I was finally able to say, “Yes. Yes my lovelies it’s time to plant our garden!” ((insert high pitched squeals here from them & a reality check for me that I actually have no idea how to plant a garden. Oops.))

I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb. It’s not quite brown either, I’d say it’s a good amateur asparagus green. (lovely visual, right?) I’ve grown herbs on the deck, which required pretty much nothing of me, & some flowers in pots but never a real, in the ground, GARDEN. I chose a ‘cutting garden’ (a garden that produces flowers that are good for cutting, duh, I know) because I figured it would be pretty to look at in the yard & also would produce a quick & continuous payoff for the girls & myself. As I mentioned, I don’t know a lot about growing flowers so before I headed off to the nursery I did some self education via Pinterest. Better Homes & Gardens & other legit gardening sites were very helpful, I love this flower index BH&G has, but I also loved reading first hand accounts of other people’s experiences with cutting gardens. Yet another reason I love blogs. I really liked this lady’s the best, I think she might be British which made her even cuter, she actually seems to live in PA about 6 hours away from me, same difference, but what I loved most was her honesty about what worked & what did not. (a good dose of sarcasm never hurt someone’s chances of turning me into a loyal new blog follower either.)

So step one, choose a place. We have a decently sized yard but ever since buying a playhouse/swingset thingie last winter most of yard has become a high traffic play zone. I looked around wondering & then saw it, the bastard corner of the yard to the left of the deck that has become the dumping zone of cracked pots, moldy toys & other outside junk that at some point had been dumped in this area that was just out of sight from guests. Come to think of it, it was actually perfect, the majority of it got full sun (which most of the beautiful cutting flowers need, BH&G says ‘full sun’ is at least 6 hrs of direct sunlight) & it also offered a small part-shade section that would be perfect for the blue hydrangeas I desperately wanted.

How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink Monster

Step two is the probably, no, most definitely the hardest part. You have to dig up & remove all of the grass, break up all of the ground to aerate it, & you’ll probably have to bring in some healthy topsoil too. Remember my ‘ah-ha decision to take small bites‘ , well, this is one of those moments where I knew doing it myself would be biting off more than I can handle & would most certainly end with brutal repercussions. This is where I feel kind of uncomfortable about blogging about this because I know not everyone is as financially blessed as we are at the moment but I want to be honest & not give the impression that I did all that hard work. I paid our yard guy to do it. I went out there & spray painted the outline in the yard & he & his crew came in, did their thing & left us with a beautiful blank canvas for our garden.

How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink Monster

Step three, now it gets fun! I made a mental map of the garden & chose plants according to the sunlight & what I had read about their care needs. I wanted nothing that was going to be a fussy, needy, plant. We have enough fussy, needy creatures, including myself, in our house thank you very much. Through my reading I also discovered that different flowers bloom at different parts of Spring, Summer & even into Fall. (l told you I was new to this, stop laughing!) So, with a little planning our garden could keep producing a variety of flowers for the next 6 months, with that in mind I chose the following…How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink Monster

I went to a few different nurseries in my area & here’s my take. Going to the big home stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s are ok but the selection is pretty dull & honestly the plants tended to look a little sad, like they’d been sitting around for awhile by the time they got there. The nurseries on the other hand had an amazing variety & I found that the people working there were experts & were more than happy to guide me through all of the different plants & even give some great advice on which to purchase. The prices did seem a bit higher than the big home stores but if the plant cost less but isn’t as healthy or what you really wanted than it’s kind of going to be a waste of money anyway, at least that’s how I justified it. For you local peeps I went to Potomac Garden Center & Behnke’s)

I bought mostly plants because I’m impatient, but I did also purchase some bulbs & ordered some seeds online for really beautiful vase fillers like White Bishop’s Lace & Mammoth Sunflowers

(I cant wait to have those beasts growing up the side of our deck!) How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink Monster

I also bought cute little gardening gloves for the girls because I thought they’d be girly & not want to really get their hands in the dirt, it was a waste, they lasted about 10 minutes before being tossed aside, looks like my tomboy genes actually are somewhere in those little princess bodies, they were even playing with earthworms by the end! I’m sure ‘Queen Elsa’ the worm & ‘Princess Anna’ the worm are quite happy with their new dirt castles the girls built for them.How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink MonsterStep four, planting, turned out to be one of those things my kids really want to to do but aren’t fully capable of doing correctly, I found myself having to walk that fine line of fixing their work while still ‘letting them do it’. I worked on planting the big boys & delegated the Cosmos & Snapdrapons to the girls. There was a lot of stopping what I was doing & helping them with each of theirs & it crossed my mind that I certainly could have done the whole garden in half of the time it was taking but I had to remind myself that this isn’t a garden for me, it’s for us, & in order for them to feel like they have ownership in it, which is what will reap all of those wonderful benefits like quality time, responsibility, pride in their work & just a whole lot of fun good memories, they needed to do it too.How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink MonsterHow to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink MonsterHow to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink Monster

In one afternoon we planted the entire garden. I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of work & I was so sore the next day, at one point I asked P if I had run a marathon in my sleep or something because planting a garden should not have kicked my butt this hard!

It was of course completely & utterly worth it, the girls have been watering & tending to it…some more than others…How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink Monster How to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink MonsterHow to plant a cutting garden:: Our First Garden with Little Pink MonsterI’ll be documenting our progress with our little family garden throughout the year so if you want to get in on it it’s not too late! I HIGHLY recommend planting a garden as a fun activity you can do with your kids. Remember how we talked about hating playing with Barbies, well I figure this way we can be pruning & caring for our garden together instead, it’s a win win my friend.

Think about it & if you do or if you already have one & have some knowledge to share then please share away in the comments below! Even better share a picture with me on Instagram, I’m @mspinkmonster & let’s use the hashtag #ourgarden so we can all see one another’s! Yay! This is going to be so fun! As long as it doesn’t die…that would suck.

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  1. Leslie

    I love your cutting garden! For instant color, I love petunias.You can buy them in bloom an plant them along a border.They come in fun and bright colors. Also geraniums are a sure bet and easy to grow. I know they are not for cutting and putting vases onthe house. However. you will enjoy it in your yard !
    In the fall, plant tulip bulbs.Love springtime.

    • Natasha

      Thanks Leslie! I have always loved geraniums for pots on the patio because theyre so hard to kill! lol!

  2. *deep sigh* Love this!! Please post lots of pictures of your garden as I’ll be living vicariously through them (especially the peonies and hydrangeas -my favorite)!! My husband and I are fairly-newlyweds in our first apartment, he just finished college and I’m going back, so there’s no space or time for my dream garden right now. When we upgrade our space and I finish school, gardening is at the top of my to-do list and when I do, I’ll know I’ve arrived, lol…

    • Natasha

      Lol, awwww, you know I totally remember when I had by apartment & feeling the same way, I forgot about that! Peonies are my absolutely favorite flowers ever & hydrangeas are a definite second so we’re flower soul sisters (: I’ll be sure to post lots of picks along the way!

  3. Ashley

    AMAZING!!! Gardens are a WORKOUT! I can’t wait to see how they’ll bloom! Maybe you’ll eventually add some edible plantings in there as well :-)

    • Natasha

      Thanks! I’m kind of intimidated by veggie gardens but maybe if I can keep this one alive I’ll get the gardening confidence I need, lol!

  4. Caroline

    You can add in a pot some basil plants which are very easy to maintain and then you can use them to cook with!

  5. Janelle

    Your timing is impeccable! I want to plant a garden this summer. Now to just convince my husband to turn over the dirt and square off an area..

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