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Margaret Hensel's Criteria for Selecting Perennials

Margaret chose perennials for our new cutting garden based on the following considerations:

* perennials that would create the look and feel of a cottage garden and make a good cut flower
* plants that provide a long period of bloom for a long cutting season
* plants that are easy to grow and care for
* plants that are generally tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, with minimal insect or disease problems
* plants that require minimal staking
* plants that are strong growers
* plants with various growth habits and foliage forms
* plants with a variety of flower forms — both round and spikey
* a good range of colors — keeping in mind the colors of the rooms where they might be most often arranged. (For example, a blue and white kitchen would look great with a bold bouquet of bright yellow and white blooms.)
* Plants that thrive in Hardiness Zones 3 or 4 to Zones 8 or 9. (Margaret steered clear of marginally hardy plants. As she says, "This garden is about bounty, not fussing.")
* Plants that bloom from spring into fall
* flowers that hold up well in a vase of water
* Plants you just have to have because you love them in the garden and in the house

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Published August 31, 2007