UNITED STATES—There is a difference. Hybrid tea and grandiflora roses were bred to be excellent cut flowers for the home. They bloom on long stems, and last well once cut. However, the rigid and thorny plants that produce these excellent blooms are realistically not much to look at. Floribunda, polyantha and climbing roses are more of a compromise with less ideal (perhaps) blooms on friendlier plants.
Conversely, bearded iris are spectacular while blooming out in the garden, but do not last so well as cut flowers. As colorful as they are, they perform best while still attached to the plants that produced them. Fading flowers might be groomed away from flowers that continue to bloom later, but are not a serious problem if allowed to linger. The garden is more forgiving than the home.
Where space allows, rose gardens or cutting gardens are areas devoted to the production of flowers for cutting and bringing into the home. Like vegetable gardens, cutting gardens might be hedged, fenced or partly concealed from the rest of the landscape. No one minds if the utilitarian plants within get deprived of their blooms, or need to be staked or caged like big tomato plants.
Taller and bulkier varieties of dahlia, delphinium, lily, Peruvian lily (alstroemeria) or sunflower that might be to big and awkward elsewhere in the garden can be right at home in a cutting garden. Compact and more prolific varieties of the same flowers work better in more prominent parts of the garden, and if prolific enough, can also provide flowers (although less spectacular) for cutting.
There are very few rules in regard to cut flowers. Many of us bring in bearded iris or daylily, even though they may not last more than a day. The buds blow the flowers might bloom afterward. Blooming clematis vine, nasturtium (on or off stem), lily-of-the-Nile, zonal geranium, bougainvillea, bottlebrush, crape myrtle and even flower stalks of New Zealand flax, are all worthy cut flowers for anyone wanting to try them, especially if the garden provides enough to spare.
There are so many different specie involved with the extensive breeding of the modern cultivars of clematis that they are not even assigned full Latin names. They are simply known as ‘clematis’ (without a specie name), with a respective cultivar name. Clematis X jackmanii is the oldest known hybrid, so the name is often applied to other hybrids, whether or not they are actually related.
The big broad flowers are abundant and spectacular this time of year, but unfortunately do not last long. Bloom finishes before the weather gets much warmer, leaving unimpressively rustic foliage on wiry vines. The vines might reach ground floor eaves, and are just the right size for small gate arbors. If necessary, old plants can be lightly groomed of twiggy growth while bare through winter.
Flowers are rich shades of blue, purple, red, pink or white. Many are bi-colored, and some have ruffled centers. During full boom, there may be more flowers than foliage visible. Foliage is a dark shade of olive green, with a dull matte finish, which is actually a perfect background for the rich color of the bloom. Roots like rich, moist and cool soil, while the vines climb into sunnier situations.