At Hortulus Farm, Garden & Nursery, floral designer and event maestro Renny Reynolds creates simple, unstructured arrangements with seasonal and homegrown botanical ingredients. He and partner Jack Staub glean from the perennial borders, cutting garden and flowering shrubs to create highly personal arrangements for decorating their home. Here are their top 10 cutting plants for floral design:
1. Hydrangea: In the late summer, the gorgeous blooms lend scale to any design. In the fall, the cut stems are allowed to slowly dry in vases for display throughout the winter months.
2. Peony: While they bloom for only 3–4 weeks in the early summer, nothing matches their wistful beauty and subtle fragrance.
3. Dahlia: With countless shapes and hues, dappled and ruffled petals, these bodacious blooms are the quintessential flower of late summer.
4. Zinnia: "Like a party in a vase!" Jack observes. The men like to plant a patch of Zinnia elegans 'Magellan' dwarf varieties in complementary fiesta colors.
5. Quince: In early spring, Renny and Jack display cut branches of quince—appreciating the blooms' intense coral petals emerging from architectural twigs—in a big cylindrical vase.
6. Chinese trumpet lily: the heavenly trumpet-shaped varieties of Lilium regale are highly valued, including 'Golden Splendor.'
7. Rose: Blowsy, heavily-fragranced David Austin varieties are lush ingredients to a garden bouquet. The apricot-hued 'Sweet Juliet' is a favorite.
8. Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum): "There's nothing prettier or more 'country-feeling' than an old pitcher with Shastas on the kitchen table," Jack says.
9. Daffodil and narcissus: With more than 120 varieties of the scented, early spring flowering bulbs planted at Hortulus, there are armloads of these beauties to fill vases for every room.
10. Lily-of-the-valley: Jack and Renny often harvest clumps of this tiny woodland flower to replant in small flowerpots or julep cups. Topped with moss, the delicate arrangement puts a smile on the face of anyone who sees it.