Here are a few of my favorite flowers that I use for cut flower arrangements. The variety of zinnias in the above picture is the California Giant. I enjoy using this variety because the blooms are large, and it takes few blooms to make a nice arrangement. The other picture is a picture of Cosmos. I planted a Sensation mixture which also includes a pretty deep purple color. I love to use Cosmos in flower arrangements because they make a soft arrangement with beautiful foliage. The flowers themselves do not last too long, but you can snip off the individual blossoms that have died. To help the flowers last longer in the water, you should strip off the leaves that will be below the water level. Leaves that are left under the water, tend to go bad very quickly. I have a harder time doing this with the Cosmos, but the Zinnias are easily stripped. I usually do this standing outside while cutting them.
Taking care of a garden bed of flowers doesn't require too much effort either. (Just in case you haven't figured out, I am a person that loves beauty that comes without a lot of effort on my part)! To keep the flowers producing blooms, you should snip off old dead blooms often. I give my daughter this task. After a while, Zinnia's leaves tend to become unattractive in the garden bed. It does mess up the view of the bed, but again just strip all the leaves when using them in an arrangement. To keep fresh flowers all summer, I succession plant all of my flowers. The first bed of Zinnias that I planted this Spring is getting to the end of their beauty. However, I have another bed that is just now coming into its peak season.
The worst enemy of a zinnia bed is Japanese Beetles. This is one bug that I detest. To be quite honest, I hate them. I pick the bugs off the flowers and squash them. However, I cannot keep up with the multitudes of Japanese Beetles so I do lose some flowers to their destructiveness. I sometimes think the flowers keeps the beetles off of my vegetables so I am thankful for that.
grace and peace,