Charlie Ryrie

The Cutting Garden

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    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

Suitable for All Abilities

This course is for gardeners wanting to grow plants for the vase for their home, or for garden gate sales. It is aimed at those with some basic gardening experience who would like to develop their skills, and for garden designers who would like to create cutting gardens for their clients. You will be given the tools to start from scratch, and ideas for transforming an existing garden into a successful cutting plot. 

This course provides a taster menu of hundreds of different plants for cutting, and tells you how and where to grow them, pick them and use them. It also gives you the confidence and knowledge to try slightly more unusual blooms as well as the old favourites.

You do need an area that gets a reasonable amount of sun, but you do not need acres of land, it is a matter of choosing the right plants for your situation. In a space of 125 square metres/yards you could grow enough to fill your house with flowers and have plenty of spares to give away. Most established gardens already include some good cutting plants - many perennials benefit from being picked hard and give you a better second flowering because of it, and once a shrub matures you may hardly notice any difference in its size even when cutting fairly copious amounts of foliage from it. Whatever your space, the knack of growing for cutting lies in choosing flowers that produce over several months as long as you keep picking them, and practising sucessional sowing to get two crops of quick maturing annuals a year in the same space.

Course outline

  • Starting Out

    There is nothing difficult about growing plants for cutting, but you must keep on top of specific tasks at the right time. The most important thing is to be realistic about space and time and decide what sort of cutting garden you want. Is it just for you or do you want extra for garden gate sales? Do you want a dedicated cutting area, or to cut from your borders? How much space and time can you allocate? What is your ground like? Do you have covered growing space? What sort of gardener are you? This lecture provides the tools to make informed choices.
  • Plants For All Seasons

    This lecture provides you with a basic palette of the best cutting plants to provide interest for the vase year round. You should plan for a mixture of blowsy blooms and delicate subjects, bright and pale flowers, subtle ones, scented ones, and showstoppers. Above all you must grow what you like or you will not look after the plants. A common mistake is to forget the foliage plants which are the backbone of any cutting garden, along with bulbs, perennials and annuals, whatever your style of garden.
  • Maintenance

    Regular tending is the way to a successful cutting garden. You need to know when to sow and plant, how to plan for successional blooming, how to combat pests, when to deadhead and cut back. We look at feeding plants and mulching for nutrition and to combat weeds. Perennial cutting gardens need to be kept weed free, if time is short you can be more relaxed with annual crops as you clear the ground when each crop finishes. You need a good compost heap as a cutting garden can produce a significant amount of spent material.
  • Using Your Garden Flowers

    This lecture looks at using your home grown flowers. You discover the best times to pick, whatever the weather, and at what stage of blooming. You learn how and where to store flowers before using them, and how to treat different types of plant material and flowers to get the longest possible vase life. You also learn how to keep them looking good when you have arranged them. Any home florist needs a good basic tool kit and a variety of vases, and we look at the way different shapes and styles of container suit different styles of arrangement.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Charlie Ryrie

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by Charlie Ryrie
    • Certificate of completion from Charlie Ryrie
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
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  • The Peer option

    Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

    • Start course whenever you like
    • Practise what you learn with your peers
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 4 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more

Learn better together

  • Online classroom

    Start anytime and join a class of no more than 20 students

    Start anytime and join a class of no more than 20 students
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with assignments after each lesson

    Practice what you learn with assignments after each lesson
  • Personal tuition

    Exclusive assignment feedback from Expert Tutors

    Exclusive assignment feedback from Expert Tutors
  • Share

    Share ideas with classmates from around the world

    Share ideas with classmates from around the world

Meet Charlie Ryrie

Charlie Ryrie - Floristry

Charlie Ryrie, in our eyes, is one of the original champions of British grown flowers for weddings, and we have always admired the magic she creates with her seasonal country garden grown flowers.

The Natural Wedding Company
Hello, I'm Charlie Ryrie. A journalist and passionate gardener for 25 years plus, in 2004 I traded the pen for the trowel and began The Real Cut Flower Garden, growing traditional and interesting varieties of flowers for cutting. We were the first company in the UK to send out bouquets of entirely home grown flowers nationwide and within three years had five intensively planted acres of mixed cutting plants. I now combine teaching with helping to run the original business, and in 2014 started The British Flower School ( to provide intensive flower arranging courses.

I look forward to speaking to you in class and sharing my passion for cut flowers with you.

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