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Flowers add a tremendous amount of color, texture and scent to a room, and they lend a note of cheer on the grayest of days.

However, purchasing flowers at your local florist can sometimes be time-consuming, expensive and frustrating. Many times the flowers you want are not available, or, if they are, can look wilted or be past their prime - just not fresh enough.Growing your own cutting garden offers you the opportunity of growing exactly what you want and in the colors that you love. In short, you can grow flowers that work with your own home.

If your passion is yellow roses, for example, you can select a variety that will provide you with the desired shape, scent and size at a fraction of the cost of cut flowers.

But before rushing out to buy a multitude of seeds, bushes and plants, take the time to plan and develop your garden so that it will yield the greatest amount of blooms for a long period of time.

- Annuals vs. perennials

When shopping for your cutting garden, consider whether you want to group together or segregate the annuals and perennials. Annuals last only one season and have to be replaced every year. Perennials last year to year and are usually more expensive than annuals.

The most inexpensive method of purchasing either plant is to buy seed packages and grow your own. However, if you plant your seeds too late, you may not have any blooms for that season. To insure blooms, purchasing young plants from your local garden center or nursery will almost guarantee flowers in your garden within that same season.

- Fast growing vs. slow growing

Some flowers grow extremely quickly, such as foxglove or delphinium, while others grow more slowly. When planning your cutting garden, pay attention to the growing speed of the plants as well as their anticipated height.

Mixing shorter plants with taller plants may cause retarded growth or difficulty in cultivating your blooms unless they are planted - with the correct distance between them.

- Early bloomers vs. late bloomers

Plan your garden so that you will have flowers from the earliest part of spring to the latest part of autumn. Early bloomers like crocus and snowdrops foretell the prospect of warmer months ahead, while chrysanthemums and asters provide the last glimmer of warm, fragrant days.

Plant your flowers in a design so that when one variety is finished blooming, another is just coming into show. This will provide a continuous floral backdrop in your garden and prevent large gaping holes.

Cut your blooms often - either early in the morning or late in the afternoon; never in the direct sun or heat of day.

The more you cultivate the flowers from your cutting garden, the larger the amount of flowers your garden will yield.

Be sure to feed your plants and flowers and always read the label for proper dosages and special instructions.

And before you bring anything from your garden into your home, check to make certain that there are no bugs or other little visitors hiding among your magnificent bouquets!