Search Results for: lilies

Plant Now: Calla Lilies

Wedding flowersWedding flowersWedding flowersBeautiful calla lilies. Wedding flowers.
Calla lilies (Zantedeschia) are one of my favourite flowers. They’re just so elegant. Although they can be flamboyant superheroes too, with their racy yellow, orange or hot pink hues. I prefer the paler pinks, creams and whites, or the sumptuous deep burgundies and purples, although in the right setting, I find even the yellows, seen here with berries and variegated foliage, quite striking.

It’s your last chance to plant calla lily tubers for summer blooming. You can buy tubers from garden centres, although bear in mind that tubers under 3cm won’t produce flowers until the second year. When large enough, tubers will flower 10 to 12 weeks after planting.

Plant in free-draining, moderately fertile soil in full sun. Water regularly, particularly once the first leaves have formed, and feed occasionally with liquid fertiliser.

Harvest plants when the spathes are fully open but before the pollen is dispersed. They will last two weeks or more in the vase.


Plant Now: Lilies

lily asiatic antique lace
Asiatic lily orange electricOriental lily 'Pico'
Lilium bulbs can be planted now and until September for a summer showing. Oriental, Asiatic and trumpet lilies are the three common types you’ll find at garden centres, but you can also buy more unusual forms from specialist growers. Asiatics are the first to flower from around late November or December, then comes the trumpet lilies around Christmas-time. Then it’s the Orientals, sometimes from December but usually January to March. Trumpets and Orientals are beautifully fragrant; sadly the Asiatics have no perfume.

Plant bulbs in a light, humus-rich soil in sun to light shade. They like moist soil, but it must be free-draining – bulbs won’t survive water-logging. Get your bulbs in the ground as soon as you buy them. The bulbs have no outer papery layer so they’re prone to drying out.

The top photo shows the Asiatic lily ‘Antique Lace’ from The Lily Garden (it’s not available in New Zealand); the middle photo is the Asiactic lily ‘Orange Lily’ and the bottom is the Oriental lily ‘Pico’. Both are available from Garden Post.

Plant Now: Lilies

Lily Tiger Edition

For a fragrant and luxurious treat, you can’t go wrong with lilies. These summer flowers are among the loveliest bulbs, with their elegant, trumpet-shaped blooms that are spectacularly showy in the garden and long-lasting in a vase. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from and the bulbs are in garden centres now. They require chilling for flower development in summer, so the cool ground between May and September is the perfect time for planting. But get them in the ground as soon as you bring them home. Lily bulbs have no outer papery layer so they’re prone to drying out.

Lilium varieties
There are three main types that are commonly available in shops. Asiastic lilies, Trumpet lilies and Oriental lilies. Asiatics are the first to flower from late November or December, but their showy blooms are unscented. Trumpet lilies are next, just in time for Christmas. Then come the Orientals, sometimes from December but usually January to March.  [Read more…]

Plant Now: Penstemons, Calla lilies, Alstroemerias

Plant NowSummer showed up yesterday with a humid and heated hello. It had me gasping for water, so imagine how the plants must have been feeling. There are many heat lovers that can still be planted this week, though, including penstemons, calla lilies and alstroemerias.

Penstemons are herbaceous perennials that flower from late spring through summer. Although they’re not commonly grown as cut flowers, they do have a good vase life. Buy seedlings or fully grown plants at this stage and position in full sun (though they don’t mind light shade). Water well while establishing and feed twice a year, once in spring and again in midsummer or early autumn.

Calla lilies
Calla lilyIf you didn’t get around to planting your calla lily tubers back in October, don’t panic. Flowering plants are available in garden centres now. These gorgeous blooms (botanical name zantedeschia) grow well in containers or in the garden, but if transplanting in the ground, keep plants at the same level as the soil’s surface (ie, plant them no deeper than they were in the pot). Callas like a moist, free-draining soil in sun but will benefit from a little shade from the midday sun in hot areas. Water regularly and mulch to retain soil moisture.

AlstroemeriaAlstroemerias are popular because of their long flowering season, their long vase life (up to 14 days) and their extensive range of colours. They come in pastel shades to vibrant hues, in dwarf or regular size. Pick the tall-flowering perennials if you plan to pick them for the vase and plant in a spot that gets at least half a day’s sun.

Dahlias, Clematis, Calla Lilies

The weather has warmed up dramatically, so it’s time to get cracking in the garden. I’ve been sowing hundreds of flower seeds, as well as a few plants and tubers.

Dahlia tubers can be planted now for summer and autumn flowering. Plant them so their necks are 5-6cm below the soil. If they’ve already sprouted, position them so the base of the shoot is just below soil level. For detailed information on planting dahlias, click here.

My two clematis are in full bloom. Clematis montana ‘Tetra Pink’ and ‘Elizabeth’. The latter has a gorgeous chocolate scent (truly!) and both can climb to a whopping 7-10m high if you let them.

Clematis come in all shapes and sizes, from dainty diminutive blooms to giant dinner-plate show-offs. They can be compact growing or high climbers. They also flower at various times of the year, so if you plant several different varieties you can have at least one plant in flower almost year-round.

Believe it or not, clematis are superb cut flowers. Pick when the flowers have just opened and remove all foliage. Check your local garden centre for plants, or try a specialist nursery like Mr Clematis.

Calla lilyCalla lilies
Calla lily (Zantedeschia) tubers can be planted for midsummer blooming, although bear in mind that tubers under 3cm won’t produce flowers until their second year. Buy tubers from garden centres or from specialist mailorder nurseries, like NZ Bulbs.

Iceland poppies and citrus


My garden is producing a ton of citrus right now, so I think I’ll give these gorgeous arrangements, by McKenzie Powell, a go. 

McKenzie uses Iceland poppies, gardenias, white lilies, blood oranges and kumquat – more of an end-of-winter/spring arrangement.


Images via Snippet & Ink.

Gold and magenta bouquet


If you’re looking to have a gold theme for your wedding or celebration (a golden anniversary, perhaps), consider spray-painting your foliage gold. Back in the days when I completed my florist’s course we spent a session spraying foliage and seed heads gold and silver. It lasts exceptionally well, and looks beautiful complemented with a sparkling gold ribbon covering the base of the stems. The gold here pairs beautifully with magenta calla lilies.

The 7 Most Expensive Flowers in the World

Gloriosa rothschildiana - Flame Lily. Illustration by Denise Ramsay

Gloriosa rothschildiana – Flame Lily. Illustration by Denise Ramsay

In her non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, Susan Orlean mentions the mystery ghost orchid, which charmed flower poacher John Laroche. This character can be called one of the most famous flower collectors of the modern world, but the first person who started collecting flowers (that we know of) was the female pharaoh Hatshepsut. She sent botanists to Somali to retrieve the olibanum (frankincence) tree to plant in Egypt – and they were successfully planted at her mortuary temple complex.

However, the most notable period of flower collecting was during the 1630s in the Netherlands. People caught in the grips of Tulip Mania gave away their family estates to purchase rare bulbs.

But the fever existed only up to the beginning of the 18th century. In 1700, the planting of flowers in greenhouses in the Netherlands was established. Now any florist like Reids is able to order and receive tulips, roses and lilies to sell in his/her shop straight from that country.

While roses and lilies are the bases of the flower industry, there are a great number of expensive and rare flowers that you might not have realised were so expensive. Here are seven of the world’s rarest and most expensive flowers.

glory-lilyGlory lily (6-10 USD per flower)

Also known as the fire or flame lily (Gloriosa superba, aka Gloriosa rothschildiana and Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildiana’), this striking flower is as beautiful as it is poisonous (all parts of the plant are poisonous) and can be fatal if eaten – not that you’d want to do that.

But the high cost is because this spectacular plant, native to tropical Asia and Africa, is not often seen in shops. It’s also because harvesting can be tricky. These plants are climbers and can grow up to 5m in their native soil.

Tulip ‘Semper Augustus’ (10,000 guilders per bulb)

Tulip-Semper-AugustusHarking back to Tulip Mania, ‘Semper Augustus’ was originally grown in Holland in the 17th century. It was especially valuable because of its rare, fiery vein-like patterns on its white petals. Shortly before the Tulip Mania period was over, one ‘Semper Augustus’ bulb cost 10,000 guilders (about 5700 USD). In those days for the same amount of money you were able to buy a huge house in Amsterdam or supply a whole family with food and clothing for half a century.

Saffron crocus (1200-1500 USD per 500g)

crocus-saffronThe bright red stigmas of Crocus sativus are the source of saffron, which is the world’s most expensive spice. Each flower produces only three stigmas, and each bulb produces only one flower. To make up 500g of spice, you need more than 80,000 flowers, which, as you can imagine, amounts to an incredible cost. Another way to put it: about 50-60 flowers produce 1 tablespoon of saffron. The plants also need specific soil and growing conditions to grow well.

Rothschild’s slipper orchid (5000 USD per plant)

Paph._rothschildianumPaphiopedilum rothschildianum, known as the Gold of Kinabalu orchid, was discovered in 1987, after which it came close to extinction due to the increased interest of smugglers. Thankfully, the population was restored by scientists, but the flower itself is still hard to reach. Wild species can be found only in the Kinabalu National Park in Malaysia, and from planting to getting the first flower, a number of years are needed.

Shenzhen Nongke orchid (202,000 USD per plant)

Shenzhen-Nongke-OrchidYou won’t find this orchid in the wild. It was cultivated in the lab by the Shenzhen Nongke Group – and it took the Chinese agricultural scientists eight years to develop it.

In 2005, it was sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for 1.69 million YUAN (about 202,000 USD). It is the most expensive flower purchased… ever.

The orchid blooms only once every four to five years.

‘Juliet’ rose (5 million USD)

juliet-roseOK, so the rose itself doesn’t cost that much, but it’s what it cost famous rose breeder David Austin to develop it. ‘Juliet’ was the first David Austin rose to be cultivated specifically for the cut flower industry and it took 15 years to create.

And it’s a beauty. When fully open, the blooms reveal neatly arranged petals nestled in the heart of the flower. Gorgeous!

In 2006, at the Chelsea Flower Show, UK, it attracted thousands of florists and rose lovers.

Epiphyllum flower (the price is not determined)

Kadupul-flowerEpiphyllum oxypetalum grows in Sri Lanka and blooms very rarely. When it does bloom, the petals open only at night, making this a very elusive yet beautiful flower. The flowers wither again before dawn.

In their native wild, the flowers are pollinated by bats and large moths, hence there is no need for them to be open during the day. Being white, the flowers stand out at night.

Seriously cool string gardens

String gardens

Have you ever seen anything like it? Beautifully healthy plants hanging from… yes, strings. No pot. Just what looks like moss around the root ball and a sprinkling of grass. If you trawl through the photo gallery, you’ll find Christmas lilies, nasturtiums roses, tomatoes, even live Christmas trees suspended by strings. Click here to see more amazing air gardens.

Plant a water lily garden

Waterlily and tuberose bouquet by Little Pheasant

Water lilies make great cut flowers (just look at this beautiful bouquet by Denise over at Little Pheasant). Those with long stems, as shown here (tropical water lilies), are best for picking but don’t overlook the shorter stemmed varieties (hardy water lilies) – you can float those in glass or ceramic bowls for a pretty centrepiece. [Read more…]