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.
Isn’t this bouquet stunning? I love the multi-coloured flowers and the multi-coloured ribbons. I also love the two feathers protruding at the top. They just add another dimension to the bouquet.
Here, we have orange ranunculus, purple lisianthus (darn hard to grow), red leucospermum and gloriosa lily.
And then there’s good old eucalyptus. At the moment, eucalyptus is one of my favourite foliage fillers, though if you want to grow your own trees, you need a bit of space.
Here’s something different to try: the globeflower, or trollius. This perennial plant likes moist conditions and part-shade, and shows its vibrant-coloured blooms in late spring and early summer. It’s a great cut flower – just look at these! – and it’s one of the few cut flowers that will grow in shade (they’ll grow in sun too). Pick the flowers when they are just starting to open.
Make sure you position your plants in soil that won’t dry out over summer. Add plenty of compost before planting to maintain moisture levels. Having said that, you don’t want them to be sitting in water over winter, or you might kill them, so choose your spot carefully.
If you haven’t already, you should get your sweet peas in now. You don’t have to mollycoddle them – you can sow the seeds directly in the ground. Or sow them in peat pots and plant the whole pot in the soil when the seedlings are 5-8cm (2-3 inches) tall. They are hardy annuals and tolerant of low temperatures. In fact, high light levels in winter combined with cool temperatures are perfect for sweet pea growing. Plant in a spot that gets good sun; low light levels will result in smaller and fewer flowers.
The plants are vines, so they will climb trellises, fences, or even string, and produce more shoots with flowers as they do. When the plants get around 15cm (6 inches) high, tie the shoots to their growing frame.
Watch out for snails and slugs – you may need to use a bait.
When it comes to harvesting, pick your sweat peas when 2-3 flowers start to show some colour.
Sea holly (Eryngium planum) is a head turner, with its steely blue pincushion-like flower heads perched atop 80-120cm high stems. The blooms appear from around midsummer to late autumn and are long-lasting as a cut flower (fresh or dried), with fresh blooms lasting 10-12 days in the vase.
Eyrngiums are clump-forming perennials that thrive in full sun. They won’t tolerate any hint of waterlogging, so make sure your soil is free-draining. They’ll grow in most types of soil, including dry, sandy and poor soils, though plants may sprawl if the soil is overly fertile.
Look for plants at your local garden centre.
I was too late planting my sunflowers this year, but next year I plan to be on time. I’ve written it in my diary. And I really want to plant something like this. Unfortunately, these images were taken overseas. We used to be able to get colours like this here, but I’m not sure they’re readily available any more.
The echinaceas in the bottom image look stunning too – though I don’t know what this variety is either.
I have purple flower envy right now.
Image via The Swish List.
Ordinarily I’m no fan of statice (Limonium), but in certain circumstances this papery flower can look quite classy. Here, in both these bouquets, they stand out, in the top bouquet with its blooms grouped in vibrant hues, and in the second bouquet because the buds stand in a loose and airy fashion above the rest of the flowers. In the bottom image, again, the closed flowers provide a beautiful, airy table display.
There are two types of statice. The top two images feature the annual statice (Limonium sinuatum) and the bottom two images showcase the perennial statice (Limonium latifolium). The latter, also called sea lavender, grows well in sandy, salty and windy conditions, producing a cloud of small lavender blooms on stems up to 90cm high. The annual statice is the one we see most often in garden centres (and all seed companies sell this one), and it’s a cinch to grow. Flowers can be displayed fresh or dry.
Seeds for the perennial statice are available from Kings Seeds.
I feel a little bad though. I copied this image a while back and now I can’t remember where I took it from. Eek. Sorry if it’s yours. If it’s any consolation, I think it’s beautiful!
If you find astilbes in your garden centre, plant some now. They are superb cut flowers with fluffy plumes in pink (as seen here), white, red or mauve. They’ll grow in sun or shade, with plumes appearing in spring and summer. They do best in cool summers, which is why you see more of them down south. In all cases, though, they like plenty of moisture.
In this bouquet you can also see red peonies, red roses, white dahlias and the red berries of hypericum.