Spring gorgeousness


I’m absolutely loving this bouquet by Cathy Martin Flowers. It’s topped with hellebores, jasmine, sweet peas and tuberose. Divine.

Image via The Swish List.

Plant Now: Hellebores

Hellebores are a real treat in the winter garden, especially since more and more of the new varieties are arriving with beautiful pink or deep purple coats – my favourites. I love them all, though. They look dainty, but they’re hardy, and they’re easy to grow and care for.

Hellebores don’t like direct sunlight, so select a planting location that receives filtered sunlight most of the day. Under the canopy of a deciduous tree or shrub is an ideal location. Don’t give them too much shade though. While they are certainly shade lovers, most do better with some sun (not full sun).

Hellebores need well draining soil that is rich in organic matter, much like that found on a forest floor.

Sadly, hellebores don’t last very long in the vase because once cut, the stems don’t take up water. Not naturally, in any case. You can force them to do so though (do this within an hour of picking). Heat a saucepan of water with floral preservative dissolved in it to 70 degrees C (use a candy thermometer). Recut the stems and immediately dip the ends into the water. Hold them on a slant so that the flower heads are held out of the way of the steam. Keep them in the water for 20 seconds. Remove the stems and place them in a bucket of cold water. This shocks them into taking up the hot water with the preservative. You will get an extra 3-5 days vase life from your hellebores, but you can only do this once.

The image at the top comes from Love ‘n Fresh Flowers and includes bearded irises, ranunculi, tulips and hellebore seed heads. A beautiful bouquet for a spring wedding.

Plant Now: Hellebores

Hellebores are in flower now so it’s a great time to pick out a variety you like. These are hardy perennials, able to subsist through cool, frost-laden winters and harsh environments. The flowers appear between July and October in the southern hemisphere, and if you choose your plants carefully, you can have a whole carnival of colours. I like the deep purples, though the white ones are just as gorgeous. Just look at the close-up image, above.

Some hellebores have plain green leaves, some have blue-tinged ones, some have speckled or blotchy leaves. These make for a handsome planting in the garden too. The deeply divided leaves of Helleborus foetidus look spectacular mass-planted.

Plant your hellebores in partial shade in deep, fertile soil that has had plenty of organic matter dug in. Soil must be free-draining. Do not overwater them. Overly dry hellebores are likely to survive, overwatered ones will not.

Plants are available from garden centres.

Top photo (bouquet) is from Once Wed.

Plant Now: Hellebores

Hellebores, lavender, rosemary, ranunculus
Hellebores, white daffodil and ranunculus
Hellebores don’t last too long once picked, but gosh they do look spectacular in bouquets. Here are two beautiful examples of this winter bloom at its best. The top photo, from Wedding Chicks, shows hellebores teamed with rosemary, lavender and green ranunculi, and the bottom photo, from Butterfly Philosophy, sees them partnered with white daffodils and ranunculi. Both are so, so lovely. Head to your local garden centre and you’ll find plenty of these plants in store now, ready for planting. They like a party shaded position in free-draining soil. The latter is very important if you want to keep these plants alive.

Plant for a spring fling

Spring flowers
Spring flowersspring flowersSpring flowers
I haven’t visited one of my favourite blogs, Saipua, for a while, but every time I go there it’s love at first site. How could you not love Sarah’s beautifully designed floral arrangements? Showing here is a profusion of spring blooms, and if you time your planting right, you can be cutting these lovely flowers from your garden in spring too. That means planting now. Last chance this month to plant anemones (the main ingredient here) and tulips, although you can, of course, buy these plants when in flower in spring (as early as winter for anemones).

Visit Saipua to see more lovely flowers and arrangements.

Dogwood and trilliums a lovely spring treat

Flowering dogwood (cornus) and trilliums aren’t your typical cut flowers but they do look great in the vase if you can get them to last. Trilliums in particular have short stems that easily wilt after picking. McKenzie Powell managed to keep them looking fab in this lovely bouquet (middle photo), with its handful of spring blooms, including burgundy-blushed hellebores and thryptomene.

Trilliums are woodland plants that sport an anatomy of threes: three leaves, three sepals and three petals. They even come in three colours (or various shades of them): white, purple or deep red.

Dogwood (top photo, from Dreamy Whites) have white, pink, soft red or yellow blooms, and with autumn comes a brilliant show of reddish-purple foliage. They’re deciduous plants and, like trilliums, are frost hardy.

Grape hyacinths and blue periwinkle (vinca) are also spring-flowering (bottom photo, from McKenzie), and don’t they look divine in the vase too, particularly against the lovely deep green foliage. Both these plants grow in sun or part shade, and both are low-growing and spreading.

Plant Now: Hellebores

hellebores amy merrick
hellebores amy2
My hellebores are in full bloom, and you’ll find them at garden centres now too. Now’s a very good time to buy them if you didn’t do so earlier in the year, because you can see just what you’re getting. The flowers are the shy and retiring type, usually bowing their pretty heads, but they’re gorgeous – some deep burgundy, some white or pink, some green or with freckles. All are lovely, and they have very attractive foliage too. These two beautiful floral designs were crafted by the ever-talented Amy Merrick. The top design shows freckled hellebores with white flowering dogwood (cornus). The second bouquet has divinely dark-coloured hellebores accompanied by ranunculi.