Archive | Flower Arranging & Floristry

Gardeners information on cut flowers and green material for display. A view of gardening to help the flower arrangers and florists.

Royal Bridal Flowers

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White was the order of the day for Kate Middleton’s bridal bouquet.

Previous Royal Weddings

  • The Queen chose white Orchids in 1947.
  • Diana The Princess of Wales had Gardenias and Stephanotis the waxy strongly scented white flowers.
  • Princess Anne stepped most out of line with cream Roses, White Heather for luck and Scotland, plus the strongly scented Lily of the Valley.
  • The Countess of Wessex had Arum lilies, Fressias for scent and again Roses.
  • Sarah Ferguson carried a bouquet with perfumed Gardenias, cream Lilies, pale yellow Roses, Lilies of the valley and a sprig of myrtle.
  • Camilla Duchess of Cornwall was slightly different in adding grey and cream Auriculas to a traditional bouquet.

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Turn your arrangements into botanical works of art – here are some examples and clubs you could join.

For a recommendation that is a bit different but scented and locally grow Kate could try Phlox. Something for her future father-in -law to talk too during the lengthy ceremony.


Pittosporum for Leaves & Flowers

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Pittosporum is a large genus of evergreen shrubs or small trees. The foliage is in demand for floristry and the shrubs make an excellent evergreen plant if the conditions are mild.
Most varieties have small scented white flowers and produce better flowers in warm conditions.

Pittosporum are also called Japenese Cheesewood

Cultivation of Pittosporum

  • Pittosporum Dallii and Pittosporum patula and Pittosporum tenufolium are more hardy species in the UK.
  • Pittosporum will grow well in seaside locations if the climate is mild.
  • Most plants originate from Australasia and like hot dry conditions.
  • Some varieties of Pittosporum produce small red berries.
  • Pittosporums can also be grown indoors as bonsai.
  • Larger plants can be used as a climbing-frame for lightweight late-flowering clematis.
  • Pittosporum tenufolium can have leaves with wavy margins and most have interesting colour, from bronzed plum to the bright butter-yellow of `Golden King’.
  • Tenuifolium ‘Purpureum’, has purple-bronze foliage and rapidly makes a decent-sized small tree

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Selected Varieties
Continue Reading →


Get Flowers For Mother’s and Wives

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Alstromeria are one of the longest lived cut flowers I know. Several weeks of flowering are possible if the bunch is bought with colour just showing. Ensure there is plenty of bud and you will be delighted.


Mixed bunches can look exceptional but it is harder to cater for each type of flower in the bunch. Within a couple of days the tulips in this bunch had grown taller than the flowers they were arranged with. Tulips do tend to elongate as they mature.
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Daffodils are a seasonal must and this year is no different. Whilst these flowers were picked from the garden on mother’s day the photographs show who should have been thinking of mother.
Remember to keep daffodils in a separate vase as the sap can poison other flowers and encourage them to deteriorate rapidly.

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Carnations give Alstromeria a run for their money when it comes to longevity. The small flowered perpetuals are going to last at least 15 days and potentially far longer. The water will be changed and the bunch rearranged with a bit snipped off the end of the stalks every 5-7 days.

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Do a Selfie and Treat Yourself

Treat yourself now and regularly, you do not need a special occasion for a floral uplift. Spring is a time to be cheerful and there are many houseplants that can provide good value.
Primroses and primulas can last a couple of weeks in the house as long as you give them light and water.They also come in a bigger variety of shades, stripes and colours or you can pot up a plant from the garden.
Shops and garden centers are selling pot grown bulbs that are just about to flower. They are often crammed into a small pot but you can arrange them into your own display for visual effect.


This striped version caught my eye and had me digging in my purse for my own plant. After sometime in the house I will plant it out in a damp semi-shaded area and hope for the best next year.
primroses often have a growth spurt in autumn after dying back a bit after flowering.


What Makes a Good Cut Flower


A Gardener’s Perspective of ‘What makes a good cut flower’

  1. A flower that need little specialist care or treatment and is easy to harvest.
  2. Reblooming often and for a long season so it looks good even when left uncut.
  3. Grows quickly and true from seed.
  4. Can be forced, so it flowers when required.
  5. Satisfies the recipient for the least consumption of resources in time and space.

A Customer View Point of ‘What makes a good cut flower’

  1. Fragrance that is evocative, strong and distinctive.
  2. Colour or colour combinations that are appropriate. Rich and saturated or soft, contrasting or blendable
  3. Texture and proportion that can provide contrast of shape and form.Suitable length and flower aesthetics to match a display vessel.
  4. How long will it last in a vase or foam and will it need any special treatment or conditioning.
  5. Personal appeal or favourite reflecting a special association, event or season

To grow a generic mix of flowers for arrangements and bouquets check out Thompson & Morgan
A Retailers View of ‘What makes a good cut flower’

  1. Availability for a long period from a variety of suppliers.
  2. Lots of colour and sales Pizzaz
  3. Long life in Florists pre-sale and then in the home
  4. Profitable and able to generate repeat custom

According to Linda Beutler in ‘Garden to Vase’ the answer is not just ‘Mums’ ‘Glads’ and ‘Carns’

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Gardeners Tips to Condition and Extend Life by Plant

Fatsia Japonica
Corkscrew hazel


‘How To Do The Flowers’

Formal or informal, neat or exotic, there are so many ways to do justice to the flowers. Here are just a few tips to get you thinking.

Vase of Roses

When you have spent time and effort growing some super blooms you may want to display them indoors. You may specialise in growing plants that will last well indoors like Chrysanthemums and Alstroemeria. You may be growing flowers for sale to florists or for special events, locations even church decorations.

Constancy Spry was a great one for’ doing the flowers’. She believed you needed to be aware of the mechanics of arrangement an the care and preparation of the material. Material includes more than just the flowers but holding them in place plus other plant items, display vessels and additional items. Secondly Constance also confronted the aesthetics of colour, shape , form texture and style. Work to your own pattern of ideas to develop taste and experience.

Gardeners Top Ten Tips For Cut Flowers

  • Plunge into water as soon as they are picked to condition the flowers.
  • Cut off an inch from the bottom of the stems when you are arranging them. When you change the water cut some more off the bottom. Do not cut poppies, hydrangeas or daffodils as they secrete a sap.
  • Put a small sterilizing tablet in the water. Milton or steradent will help flowers last longer and keep the water bacteria free.
  • Heat makes flowers bloom quicker and wilt so keep them cool to make them last.
  • Use individual bud vases if flowers are in scarce supply. Other small vases, shot glasses, jugs or old bottles will do just fine.
  • Strip leaves from the stems. Leaves rot quickly when submerged.
  • Spraying the underside of the leaves and petals with a minimal amount of hairspray could help keep cut flowers fresh.
  • Do not store fruit and flowers together. Fruit produces ethylene gas than speeds up decay.
  • Top up with luke warm water regularly.
  • Use plain, lukewarm water for most cut flowers, but use cold water for bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips. Continue Reading →

Prolonging the Life of Cut Flowers

Preparing Cut Flowers and Foliage

  • When harvesting take a container of water around the garden and plunge freshly cut flowers into it immediately.
  • Recut all stems at an angle with a sharp knife as you arrange them. This increases the area of stem that can take up water and also prevents a stem from sealing itself to the bottom of a vase and thus stopping water being taken up.
  • Allow flowers to draw in water in a cool dark place for several hours prior to arranging.
  • Remove any damaged or excess foliage and any that will be below the water line when arranged.
  • Lilac and Sunflowers benefit from having all the foliage removed.

Ten Tips for Prolonging Vase Life

  • Harvest early in the morning or just after sundown never in the heat of the day.
  • If using Oasis scrape of 1-3 inches of outer bark from woody stems.
  • Woody stems can be split vertically for 2-3 inches to help them drink. Do not hammer.
  • Change the water when it starts to cloud, recutting the stems.
  • Use a preservative in the water except for species where this causes problems like Campanulas, Bulb flowers, Orchids and naturally long lived tropical flowers.
  • Keep cool and out of direct sunlight.
  • Once in place avoid disturbing flowers which is apt to cause bruising.
  • Avoid draughts and dry air.
  • Certain flowers and blossoms carry a large amount of foliage in proportion to flower. Remove some foliage particulalry for Lilacs and Philadelphus.
  • Avoid a vase or vessel that warms the water.

Avoid Ethylene Continue Reading →


Growing and Floristry of – Peruvian Lily

Alstroemeria is a beautiful flower also known as Peruvian Lily or Parrot Lily.

Cultivation of Peruvian Lilies

  • Alstromerias are tuberous perennial plants for the border and grow deeply in light soil.
  • If the conditions are dry when in flower give them a good watering to boost flower production.
  • Plant roots in the dormant season after November. They don’t like to be moved as the roots break easily, if you do transplant dig deeply as the roots are drawn down.
  • Propagate from finger length roots or with some skill grow from seed. Pull up old stalks to encourage growth from the roots.
  • Plants will grow in large deep pots and provide flowers for long periods.


These stunning plants add an exotic touch to any flower arrangement with their elaborate blend of vividly coloured and intricately marked flowers. I like the red yellow and white varieties which are easy to grow once they get started forming a good clump in the border.

  • When picking for the vase pull the stalk up then cut to length as needed and they will last up to three weeks.
  • Remove all leaves as they yellow before the flowers die
  • Do not disbud
  • Many of the shop bought flowers are from Kenya and Chile but they are east to grow yourself

Varieties to Consider

·Alstroemeria pulchella the parrot lily and Alstroemeria aurantiacastrong orange shades and Alstroemeria aurea

·Alstroemeria Ligtu hybrids are shorter and may be used in containers. Also called the lily of the Nile

·Inca Hybrids are also on offer in some areas

·A. psittacina ‘Casablanca’ claims to being white, but the markings create a special effect.

Continue Reading →


Sunflowers for Cutting

Sunflowers look great in a vase but are heavy drinkers and need conditioning in a dark place overnight after cutting.

Valentine Sunflower

I have tended to drift away from growing Sunflowers but now I think my reasons may not be correct.
I tended to grow tall varieties which produce one or few flowers. They were showy but needed support from the wind in our northern hills.
The knew the space was better dedicated to other plants and the only sunflowers that grew this year were self sown from our bird feeders (and the flowers were small weedy efforts that I should have pulled up).
Continue Reading →


Buy British Flowers

We are used to counting food miles so why not flower miles,  the miles a bunch of flowers incurs in getting to your vase. Many supermarket and petrol station now source flowers from long distances such as South Africa, Venezuela, or Kenya as well as Spain and Holland. If you must buy rather than grow your flowers look for British. Lincoln Cornwall and the Channel islands are normal UK suppliers but there is a trend for even more local supply.

Best Flower Sources in Great Britain

  • Your own garden should have a plentyful supply of flowers measured in flower yards not miles. Where would we be without Sweetpeas?
  • Your neighbors may be willing to give the odd bunch of flowers away and you can reciprocate with your excess Sweetpeas.
  • Allotments dug and fertilised by your own sweat are not just for Vegetable. Try some Chrysanthemums and Dahlias as part of a flower cutting area.
  • Wayside farm gates and smallholdings often have a bucket of locally grown flowers for sale at reasonable prices. Why pay for lots of transport and supermarket margins when you can support a British enterprise.

Is this about British national flowers or a shop owned by George Bernard Flowers or even the wholesale florist in Hull? The picture is the later the former is the main thrust of this section of the article.

National Flowers.

  • The rose was adopted as England’s emblem around the time of the War of the Roses 1455-1485 when Yorkshire sported the white rose and Lancastrians the red rose.The two roses were combined to make the Tudor rose (a red rose with a white centre) by Henry VII when he married Elizabeth of York.
  • In Northern Ireland the shamrock a three-leaved plant similar to a clover is the symbol. It is said that St. Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
  • The thistle is a prickly-leaved purple flower which was first used in the fifteenth century as a symbol of defence and the ‘Flower of Scotland’.
  • The national flower of Wales is usually considered to be the daffodil and is worn on St David’s day. However, the leek has even older associations as a traditional symbol of Wales
  • Holland and Hungary have both chosen the Tulip whilst France prefer the Iris. Germany have the knapweed and Greenland the willow herb but I guess nothing much flowers in Greenland anyway. Indonesia has cornered the flower market by selecting three national flowers Phalaenopsis, Rafflesia and Jasmine.

The rose, thistle and shamrock are often displayed beneath the shield of the Royal Coat of Arms.  There is a more comprehensive listing on The Flower Expert


Single Colour Hanging Baskets

Good hanging baskets with a bold statement can be achieved by using one type of plant in one colour.
Think about the volume of colour from your chosen flowers over the life of the hanging basket. Keep it simple and you will only need one watering and feeding regime.
The hanging baskets below generally fit into the single colour category with the odd liberty.


I like the powder blue Lobelia. It is far more stunning than the more traditional purple in this large hanging basket.


Petunias in purple, or would you call it mauve, are great for hanging baskets as they produce lots of flowers and self-deadhead.

Hanging Basket 2009

I have not grown Bacopa but like the clean white colour scheme on this hanging basket.

Hanging Basket

Orange is an ususual clour for a hanging basket but there are now some brilliant begonias like these.
Begonia x tuberhybrida ‘Illumination Apricot Shades’ F1 Hybrid is fantastic but would produce a mix of yellow & orange.

Beautiful hanging baskets

Now we get to a cheat with a trailing Lysimachia to under pin the base of the hanging basket which contains red begonias.
Begonia from Thompson & Morgan


Is it fair to call this a single colour. Certainly this veined petunia in pink to purple makes a bold splash of colour.
Petunia Million Bells or Calibrachoa are very floriferous plants to try in hanging baskets.
Petunia seeds at Thompson & Morgan

Hanging hydrangea hallway - Longwood Gardens, 2 May 2011

This would be my hanging basket display of choice. Hydrangeas drink large volumes of water and would not normally feature in baskets but this USA garden at Longwood makes do.

Colour Photo Credits
Hanging Basket 2009 by amandabhslater CC BY-SA 2.0
Hanging Basket by sirwiseowl CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Beautiful hanging baskets by wallygrom, CC BY-SA 2.0
petunias by NapaneeGal CC BY-NC 2.0
Hanging hydrangea hallway – Longwood Gardens, 2 May 2011 by mmwm CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Cheerful pelargoniums by tsheko CC BY-NC 2.0

Cheerful pelargoniums
Cheerful pelargoniums


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