Tag Archives | Cut flowers

Garden for Cut Flowers

Book Cover

On the new craze of gardening for cut flowers, where America starts will we follow or is it really voice versa?

Olden Times

  • The Romans brought many plants to the UK in the first century including  various herbs and  the grape.
  • Dating from the early 15th century a book called The Feate of Gardening mentions more than 100 plants.
  • Gardens as a form of creative display properly began in the sixteenth century, often described as Tudor gardens.
  • Oh…. did Christopher Columbus stumble on the new world around then?

Flower Farms

  • Skip to the 21st century and ‘flower farms are all the rage’ as though selective cultivation is something new.
  • Stunning flower gardens of rewarding species can be grown for seasonal bloom
  • A corner of your garden or an allotment plot for sweet peas, chrysanthemums, dahlias and  cosmos can produce bunches and bunches.
  • With more space flower production for gate sales or local retail supply can supplement plant and seedling sales.
  • Do not forget to grow ‘greenery’ to sell with bunches of flowers.

Book Cover

Possible Markets for Your Flowers

  • Bridal displays and bouquets for special occasions are worth a premium price.
  • Selling as a producer to a retailer means the retailers  margin and wastage needs to be accounted for in your pricing.
  • Market stall, farmers markets and local event selling is seasonal but may generate  some cash.
  • Supply agreements will commit you to regularity and consistency so have a good plan to be able to deliver.
  • Crafters, flower arranging clubs friends and neighbors are also possible targets.

Flowers Grown for Your Vase

My perennial Phlox have been a good stalwart flower for cutting and filling a vase this last few weeks. I found the pink colours had more scent but all the Phlox seemed to drink copious amounts of water (I wondered if water and scent were related). The Penstemon in the same vase as the Phlox was not as successful as they had a far shorter life. Another successful long lasting cut flower is the Alstromeria. The Reds performed better than the yellows but both lasted over a week.

Our local garden center has been selling off Gerbera plants at £1 and I bought some just for the flowers that I could cut and put in a small vase. Even one flower in a bud vase looks good. There are now more buds to open and I think I got a good deal even though I will not bother to over winter the supposedly perennial plants. Gerberas come in a wide range of colors from light to dark yellow, orange, pink, brilliant scarlet and deep red ray flower centres.

The variety and colour of the Peruvian Lily or Alstroemeria, makes a colourful and long lasting display. Once established the plants continue to provide a good supply year after year. Pull the stalk up from the plant to encourage more flower stems. I grow my Alstroemeria in large pots.


Dahlias tend to flop a bit for me but Chrysanthemums can’t be beaten for longevity and impact.

Tip – Grow flowers that are easy to cultivate and flower in profusion but also last well when cut. Spray Chrysanthemums can give maximum pleasure for minimal outlay.


Growing Hellebore in 2016


Hellebores are doing very well this year. The combination of the last cold winter, warm spring and now wet winter again has brought out the flowers in profusion. The Niger or Christmas rose is one of the earliest white flowers but many hybrids are now available.

Tips on Growing Hellebore

  • Buy plants in flower so you know what colour you are getting. Hellebore is very promiscuous and plants grown from seed may be crossed with other less suitable plants.
  • Try grow plants in a raised area so you can look up at the flowers which tend to have droopy flowerheads. Continue Reading →

Varieties of Tulips for Cut Flowers

Floral bunch

Certain Tulips last longer in a vase than others. Viridiflora, Fringed and Parrot tulips are especially long lasting often exceeding 10 days. Pick Tulips that are just turning from green for longest life.

Selection of Cut Flower Varieties

Estella Rijnveld with candy striped red and white flowers
Groenland a green stripped viridiflora with pink petals.
Union Jack with a large white cup touched with red.
Shirley appears cream but turns to white and matures with a hint of purple.
Queen of the Night is a late flowering dark flower almost like the infamous black tulip.
Arabian Mystery is a burgandy colour with white edged petals
There is a longer list on wholesalers web sites. Continue Reading →


Growing Pinks for Cottage Gardens

Pinks are ‘divine flowers’ that can be planted in late April / May or October and produce a continuous supply of flowers suitable for cutting or exhibiting. They are perennials that are at their best for 2-3 summers. Scent, colour and uniformity are just 3 reasons for growing Pinks or other varieties of Dianthus.

Cultivation of Pinks
Pinks are completely trouble free if planted in a sunny position, in free draining soil. (asking for trouble there)
Occasionally water like any other garden plant and dead head after flowering.
Pinks bloom from early spring until the first frosts.
Hardy Pinks don’t mind the cold, so no need to lift them over the cold winter months.
Pinks will be a talking point in winter due to their silver/grey leaves .
Each spring tidy up around the plants and work in a fertilizer like Growmore, dried blood or Superphosphate
Continue Reading →


My Double Daffodils

Twice as much pleasure? Well for Mothering Sunday double Daffs will go down a treat.
Double daffodils

Double the pleasure from Daffodils with extra petals or crinkly trumpets.
I am always on the look out for plants I want to grow next year. I am aiming for shock and awe varieties of common plants and specimen plant of an unusual nature. If I don’t make a note of them in my garden note book I will forget.

Rip Van Winkle Daffodil
My choice of Double Daffodils
Delnashaugh or Repleat have an apricot-pink centre and the slightly smaller Mary Copeland is also unusual.
Dick Wilden is a sulphur coloured sport of Carlton and Golden Ducat or Von Sion are other all yellow doubles.
I grew Winston Churchill this year for cutting. A bit later flowering so I am now enjoying the scent.
Obdam is the only pure white I have found but I can tolerate White Marvel, Acropolis and Bridal Crown in my white bed.
After the point above I then discover that Thompson Morgan sell 2 other white doubles, Erlicheer and Daffodil poeticus Plenus.
Rip van Winkle has an unusual petal shape that appears to be a double.

Daffodil selection

Just a final word for Cheerfulness a really go doer from the Tazetta Division 8 not quite a double but with puffy centre petals that look the part.

As with many flowers please have a close look and take your time to appreciate the fantastic choice we gardeners have available.
Daffodil selection


Growing Alstroemeria – Quick Tips


Alstroemeria or Peruvian Lilies make great flowers for picking and are long lasting in a vase. When established they are easy to grow.

Get your plants from Thompson & Morgan who supply plants and seeds. The seeds need patience and some skill.

Culture of Alstroemeria

  • Plenty of organic matter and regular watering  helps Alstroemeria thrive.
  • Alstromeria like a sheltered site in sun or partial shade. They can form good solid clumps and some varieties self seed.
  • Taller 3 feet plus Alstroemeria need staking or they may be knocked down by rain or wind. Ligtu hybrids should be self supporting.
  • Apollo varieties cope well with frost and flower in three or four separate flushes.
  • Deadhead regularly by pulling out the flowering stem.
  • Alstromeria Continue Reading →


Bishop’s Dahlias and Bishop’s Children with Dark Foliage

Should Bishops have children? Should gardeners nurture these children? I would say so!


Question What has dark red leaves and flowers like a trouper until the first frost?

Answer One of the Bishop’s family of Dahlias.

Bishop’s Offspring

  • Bishop of Llandaff is one of the earlier varieties flowering as a semi-double in pillarbox red.
  • Bishop of Cardiff flowers as a single with yellow petals with a red center.
  • Bishop of Auckland flowers red with many yellow stamen in the center. Bishop of Canterbury is similar but the flowers err towards magenta. Bishop of Lancaster seems very similar to me.
  • Bishop of Oxford is a strong plant flowering orange.
  • Bishop of York is a bit smaller but has nice single buttercup yellow flowers.
  • Bishop of Leicester has pale mauve flowers. The contrast with the leaf colour highlights the pale flowers.
  • Bishop of Dover is virtually white in flower.
  • Bishop of Cambridge is just another Dahlia trying to jump on the ecclesiastical band wagon.

Continue Reading →


Seed Suppliers and Specialties

Membership of a garden society can be a good source of good value seeds.
Not all seed companies are the same and many have distinctive specialties.
The big well known brands generally have a full range of annuals, perennials and odd selections. Most now offer higher value items including plugs and kinder or pot plants.

Many brands are now owned by the same company and the niche suppliers often offer more seed or better products in a narrower focused  range.

Choice Seed Companies

  • Thompson & Morgan wildflowers and  thousands of varieties of seeds with useful germination  guide available online.
  • Boston Seeds – Online seed shop offers grass seed mixtures for lawns, paddocks, sport, plus agricultural seed and wildflower seed. Volume orders
  • The Chilli Company – Sells a variety of hot chilli seeds including ‘Brain strain’ and collections to take advantage of a current trend for growing Hot Chillies
  • Chiltern seed  new web site but the old catalogue has flowery descriptions and an excellent range – no photos but great mail order catalogues
  • D. T. Brown and Co. Ltd. – Offers a range of flower and vegetable seeds, including organics. Order catalogue online.
  • Continue Reading →


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