Browsed by
Tag: floristry

Garden for 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.
Best Cut-Flower Roses

Best Cut-Flower Roses

This selection of top ten Roses to grow as cut flowers has been chosen for their scent and the length of the vase life. If Roses are picked as the buds are breaking they will last at least a week and if they are picked fully open it will be several days.

Red Roses

‘L D Braithwaite’ is a vivid magenta with a cup shaped flower and many petals. The plant is vigourous and only needs alight prune in Autumn and again in spring.
‘Isabella’ is so intense a red colour with velvety texture that it can look black in some light. The flowers do not like rain.
‘Big Purple’ has long stems with very few thorns. A Hybrid Tea rose that needs hard pruning in winter

Orange & Golden Roses

‘Golden Celebration’ is a very popular rose with rich yellow flowers & strong scent.
‘Just Joey’ is an unusual amber colour starting Orange as a bud and opening to Deep Gold. Good as a floating flower or cut short in clusters.
‘Eveleyn ‘ is a Peachy Rose with many petals like the old fashioned varieties. One of the strongest scents.

Pink Roses

‘Princes Alexandra’ a top rose for cutting with pointed buds opening slowly to display a magenta frilled rosette.
‘Louise Odier’ is an old French rose with many pink flower heads. Mixes well with other roses.
‘Redoute’ is also a pink French rose that flowers a bit earlier than many varieties.
‘Gertrude Jekyll’ with flat pink rosettes with a good life span and great scent.

This is just my top 10 – If you know better let us know.

Varieties of Tulips for Cut Flowers

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.

Read More Read More

Growing Rain Lily Bulbs & Zephyranthes

Growing Rain Lily Bulbs & Zephyranthes

Try a new flower to go with  seasonal rain. This 2015 update on my attempts to grow Rain Lilies

I discovered a 6 inch pot in my greenhouse with a label saying Habranthus but I don’t know where I got the contents from. There were a couple of short, green, narrow leaves and little else until this week when flowers erupted from the soil on 4 inch stems with petals nearly as long.

I water my greenhouse with a hosepipe spray except when I am adding fertilizer and recently I have been misting over all the pots and plants. You can see how the spray has stuck to the Habranthus flower.


Habranthus is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family with species from Central and South America extending into southern North America. They have narrow, linear or strap-shaped leaves. Their flowers are very similar to Zephyranthes and both are called rain lilies.

This variety of Habranthus is flowering in late Summer (Sept) and offers a delicate touch to colour with minimum fuss. Habranthus bulbs should be quite hardy in the UK.

Read More Read More

Tips for Growing Hydrangeas

Tips for Growing Hydrangeas

Hydra may be a monster but Hydrangeas can be stunningly beautiful.

Hydrangea are easy to grow, voluminous shrubs with long lasting flower-heads. They can grow to be handsome 6 foot high and wide shrubs.

Growing Hydrangea Early autumn is the best time to plant new Hydrangeas. If planting in spring take more care with watering and mulch the plants to keep the soil damp. Hydrangeas grow best in semi shade in rich moist soil. Trim off old flower heads and dead stems in spring. Give them a balanced fertilizer in spring.

Choose the Right Variety Mophead or Hortensia hydrangeas are the type that have pompom like heads that open into a globe shape such as ‘Blue Bonnet’ or ‘Forever Pink’. Lacecap varieties have flat heads who’s flowers do not open at the same time.
Quercifolias often have pyramid shaped white flowers and oak shaped leaves. Annabelle is the best known and well liked variety of Hydrangea arborescens.

Read More Read More

A Top Ten of Green Flowers

A Top Ten of Green Flowers

Book Cover

‘Green Flowers: Unexpected Beauty for the Garden, Container or Vase’ by Alison Hoblyn is a book celebrating all that is best with green flowers. If you want to splash out on a second book try ‘Emeralds: 1000 Green Flowers and 500 Choice Green Foliage Plants’ by Karen Platt’. Who would have thought there were so many green flowers  to choose from.

Green flowers make a good foil for stronger colours on other plants and also generate a lot of interest in their own right. Flower arrangers love green plants and many traditional flowers like Chrysanths and Carnations have been bred for cutting but many florists flowers are died to look green so beware.

Green Anthurium

Top Ten Green Flowering Plants

  1. Hemerocallis the Day Lily variety Green Flutter gets our list off to a yellowish green start as shown on the book cover.
  2. Ribes laurifolium Mrs Amy Doncaster is a strong growing lime green flowering currant. It is evergreen and a strong performer that attracts bees. One of my all time favourites.
  3. Alchemilla mollis or Lady’s Mantle is a free flowering easy to grow (free seeding thus harder to control) small perennial with light airy grey-green flowers.
  4. Hecquetica epipactus has flowers or what look like flowers. Six green petaled “daisies” with domed yellow centres sit on the ground in tight clumps sometimes with a slight yellow colouring in part of the petal or bract.

    Read More Read More

Growing Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia)

Growing Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia)


Gardens look better for some variety in the height in the planting. I try to grow a variety of perennials including Red Hot Pokers to give some tall plants chance to shine. As part of the lily family these Kniphofia are sometimes called Torch Lily.

Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia) have flowered well this year and they throw up their well known spire of blossom in shades from deep red, orange, yellow and white even to a new greenish form (Kniphofia Green Jade).

Red Hot Poker

Growing Red Hot Pokers

  • Red Hot Pokers have long sword like narrow leaves and the flowers can last in a vase for up to two weeks.
  • The Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker or Torch Lily) needs abundant moisture during its growing period so good draining  soil rich in organic matter, is ideal.
  • Red Hot Pokers need full sun to flower upto 4 feet tall in mid summer. Prune the spikes  after blooming.
  • To propagate remove young plants from the edge of a clump  in spring or they can be grown from mixed seeds from Thompson & Morgan.
  • Provide adequate spacing to encourage clumping up as they may spread up to three feet.
  • Although Red Hot Pokers are drought tolerant they will do better if they are given plenty of water during hot weather.

Growing White Hot Pokers

  • Kniphofia known as Red Hot Pokers come in a range of colours and I like the cream or white.
  • This variety K. citrina is a stately lemon coloured spire of flower about 3 foot tall. They are good clump forming perennials with narrow strappy evergreen leaves.
  •  For other yellow flowers try Candelight, Little Maid (AGM) or Atlanta.
  • The sword like, strappy leaves, clump together well.
  • The plants look good when massed together in clumps.
  • Pokers are generally hardy herbaceous perennials -try Kniphofia Citrina a 3 foot lemon colour or giant 6 foot Royal Castle.
  • If space is limited Kniphofia hirsuta is 18 inches high and forms dense, tidy clumps. The flowers are good for cutting.
  • If the leaves are untidy in Autumn cut them down to half their height.
  • Kniphofia combine well with many shrubs, grasses and Yuccas. They like well drained soil in a sunny position.
  • White Hot Pokers can also look good in a Mediterranean gravel or paved area.

AGM varieties to grow

  • Kniphofia ‘Brimstone’ Slender spikes of golden-yellow from green buds.
  • Kniphofia caulescens Coral-red, fading pale-yellow.
  • Kniphofia galpinii Dainty spikes of very intense, rich orange
  • Kniphofia ‘Royal Standard’ Deciduous. Bright yellow, scarlet in bud
  • Kniphofia ‘Toffee Nosed’ Creamy-white tipped toffee-brown.
  • Kniphofia ‘Bee’s Sunset’ Deciduous. Soft yellowish-orange
  • Kniphofia triangularis Free flowering. Reddish-orange

Other Resources

Royal Horticultural Society RHS ‘Gardening for All’
National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens ‘Conservation through Cultivation.’
Garden Organic National Charity for Organic Gardening.
BBC Gardening

Red hot poker

Quick Tips for Roses In June

Quick Tips for Roses In June

Peace Rose

This year my roses are a good bit later to come into full bloom. The cold snap in May undoubtedly caused problems.

A white rugarosa type had all the buds ‘browned off’ by a late frost and guess what colour that left me  -  ‘browned off too’!

Tips for June

  • Deadhead repeat flowering roses to get a second flush. Flowering may stop when seed is set.
  • Cut above the first leaf node and angled away from the leaf.
  • Do not deadhead roses you grow for the hips such as Rugarosa types.
  • If you have any blackspot wash your secateurs between each plant to avoid spreading the disease.
  • Check for suckers, track them back to the roots and pull them off neatly. Cutting them may leave a bit of sucker and you will get two suckers from that one spot.
  • If you are troubled by Aphids, and who isn’t, then use your favourite treatment. I have just organically squashed quite a large crop on the buds of my climber roses.

Getting Bigger Blossoms

  • If exceptional blooms are required nip out the side buds and leave one bud per stem to develop fully. All the energy gets channeled this way.
  • Read More Read More

Easter Flowers and Altar Decoration

Easter Flowers and Altar Decoration

Hols spain 572

On the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21st churches are filled with Easter flowers.

A fine display of altar flowers was arranged at this church. The white lilies of Easter in various species were popular this year, the traditional Lily longiflorum, these Asiatic hybrids and where available the Arum and Cala lilies fulfilled the Easter tradition of white lilies.
‘Often called the “white-robed apostles of hope,” lilies are said to have been found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white blooms sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. At Easter time, Churches bank their altars and surround their crosses with masses of Easter Lilies, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hope of life everlasting.The pure white lily has long been associated with the Virgin Mary….. read more on Phillip’s florals.

In this arrangement there are white Gladiolus and yellow Lilies where we might of expected other yellows like Polyanthus, Chrysanthemum ‘Tuneful’ Pussy Willow catkins or even Orchids Oncidium varicosum for a bit of exotic. All the flowers have some longevity when cut for a vase and do particularly well in the cool shade of most churches.

Read More Read More

Growing Dried Flowers

Growing Dried Flowers

I guess when they are growing they are not dried flowers so the real title should be growing flowers for drying. As the display above shows you can get colour and texture into a bunch of dried flowers. The display is likely to last longer than a bouquet of fresh flowers and will be available when other material is expensive or in short supply.

There are 5 stages of development when a plant can produces flowers for drying.

  1. In bud as colour appears, examples being Helichrysum (Straw flowers) and Ammobium ( Everlasting flowers).
  2. As the buds open, with Echinops (Globe thistle), Eringium (Sea Holly), Lavender and Ornamental Grasses.
  3. In full bloom, with Achillea (Yarrow), Alchemilla mollis, Gypsophillia and Alliums (ornamental onions)
  4. After seeds have formed, like the Honesty in the bunch above and Antirrhinum, Poppy and Digitalis (Foxglove)
  5. Just before the seed pods open, but after spraying with hair lacquer to prevent seeds scattering, Nigella and Scripus ( Bulrush)

The best way to dry flowers is to pick them  in mid morning when the dew has evaporated.

  • Group them into small bunches and hang them upside down to dry.
  • To preserve the colours, hang them in a dry well ventilated space with little or low levels of light.
  • Large heads like Alliums and Artichokes need to be dried standing up. Make a chicken wire frame to separate and hold each bloom.
  • Read More Read More