I love visiting gardens. How about you? For me it’s total bliss. You haven’t had to do any of the hard work and you get to linger as long as you like soaking up the floral inspiration for your own cut flowers.
Visiting gardens is a great way of getting a handle on what’s in season at particular times of the year and for giving you ideas for what to grow in your own garden – or order direct from your High Street florist.
Cut flowers from your garden
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to teach in the lovely grounds at Belmont House and Gardens, and Doddington Place Gardens and pick their flowers to use in class. Last weekend was Faversham Open Gardens. 30+ gardens - within walking distance of the town centre - were open to the public. While not all of them were up to the NGS standard of the gardens at Belmont and Doddington, they were great gardens to visit for cut flower inspiration. At this point I should stress I didn’t pick any flowers … as tempting as it was!
4 flowers to think about for your cut flower patch
A beautiful mop head of pink flowers. Also available in blue and white. If you love hydrangeas and are local to Kent I’d highly recommend you visit Beech Court Gardens in Challock.
Provided you don’t cut your flowers until they’re mature hydrangeas make a great addition to a vase. Pile them in en masse on their own, or mixed with other flowers and greenery.
Hydrangeas can be tricky though. If picked too early in the season they’ll wilt really quickly. I’d suggest you don’t think about bringing them indoors until late summer. If you wait until the seedhead starts to develop – the hard piece in the centre of each flower – you’ll be able to enjoy a seamless transition from fresh to dried flower.
Also known as Lady’s Mantle, Alchemilla mollis self-seeds and will soon be racing through your beds (and into your lawn). Its velvety soft leaves will add textural interest for your eyes to feast over. In your garden the tiny hairs on the surface of its leaves will hold raindrops in tight balls.
As with hydrangeas I’d suggest using it en masse, alone in a vase – or add it to a mix of other country cottage style flowers. It’s a fabulous flower for adding daintiness to your vase, breaking up the solidity of your larger flowers.
From the vivid yellow flowers of the hypericum (Rose of Sharon) come the berries. Shiny and green to start with, they mature to a deep red/brown. If you’re buying hypericum from your florist the berries will come in a variety of colours from white, to soft pink and peach through to green, bright red and crimson.
The garden variety has a peculiar smell. When using hypercium in your arrangements at home I’d suggest stripping of the insignificant foliage to show off the berries.
Also known as sea holly. This flower has a spikiness to it, but it’s not as prickly as a thistle. The Eryngium is another great flower with textural interest. If you’re buying it as a cut flower from your florist it comes in a variety of sizes and a range of colours from white/green to mid blue and blue/purple.
It’s another great flower for drying – allowing your to bring your garden indoors over the autumn/winter months. If it starts to look too dull you can always spritz it up with a bit of spray paint to rejuvenate its colour.
I'd love to hear your recommendations for gardens to visit - and what flowers your visits have inspired you to grow in your own garden.
Until next time, happy flowers!
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