For me, flowers are my number one home accessory and I definitely have my ‘go-to’ flowers and foliage. Therefore, when it came to selecting what cut flowers to grow in my new beds I went with what I truly loved – the flowers I would want to cut and bring into my home.
While I would always encourage people to do the same and grow what they love, there are some other factors to consider when selecting your own plants for a cut flower garden. Remember, you will be the one nurturing these from seed or small plants to full bloom so make sure you think ahead to ensure you get the blooms you want. Here are some of my top tips that hopefully will make that selection a little easier.
Personal Style – Think about your personal style and what colour flowers you normally purchase. If you don’t buy colourful blooms then there’s little point in growing them as it’s unlikely you will pick them to bring them in. My home is very neutral so for me, white blooms against green foliage are my ideal combination. However, I do love injecting colour into my home using bright pink and red blooms so the flowers I’m growing this year include whites, pinks, purples and some deep reds.
What makes a good cut flower – It’s worth thinking about what makes a good cut flower, or at least being aware of this so you are not disappointed when one of your blooms is not looking as healthy after two days in the vase. Some flowers like sweet peas will only last 3-4 days, despite being a gorgeous cut flower with an amazing scent. Also, think about the stem length of what you’re growing. The longer the stem, the more use you will get from it. I don’t tend to grow anything that is too short for that reason. And finally, think about the longevity of your flower and how easy the flowers you’ve selected are to grow? Are they prone to disease? Do they require a lot of attention? These are all important factors to consider.
Your key ingredients – When putting a bouquet together there are a number of ‘key ingredients’ I include to help create a beautiful, balanced and varied look. It’s therefore important to consider this too when deciding what you are growing. I’ve listed some below, along with examples.
The focal flower – These are the flowers that really catch your eye and are usually the largest bloom in the display. Roses, Peonies and Dahlias are good examples.
The supporting flower – These are secondary to the focal flower, beautiful in their own right but usually a little smaller. They exist to complement the focal flower. Cosmos is one of my favourites.
Structural foliage – This helps provide the structure for the bouquet. I like to go with laurel or bay from my garden as it helps provide a strong framework and shape.
Supporting ingredients – These tend to be foliage again, but a little softer than the structural foliage. I like to use herbs such as mint and Rosemary as they are pretty and have the added benefit of producing a beautiful scent.
The fillers – These tend to be the background flower and foliage and usually provide the bulk to the arrangement.
Colour, texture and scent – And finally don’t forget the colour and look and feel of the flowers you choose. Colour is subjective so my advice would be to follow your heart and be directed by the seasons. For example, in my Summer bed, I’ve gone for whites, pinks and purples but have been bolder with my Autumn bed, going for deeper pinks and reds. It’s also worth giving some thought to the scale of the flowers you grow. My house doesn’t have tall ceilings so I tend to display my flowers as posies but if you do have tall ceilings then you have the option of going with taller displays. The texture and scent are also important. Tulips, for example, bring a sense of simplicity to a display while a dahlia, in my opinion, provides a more opulent and dramatic feel. The scent should also be considered against your personal tastes. Lillies, for example, can sometimes be a little too strong for me so for that reason I don’t tend to grow them, beautiful as they are.
I hope you find this useful and don’t forget there are some rather fabulous online garden sites (Sarah Raven, Crocus, Peter Nyssen and Primrose) that are still delivering. Do check them out as they have some fabulous variety.
Next week, in preparation for the planting I’ll talk you through what I will be planting and where.
Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot – www.instagram.com/flowersandlifestylebymargot/