It’s British Flowers Week (Mon 10 – Sun 16 June), time to celebrate our great British bloomers, and maybe if the fancy takes you, have a go at growing your own? Though lots of cut flowers are sown from seed – think cornflowers and marigolds – you can short-cut straight to permanent, potted plants for cutting too, like roses, hydrangea and peonies which are real toughies, and come back year after year without much effort from you.
Muddy caught up with Devon’s answer to Jane Packer, Julie Collins, a master-florist from The British Academy of Floral Art to find out what we can do to look like we know what we’re doing…
1 Top five easy cut flowers for bluffers?
It depends on the season, but for spring it’s tulips, just for the range of colour. Give them shallow water to make them last longer and top up daily as they are thirsty. For summer, it’s easy foxgloves, great for tall vase designs, and lasting around 7-10 days but beware it is poisonous. Sweet peas are always a favourite for their lovely smell, they are best arranged in shallow water and last around 5-10 days. Cornflowers are delicate but give a feel of a summer meadow with their stunning blue colour. Choose dahlia for autumn – they’ve made a great come back over the last few years thanks to their great range of colours and last up to 7 days in water.
2 What can you buy already potted from a garden centre?
David Austin Roses are our favourite with their old country garden look and wonderful smell. For versatile foliage fillers go for Eucalyptus, Pittosporum, Viburnum, Hypericum and our favourite, Heuchera as they come in a range of colours and are good for filling a flower bed. Look out for a new variety, Senecio Angel Wings, as it has stunning silver leaves, that brighten up any design.
3 How much space do you need?
If you want flowers and foliage all year round then allocate around 12x24m. At the Academy we have 3 raised beds that we can rotate for different species which measure around 3x2m each. A south-facing aspect is best, with good drainage.
4 Any tips for cutting?
Always cut the flower and foliage when it’s cool, so in early morning or evening. Take a bucket of clean water so that you can place them straight into water. Put flower food in the water and remove all leaves below the water line.
5 What would you recommend growing for a wedding?
Popular flowers for wedding that can be very expensive to buy as a cut flower are Peonies and Hydrangea, so I would definitely plant these.
6 Any tips on making flowers last longer?
Always use a clean vase and clean warm water, and make sure you change it every couple of days. Too much flower food can kill the flowers so read the label. Cut stems at a sharp angle, remove all foliage below the water line, keep out of direct sun and in a cool room.
7 Go on a course
Good for newbies: The Flower Garden Course
suits complete beginners wanting to fill their garden and home with flowers and foliage. From Thurs 12 Sept, 10 week course.
Professional wannabes: Professional floristry courses
run weekly or weekends so very flexible and split into units, including wedding, arrangement, hand-tied and funeral.
Try a taster:
Spend a serene morning or afternoon on a taster workshop
(next one is 28 Sept 2019) making a beautiful floral design at their Dunchideock
Want more, more, more? Check out the Academy’s latest blog