Cut Flowers

As today is my birthday, I’ve been thinking about beautiful bouquets of flowers, and what a nice present they make.

My favorite cut flowers are carnations.  Before you click to another page, think about how beautiful carnations can looked tightly massed together.  I use magenta ones on the mantle at Christmas in low silver bowls, and they last three weeks.  Right now, I have a combination of three dozen cream and peach in a vintage ironstone creamer sitting on my table.  They are gorgeous and so inexpensive, they are an indulgence one doesn’t have to wait for birthdays to have.  Even garden variety dianthus are spectacular in smaller arrangements and last almost as long as those cultivated for the flower trade.

I love cut hydrangeas from the garden- they last and last, but the key is to cut them once they are mature enough or they will wilt faster than you can believe.  I love really mature endless summer hydrangeas, when they take on a tint of bronze– I pair them with Dahlia “Zorro” for a stunning display in a huge art pottery vase.

I use all kinds of flowers for cutting, and make sure to have a small bouquet on my desk at work every week.  This week I went with all white cosmos, with a few light pink picotee cosmos thrown in.  Next week I’ll probably cut some nicotianas from the new hot colors garden and mix them with some dianthus or dahlias for a fun color contrast.

Don’t forget the decorative value of leaves– hosta leaves are very beautiful if displayed properly and will last a really long time in a vase.

I love Gladiolas (as does my mother-in-law, we share a common August birthday)– the key is to get bouquets of complimentary colors… too much contrast and it ends up looking more appropriate for Carnivale.  Unless that is what you are going for.

Sweet peas– a really delightful bouquet.  Violets and Pansies- a perfect spring pick-me-up.  Tulips.  Peonies.  Daylilies make a surprisingly long lasting bouquet.  Hosta flowers– especially from giant varieties.  Herbs.

Some flowers that other folks love for cutting, but I do not: Zinnias– They wilt.  Store bought roses– usually smell like pesticides. 

As for my favorite orchids, I prefer them as a plant, rather than a cut flower– and they last for months.

Generally, I like containers to be either very nice or very simple and not distracting.  For giveaways I have a large collection of pass-along vases from florists, but at home I usually use silver bowls, depression glass vases or my trusty ironstone.  I had a beautiful blown milk glass tulip vase that I picked up for a song at an antique store, but it became an unfortunate casualty of the wind earlier this year.  Tulip shaped vases are very easy for flower arranging.

I like arrangements that are united by a common element (color, plant type, plant form).  I especially like bouquets of similar flowers: white phlox and greenish white Annabelle hydrangeas. 

By far, I think the best looking flowers also come directly from the garden, and not the store.  Although- we’ll see how I feel about this next summer when I do my sister’s flowers for her wedding… hopefully my hydrangeas aren’t afflicted with some mysterious disease!

Just a few ideas if you are thinking of sending flowers to your loved ones.

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3 Responses to Cut Flowers

  1. I am a floral designer in Toronto and I have to say I agree with you about carnations. When people call to order flowers, they are quick to say “no carnations” and the shop I work at doesn’t carry them anyway. But if I am buying flowers for myself, I will aften pick up a bunch of carns. You are right, the secret is to cut them short and pack them in close together. I prefer all one colour, or just a shade or two apart, I do not like too much colour contrast with these flowers.

  2. Sorry, I forgat to wish you a very Happy Birthday!

  3. gwendolyngarden says:

    Thank you kindly for the birthday wishes– and glad to know that I’m not the only one with a love of carnations.

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