IT’S WINTER, BUT that doesn’t mean all your thoughts around the garden should be hibernating. With spring around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan and plant for a floriferous garden. Whether you just want to make artful gift bouquets or pretty up your bathroom or you’re planning a big occasion, growing your own flowers is possible if you know what plants make the grade. Some flowers look amazing in the garden but when you cut them they don’t last through the appetizer course of a party. Instead of wasting time and money on blooms that droop or drop their petals, consider these options with real flower power.
TIPS FROM THE EXPERT
“Foraging and combining interesting textures and foliage can give any arrangement an interesting twist,” says floral designer Jenn Brant, owner of Bay Area studio Green Bouquet. “Many drought-tolerant plants, even herbs and indoor plants, can make great cutting foliage to combine with more traditional flowers that are already growing in your garden.”
BRING THE LOOK INSIDE
Must have. Long vase life, blooms easily, tolerates warm temperatures and is easy to arrange.
Where to grow? Most cut flowers (or any plant item used in a bouquet) prefer a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind and has good soil drainage. Try growing some in your veggie patch, along borders or in containers.
How to pick? Use sharp garden clippers and not scissors that smash the plant’s vascular system. Pick first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
More tips. Aside from saving you money, many vase-ready varieties are drought tolerant, low-maintenance and even pollinator and bird attracting. If you do need to call in a florist for tricky presentation techniques, you can still provide the essential ingredients: homegrown flowers.
- Chrysanthemum (heirloom varieties)
- Cymbidium orchid
- Peruvian lily (also known as alstroemeria)
- Craspedia (also known as billy buttons)
- Icelandic poppy
- English sweet pea (long stemmed)
- Succulents (flowers or foliage of Aeoniumand Echeveria)