Tag Archives: Flowers

The Late Summer Cutting Garden

Vibrent late summer flowers

Vibrent late summer flowers

September is the summers last cheer and with it brings a large pallet of richly coloured herbaceous perennials that produce arm fulls of vivid coloured flowers perfect for cutting whether in formal flower arrangements or more informally spilling out of large jugs and vases. Here are some favorates

Dahlia 'Bishop of Oxford'

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Oxford’: The striking flowers and this case dark purple foliage are worth fighting the slugs for. This Dahlia makes a good clump of attractive foliage with bright tangerine orange single flowers with a bronze stamen centre to 90cm tall. Grows in draining good fertile soil. Grow in full sun.

 Dahlia 'Black Cat'

Dahlia ‘Black Cat’

Dahlia ‘Black Cat’: Large clumps of mid green foliage up to 110cm tall. With striking dark burgundy red velvety cactus formation flowers. A real show stopper in any flower arrangement. Grows in draining fertile soil. Grow in full sun.

Flower preparation tips: Best to cut flowers that are in bud nearly open or fully open, as they will not open further once cut. Cut the length of stem needed for the vase you are using, don’t cut more stem than needed. Cut the stem diagonally. Re-cut the stems before arranging them. Place the stems in about 50/70mm of very hot (not quite boiling water) leave the stems for about 1 hour. This conditioning of the stems will help your blooms last up to 6 days.

 Gladiolus alba 'The Bride'

Gladiolus alba ‘The Bride’

Gladiolus alba ‘The Bride’: Easily grown bulbs in a sunny position. Gladiolus bring a touch of elegance and height to any flower arrangement. Pure white flowers held along the stem. 50cm tall.

Gladiolus ramosus ‘Robinetta’: Deep rich red flowers with an ivory throat make this Gladiolus a flower arrangers delight. 60Cm tall.

Flower preparation tips: When choosing which blooms to cut choose a stem that has 3 or 4 flowers at the bottom that are part open. To condition you flower stems, place in a mixture of warm water and floral preservative. Then place the stems and container in a dark cool place for several hours to fully condition your flowers before making your flower arrangement. The conditioned flowers can last from 6 to 12 days.

 Heliopsis hellianthoides var.scabra

Heliopsis hellianthoides var.scabra

Heliopsis hellianthoides var. scabra: Often called the false sun flower, this herbaceous perennial packs a mighty punch in the flower boarder and the vase. Large clear yellow single flowers raise to 1.50m tall grown in full sun in any good moist fertile soil.

Flower preparation tips: Choose fully open flower. For soft stems, cut before conditioning at an angle. woody stems hammer, for both allow to harden in a deep depth of tepid/warm water for several hours. The flower will last 5 to 8 days.

 Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’: Clump forming mid green foliage with one of the largest of the Echinacea flower at up to 175mm wide. Of dark magenta pink petals and a dramatic rust yellow centre stamen cone. This flower takes centre stage in the late summer bouquet. Grows in full sun in in most soils, but it does not like drying out. Grows up to 90cm tall.

Flower preparation tips: Choose flowers that are newly fully open to lengthen the vase life. Cut the stems again before placing in a deep container of tepid water for a couple of hours to allow them to condition before arranging the flowers.

Veronica spicata

Veronica spicata

Veronica spicata: the foliage forms a compact tussock, with dense spikes of lavender purple flowers reaching 60/75cm high. This adds some drama and height to flower arrangements. Easily grown herbaceous perennial in any free draining soil in full sun.

Flower preparation tips: Choose flower stems that are fully out. Cut stems before placing in tepid water over night to harden off and condition. Flowers last 4 to 5 days approx.

Now with all this flower power a little foil is needed, ornamental grass seed heads are beginning to come into their own in September and the light seed heads lifts and lightens the late summer flower arrangement with it’s bold vivid colours. Try Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning light’, with feathery pinkish heads or Stipa gigantea with it’s large golden oat grass like flower heads.

Stipa gigantea

Stipa gigantea

So now you are inspired to not only to plant with late summer colour for your garden but also to bring the last heat and vibrant colours of summer into your home.

home grown garden flowers make a splash as flower arrangements.

home grown garden flowers make a splash as flower arrangements.

If you would like some help creating areas of planting in your garden that are suitable for flower arranging and for cut flowers at home then I know a woman who can help you, just give me a call. Ring Emily tel:01273 470753.

Early Spring Jewels

early spring jewels.

An early spring arrival to brighten the garden is the delicate Iris retticulat and Iris histroides and their many named varieties. These dainty Irises at only 100 to 200mm tall grow well on a sunny bank or rockery or in a pot close to the house. They have the added advantage of not being a tasty treat for mice and squirrels which tend to ignore their bulbs and fresh foliage in favour of crocus.

 Iris reticulata 'Blue Hills'

Iris reticulata ‘Blue Hills’

Iris reticulata ‘Blue Hills’ – A rich deep blue with a golden splash, plant in groups with white crocus or snowdrops. Flowering Feb-march.

 Iris histtriodes 'kathrine Hodgkin'

Iris histtriodes ‘kathrine Hodgkin’

Iris histriodes ‘Kathrine Hodgkins’- Large pale blue, white flowers with blue green veins and falls which are yellow blotched. This delicate vein variety can be enjoyed at it’s best in a raided bed or tall pot. Flowering Jan-march

Iris retculata 'J.S.Dijt'

Iris retculata ‘J.S.Dijt’

Iris reticulata ‘ J.S.Dijt’- A velvety rich plum purple flower with golden blotch, helps this Iris stand out in the winter early spring boarder when planted in clumps. Flowering Feb-march

Iris histroides 'Beatrix Stanley'

Iris histroides ‘Beatrix Stanley’

Iris histriodes ‘Beatrix Stanley’- A clear sky blue flower with white feathered edges. A great iris for pots or for the alpine garden. Flowering Jan-March.

IIris reticulata 'White Caucasus'

Iris reticulata ‘White Caucasus’

Iris reticulata ‘White Caucasus’- A recent introduction this iris has clear white flowers and a yellow splash. It would be a dramatic combination with a deep purple crocus planted in a container. Flowering Feb-march.

 Iris retculata 'Spot on'

Iris retculata ‘Spot on’

Iris reticulata ‘Spot on’- A dark purple flower with white spotted falls that end in deep purple. This tiny flower packs well above it’s weight with these stunning flowers. Just made for a container near a front door to be admired closely. Flowering Feb-March

These tiny triumphs of the early spring are so delicate it is hard to imagine they can cope with the harsh weather of late winter and early spring. They are well worth their place on mass in a winter planting scheme, or planted in small groups in raised beds or containers where their delicate beauty can be fully enjoyed.

Christmas Rose- The Winter Wonders of the Hellebore.

The Hellaborus genus are a group of woodland edge plants which thrives in partial shade and well drained humus rich soils and flower from December to May. Their mounds of evergreen foliage and delicate flowers lift the spirits in the darkest of winter days.

H. orientallis

H. orientallis

Hellaborus orientallis: Mounds of dark glossy green palmate foliage up to 60cm high,with flower stems lasting from late February to early May. The colours vary from white, cream, with pink and purple speckles, to dusky purple to light green, the nodding flower heads give way to attractive seed heads in May.

H. niger

H. niger

Helleborus niger: Green/grey foliage held in 30cm high mounds with open white saucer shaped flowers with bright yellow stamens on pink stems. Flowering late December to March.



Helleborus argutifolius: A wonderful free seeding thug, that has a foliage and habit with the wow factor! Strong upright stems to 60cm high hold deeply palmate glaucous leaves which are heavily toothed. Great stems of multiple pea green flowers from March to May.



Helleborus foetidus: The native British hellebore. With clumps of deeply divided glossy green leaves in attractive mounds up to 60cm. Free flowering of small green flowers with a purple edge from February to April. Seeds freely.

To get the greatest impact out of planting these brilliant herbaceous perennials, plant them in sweeps and clumps to give a flowering impact. Also to best view their delicate flowers which tend to nod downwards, planting on a bank or raised bed can display them at their best. If as the flower stems emerge and at the point the buds are to open, then some subtle cutting back of the leaves might be carried out so the flowers can be seen in all their glory. Also like all plants that are flowering in winter early spring, chose a spot close to the house or along side a path or near the garage or shed where they will be easy to enjoy.



Helleborus black spot: An unsightly disease that effects mostly the foliage with large spreading black spots but can also effect the stems and flower buds, to treat infected plants cut out all effected parts and to prevent it spreading to other Hellebores. Most strong plants will cope with an attack and just need the effected areas pruned out and will make healthy new growth. The diseased material must be binned or burnt straight away, to help prevent spreading. do not compost.

High Summer Drama

Gone are the gentle soft pastels of roses, peonies and wisteria of mid summer as the temperature rises, the smoke of endless BBQ’s lifts into the air and we stretch out the sun loungers to catch the high summer rays, August pulls us into the vibrant colours of high summer.

This is the time of year in a British garden when vibrant strong colour looks at thier best in the garden and there are a range of brilliant herbaceous perennials which foot the bill perfectly.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’: a clump forming perennial that quickly increase, it will tolerate most soils apart from heavy clay and being water logged and it can be planted in sun or part shade. It has bold upright swords of mid green foliage and tall flower stems of neat bell like flowers in eye popping red. It adds a dramatic blast of colour. 1-1.2m high and flowering from July to September.

Helenium 'Morerheim Beauty'

Helenium ‘Morerheim Beauty’

Helenium ‘Morerheim Beauty’: A prairie plant from central USA, liking moist soils, an upright clump forming perennial. Which packs a big punch with it’s rust coloured daisy flowers with yellow buttoned stamens and long flowering season. Full sun, 90cm-1m high July-October.

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’: ‘The sun flower’ another great prairie plant from the mid USA to the south, coping well with chalky soils and drier conditions than Helenium. Can make great sweeps of plants with spreading rhizomes for the big boarder with a big impact. Flowers large lemon daisy heads, with darker central stems. Full sun, 1.5m high and flowering August to October and beyond.

Kniphofia ‘Nancy’s Red’: A brilliant small ‘red hot poker’ for the front of the boarder, With clumps of thin sword leaves and flame red flower spikes held above, that push the vibrant colours of high summer through to late summer and the autumn with a long flowering season. Full sun. 50cm high, flowering from July to October.

Salvia x jamensis 'Hot Lips'

Salvia x jamensis ‘Hot Lips’

Salvia x jamensis ‘Hot lips’: Almost 3 plants in one, you get a lot of wow with this perennial. A clump forming bushy habit with small trumpet like flowers born up the flower stems. Flowering in June it is brilliant cherry red by July-August it hits it’s ‘hot lips’ best with a red upper lip and a white bottom one, by September into October as the day light hours shorten it turns to striking white. This chameleon of salvia’s deserves a place in any summer planting. Full sun, well drained soil. 90-1m high.

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivatii 'Goldstrum'

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivatii ‘Goldstrum’

Rudbeckia fulgida var. ‘sullivatii Goldstrum’: A north american beauty from USA/Mexico. ‘Black Eyed Susan’ clumps of erect stems of butter yellow daises with a black button of stems. Grows well in humus rich soils in full sun. Flowering from July to the first frosts, some times till mid November, it’s ‘marathon’ flowering season makes it an essential for the high summer boarder. 70-90cm high.

Ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford'

Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’

Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’: Dramatic round leaves form clumps of purple foliage, with tall flower spikes of daisy flowers in orange-yellow. A must for a shady moist to boggy planting spot giving a splash of late summer colour. 1.50m high, flowering August -September.

Ligularia 'The Rocket'

Ligularia ‘The Rocket’

Ligularia ‘The Rocket’: Smaller clumps of round mid green leaves, with towering near black stems with masses of small brilliant yellow flowers that form a dense flower spike, makes a sweep of this perennial a highlight of the shady bog garden. Humus rich damp soil. 1.80m high, flowering July-August and into September.

These vivid herbaceous perennials are at their best when planted in a mixed boarder with good strong foliage textures from shrubs, other herbaceous plants and grasses and add that high note of colour that the strong light of high to late summer can take.

So as you enjoy the summer heat, spot those areas of the garden that are looking a little drab as we hit the summer days of August and decide where a splash of colour can lift the spirit.

If you need help replanning a flower boarder to give it a high summer note, then I know a woman who can help. Give me a ring, Tel:01273 470753. To get planning and planting early this autumn ready for next years high summer colour drama.

The Triumphant Tulip

Tip-toe through the tulips… a walk round Lewes.

The crisp Spring air and the bright yellow trumpeting daffodils have now left us as April fades. May arrives with the promise of longer days, warmer rays and the brilliant colours of late Spring in the garden.

Tulips are a late Spring delight for keen gardeners and garden pleasure seekers alike; from the brilliant butter yellow stalwart T. ‘Big Smile’, to the brash cardinal red of T. ‘Kings blood’, under-planted with the jewel-box colours of mixed pallet wall flowers as seen in many Lewes District public planting schemes. Many a Lewes front garden features groups of ivory tulips like T. ‘White Trumpeter’, interlaced with the dark velvety richness of T.’ Queen of the Night’, or the subtle beauty of T. Shirley with its white and purple streaked petals. Grand pots either side of many Lewes front doors are planted with tall pink and purple combinations of the elegant lily-style tulips T. ‘Barcelona’, who’s petals gently reflex outwards producing a delicate flower. On Lewes twitterns and terraces, old tins and boots recycled into planters are bursting with the vibrant yellows of T.’ West Point’ a superb lily tulip and the deep glowing orange of T. ‘Ballerina’.

Then there are tulips immortalised by the Dutch masters; blousy, over-the-top and oozing glamour, these are the haute couture of the tulip world. Parrot tulips, from single feather-edged creations like T. ‘Oviedo’, to doubles T. ‘Rai’ which produce a flower that is almost frilly. Many forms are bi-coloured with a basecoat which is crossed with thin crazed lines T. ‘Estella Rynveld’, others have an almost shimmering hue with their feather edges dipped in a contrasting tint T. ‘Davenport’.

There is just so much to love and admire about the tulip. No matter what your taste there must surely be one to excite the pallet of everyone. During May revel in the many delightful varieties by taking a stroll through Grange Gardens; as the days lengthen so do its opening hours, until twilight. Enjoy!