If you lived through the 80s, you probably lived with vases stuffed full of dried Lunaria, teasels, and grasses.
Obviously, they are having a revival along with all things 80s, but if you have been put off them for life, then why not grow your own cut flowers.
That way you avoid multiple layers of pointless cellophane. plastic wrapping, the air miles, and the dubious production in a third world country. Plus you’ll get a massive wellness smack in the face once you grow your own.
For a beginner gardener or someone with a small garden, what can you grow to get some good bang for your zero-waste buck?
The following flowers are great to grow in your garden if you want flowers in your home from spring to autumn
These are a no brainer. These ‘fried egg’ flowers – as I used to call them – are a must for any garden.
Buy bulbs in the autumn and scatter about your garden. They need little to no looking after and should grow and get bigger every year. They are literal rays of sunshine in the winter gloom.
Go for teeny tiny narcissi like ‘Tête-à-Tête’ or ‘Elka’ for your path edges or window boxes. Or try Narcissus ‘Avalanche’ for ths most amazing scent.
But if you hate oranges and yellows – what’s a guy/gal to do? Fear not – there are some great all white varieties like Narcissus ‘Ariel,’ ‘White Lion,’ ‘Thalia,’ or ‘Toto.’ Thalia is my favourite as they flower slightly later in sprinng and have long straight stems. They look great at dusk – like beaming stars in the darkness.
If you grow your own in good soil, then you’ll be rewarded with strong stems and an incredible range of colours. Forget the garish oranges and yellows you find – I’m talking about tulips that are a little less ‘Gangnan-Style’ and a lot more ‘Markle-Sparkle-Sophistication’.
Sarah Raven has a brilliant colour palette of tulip collections. Apricots, antique hues, smokey pastels, byzantine purples and burgundys and shocking oranges. Whatever your palette or personality- you will definitely find a tulip to suit. You will never look at tulips the same way again.
I’ve never had the heart to cut them once I’ve grown them in pots – so instead I just ram them up nice and close to the windows so they feel like they are in the house.
These perennials have lovely little granny bonnet heads. They usually come in two colours and flower in late spring. I also have some giant varieties – Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata ‘Black Barlow’ which look great mixed with whites and pale purple wallflowers.
I love Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid,’ ‘Sugar Rush,’ ‘Sunset Dark Purple’ and, ‘Bowles Mauve’. My ‘mauvey’ has flowered non-stop for 3 years. Right through winter, snow, ice, gales, kids, a plague of flies – nothing can defeat it. My main mummy plant has gone a bit leggy, but I refuse to chop it down as it is such a trooper in our erratic climate.
You cut them, the next day there are 10 more. These flowers are like TRIFFIDS. Start them in the autumn in toilet rolls if you want early flowers. Also, make sure you have good strong supports. Not like me, who used a cheap-arse frame that then got blow down and carried down the garden, with the sweet peas hanging on for dear life. WAAAHHH!!!
There used to be a couple who lived around the corner for us, who always had buckets of dahlias for sale for 50p a bunch. I used to be so excited to be able to go to the shop on my own and pick up massive pom-pom dahlias on the way home. It always felt like such a treat to have these huge flowers in our house. Gave us something nice to look at while eating the horrible piles of sprats and duck sausage for dinner (don’t ask!)
The range of dahlias you can get now is astonishing. Here are a few of my top tips for growing dahlias:
- They like lots of compost!! Make it homemade and fill your planting hole before dropping in your tubers and you will be REWARDED
- Tie them to a stake as early as possible. Give them the support they need to grow straight and true and not go off the beaten path
- Defend against earwigs by rubbing some vaseline infused with some eucalyptus oil – on the stems of the flowers. Also, put some up-turned flowerpots stuffed with hay in. In the morning, empty out your pots and get rid of the earwigs hiding in them
- Deadhead regularly – preferably in the evening after the kids are in bed with a glass of wine
- Add some mycorrizal fungi in the planting hole to give it a microbial boost
If you can protect them from slugs, then these are very easy to grow from seed. They come in a range of great pinks, reds, purples, and white and if you keep cutting, they keep on coming. They also have lovely dill like leaves.
These are “stately home” flowers. You need a VERY TALL vase to keep these gladiator sword-like flowers. But they are so worth it. Go for modern hybrid colors of dazzling white, seductive purple or bright “blow your eyeballs” lime green.
I am a complete sucker for roses. I read the David Austin rose catalogue like a Jane Austin. I have NEVER come across a rose from a florist or supermarket that has a scent.
Homegrown roses on the other hand – the smell – wow, they can be INTOXICATING.
Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.Patrick SusKind – Perfume
You can find a rose to suit any type of garden, or even a container.
Geums are a very overlooked flower for your indoor vase. They are VERY hardy and come in oranges, deep reds and, even a dusky pink. They need very little looking after and can add a pop of color to your arrangement.
Also known as Lady’s Mantle – as apparently can be good for that time of the month.
It’s frothy, it’s fun and has shooting stars of lime green flowers. It’s also massively invasive and spreads like lost socks around your house. Cut it before it sets seed and you should be ok.
If you like cow’s parsley then you will LOVE Ammi. Beautiful white umbels of umbrella-esque flowers.
I personally think herbs are great for foliage. Add a bit of variegated pineapple mint, lemon verbena, variegated thyme, or lavender to a bouquet and you completely transform it. Dill also has pretty umbel like flowers.
This is another great hardy annual that seems to do well in partial shade and sun. These come in warm yellows, mouthwatering marmalades and ruby reds. Sow them in spring for planting out in summer.
These are shrub like plants but come in the most amazing range of colours. They are the perfect foil for the oranges and reds of autumn. Choose from varieties like the aptly named ‘Lime Marmalade,’ or the silvery purple ‘Spellbound’. If you want a deeper purple, then try ‘Blackberry Jam’ or ‘Midnight Bayou.’
How to keep your flowers looking AMAZING
- Sear the ends of stems in boiling water
- Put them in slightly warm water
- Add a tablespoon of sugar
- Change the water every couple of days
- Don’t leave any leaves on the stem as they will rot in the water
- Cut your flowers stems at an angle
I hope this list has been helpful. Now go my flower children – grow your own cut flowers. Surround yourself in natural beauty and breathe in.