With another week of snow, ice and all the snowdrops covered up I thought I would write about some of my favourite flowers I grew in the garden last year and what makes them special!
Last year was the first year I really took notice of Hellebores in the garden. It was our second year living at our new house and I had never grown them before. Unless you looked closely you might just miss them altogether as the flowers tend to face downwards and get buried behind their leaves. Hellebores in our garden are the first flowers to bloom alongside the snowdrops, a first sign of spring after a long winter. They are beautiful and make a good cut flower as long as they are conditioned well and cut at the right time. If you cut hellebores too early before their seed pods are developed they will wilt in the vase.
Philadelphus Mock Orange
Philadelphus is a flowering shrub I just love due to its fantastic citrusy scent. It grows at the top of our steps leading to the cutting garden and as you climb them the scent just hits you. Philadelphus Mock Orange was one of the main reasons I wanted to grow flowers for other people. Shop bought bouquets were often so disappointing with virtually no smell. I wanted to grow flowers that smelled wonderful for my stall so other people could enjoy bringing a cottage garden feel into their homes.
I like alliums, so much so I have planted a lot more to come up this spring! They look very striking in a bouquet of flowers and provided you change the water in your vase every couple of days there should be no problem with the oniony smell associated with them. A couple of drops of thin bleach in your vase water will help too.
I think roses have always been a firm favourite of mine. For the last two years I have had a couple of climbing roses in the garden including Dublin Bay which you can see in the picture above. As I had so few roses last year I was not able to use many for cutting and the ones I did have were not strongly scented. One of the main things I wanted to expand this year was the number of roses I had. I have created a new rose bed and also potted some in containers for the patio. All the roses I have chosen are good for cutting but also most importantly strongly scented! Some of the roses I have planted include Queen of Sweden, Gentle Hermione, Diamond Days, Chandos Beauty, Ice Cream, Caroline Victoria and Warm Wishes. At the moment they are all bare root roses just peeping out the soil and I can’t wait to see them grow and flower later in the year!
Sunflower Vanilla Ice
Last year I enjoyed growing sunflowers as a cut flower for the first time. I had only ever tried to grow the tall varieties before with the kids to see whose could be the tallest! The vanilla ice variety produced smaller heads on branching stems which were lovely in jam jar posies and bunches of flowers. The one problem I had last year was the wind and I lost one or too plants after particularly stormy nights. I had staked them but obviously not enough! 2015 has been declared by Fleuroselects Home Garden Association to be the year of the sunflower so I will be trying to grow a few more varieties as cut flowers for you and I will be using much stronger stakes!
I loved growing cosmos last year as it just flowered and flowered! It is also a beautiful delicate flower and lasted well in a vase. I will be growing lots more of these this year and trying some yellow and orange ones for a bit of variety.
I grew this flower as it was a cut and come again flower and it did just that all the way to the first frosts. It starts to look good in bud but then develops into the most beautiful flower and the stems were nice and strong for using in bouquets.
I really loved the look of phacelia in bouquets and jam jar posies last year and it was something a little bit different. It also has the added bonus of being able to dig it into the soil at the end of a season where it acts as a green manure!
I grew ammaranthus last year because it was something completely different with its bright red tassels! It lasted brilliantly in a vase and produced flowers right up to the first frosts. You could mix it in with other flowers in a jam jar posies or it looked great with a few stems together in a vase on the kitchen table.
Zinnias were a favourite of mine last year firstly because I really did not think I could grow them! I knew they liked the sun and warmth in the soil and being Scotland I just did not think it would be warm enough! To begin with there was very little growth and then I put them under fleece tunnels, we had some good weather and they took off. They were so bright and colourful and lasted a couple of weeks in a vase. I am going to grow them again this year and fingers crossed for a warm season of growing so we can enjoy them throughout the summer.
These flowers are just a few of my favourites from last year. There are far too many new gorgeous annuals that I discovered to mention! It makes you want to fast forward winter so you can get growing and enjoy them again! I would love to know if you had any flowers from the garden last year what your favourites were! Maybe you can remember flowers from your childhood or gardens you have visited that you would like to see again. I am always looking for new varieties to try!