Growing cut flowers is a highly rewarding experience, combining productivity and beauty whilst helping keep a few pounds in the pocket. Whether just a few stems in a vase or an elaborate display, fresh flowers help to create a great atmosphere and bring a room to life. Below is a list of Ben's favorite cut flowers.
Aster cordifolius 'Little Carlow'
A lovely, relatively small, bushy Aster with dark thin stems and small delicate leaves. From late Summer masses of starry, violet blue flowers with contrasting yellow centers appear. It will grow well on most reasonable soils in full sun and light shade. Mildew is rarely a problem although additional support may be required to prevent collapsing.
Very useful as a "filler" in arrangements, giving a base colour and texture whilst providing support for other components. It will compliment most grey, burgundy, white and pink flowers, as well as contrasting with bright reds, oranges and yellows.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 1m x 0.5m
Chrysanthemum 'Cobra Bronze
A ‘showstopper’ of a plant with amazing flowers that are perfect for lifting a dull day in early winter. Derived from the intensive breeding and crossing of several species, this plant is a perennial with small, divided, mid green leaves on slightly arching stems. As days shorten flowering is initiated resulting in spectacular, firework-like flowers of orange and bronze, which last for several weeks if cut or left on the plant.
The genus is quite varied and native to many open and sunny habitats in China, other parts of Asia and Northeast Europe. It prefers a moist but well drained soil, ranging in acidity, in full sun. Reasonably hardy (with some hardy garden varieties available) though it is best given protection from winter weather during flowering. This variety is perfect for cutting or best grown as a specimen container plant in large conservatory.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 0.7m x 0.5m
Hypericum inodorum 'Magical Universe'
A reliable semi-evergreen shrub with fantastically coloured foliage and fruit, looking great in the garden but also perfect for cutting. In spring fresh upright growth gives rise to dark green ovate leaves that have a mahogany tinge, complimenting the dark red stems. In early summer terminal clusters of flowers open, a burnished buttery yellow with hints of burgundy. Following the flowers come the classic fruits, bright red at fist, turning maroon and then slowly dulling to a dark brown as autumn turns to winter.
A smart and tidy looking shrub for the border or cutting bed, that is easy to grow, rust resistant and far more sophisticated than the normal St John’s Wort. It will tolerate all but heavy wet soils and prefers to grow in full sun or dappled shade. Simply cut back hard early spring before growth begins to ensure a fresh and tidy appearance.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 0.6m x 0.5m
A beautiful tazetta type of narcissus with small, cream coloured fully double flowers that appear in dense clusters on stems up to 15cm tall. Despite its size, this daffodil has a remarkably strong and sweet fragrance making it one to cut and bring into the house. It can be easily forced for Christmas flowering and then planted out in the spring where it will grow happily and then reliably flower early to mid spring for many years to come. Grow in a hot sunny spot in any reasonable soil that does not sit wet over winter.
A cheery and fragrant addition to any late winter or spring bouquet or simply beautiful in a vase on its own.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 0.2m x 0.1m
Salvia viridis 'Blue'
A great little Sage that has masses of spires holding small flowers that are surrounded by large papery bracts of vibrant bluish purple. Quick to grow from seed, it forms a cushion of dull green foliage that soon gives rise to its flowers. If deadheaded the flowers persist all Summer long and into late Autumn.
A bold colour that is great for livening up calmer tones of blue, pink white and burgundy, although equally happy contrasting with bright and bold shades. Collect seed in the Autumn and sow again in the Spring for a continued supply.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 0.4m x 0.4m
Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch'
A vigorous half hardy annual that in its native country of Mexico can grow to over 2 meters tall. Large mid-green leaves covered in tiny silver hairs give this plant a soft tropical appearance. The flowers are quintessentially daisy like in a shade of vibrant orange that seems to glow against the green backdrop.
A good strong flower in both colour and form, perfect for bold and contemporary arrangements. Its vigor and size also make it great for summer bedding in the larger border.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 1.7m x 0.8m