5 cut flowers for easy home-grown bouquets
Our Media Volunteer Audrey explains 5 ways to cut flowers for easy home-grown bouquets in her latest blog.
There’s something quite irresistible about a colourful bouquet of flowers to cheer up a wee corner of your home or to show your love for someone special.
But sometimes love hurts. And in this case, our love of cut-flowers is also hurting our planet.
Whizzing flowers across the world at great speed means a typical 13-stem supermarket bouquet of Kenyan and Dutch sourced flowers contributes over 31kg of CO2 emissions.*
Is that bad? Well, if you consider that an economy class flight from London to Paris is equal to 58kg of CO2 per passenger*, it is. Particularly if you have a regular flower habit.
So, what can you do?
Personally speaking, I’m not ready to give up my love of cut-flowers. Thankfully there’s no need to. In fact, it’s possible to enjoy them, be gentler on the planet, support local wildlife and be kinder to your bank balance. What’s not to love?
An easy way to reduce your bouquet-related carbon footprint is to shop local and ask your florist for locally sourced (or at least UK grown) flowers. A 15-stem bouquet of locally grown flowers has a much lower carbon footprint of 1.71kg*. You’ll also benefit from your florists expert skills to build the perfect bouquet.
Or grow your own…
If you have a few decent sized pots or a patch of garden, you can enjoy an abundance of ready-to-cut flowers all summer long, even up until the first frosts.
Choose long-flowering varieties that last well in a vase. There’s even still time to grow many from seed, making it very cost-effective too.
If you’re looking for ideas, here are my favourites from my experiments last summer:
- My favourite variety: Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’.
- Pros: Flowers from July to October. Easy to grow from seed. Likes full sun and most soils. Great for bees and other insects.
- Tips: Stake them – our coastal winds are brutal and I learned that the hard way!
- My favourite variety: Verbena bonariensis
- Pros: Flowers from June to November. Doesn’t need dead heading. Magnet for butterflies and is good for bees, other pollinators and birds. Easy to grow from seed. Likes full sun and most soils.
- Tips: It’s a perennial (grows back every year), but sometimes doesn’t survive our Scottish winters. However, in Kirkcaldy mine survive very well – even this year! Plant lots together to create a sweep of purple.
- My favourite varieties: Café au lait; Schippers Bronze.
- Pros: Very glamorous. Flowers from July to November. Easy to grow from a tuber as a cost-effective option, or you can buy as a plant. Huge choice of colours and varieties. Likes full sun and most soils.
- Tips: Stake them. Deadhead/cut the flowers to keep new ones coming. Beware of slugs! Dig up the tuber after the first frost in November and store over winter for next year. Open centred varieties are better for insects.
4. Sweet peas
- My favourite variety: All of them!
- Pros: Flowers from May to September. Beautiful scent. Like full sun and most soils.
- Tips: It’s probably too late to grow from seed, so buy seedlings from the garden centre. They’re climbers, so train them up a trellis. Deadhead/cut often to keep flowers coming. Some varieties have longer stems than others so are better for cutting.
- My favourite varieties: Goldsturm and Hirta ‘Sahara’.
- Pros: Flowers from August to October. They are perennial so grow back every year. Very low maintenance.
- Tips: Buy as small plug plants and divide each year to make more plants.
Other favourites of mine include: Persicaria, Anenome ‘Honorine Jobert’ and Achillea millefolium. This year I’m trying some new ones including Alstromeria ‘Royal Velvet’, Statice ‘Apricot Beauty’ (good for drying), Strawflower ‘Salmon Rose’ (also good for drying) and Ammi majus.
I’m no florist, so virtually no planning goes into the flowers I pick for a vase. Despite this, every single time I’ve been surprised by just how naturally gorgeous they turn out to be.
So please give it a go. I’d love to hear about your favourite cut flower choices too.