Country Garden Flowers
The greenest of greens explodes into life with renewed vigour and welcome surprises.
Spring offers us wonderful varieties of narcissi and tulips in the most beautiful shades of pinks and purples. The alliums in late spring are favourite, with delicious shades of mauve white and pink, a pastel pallet, and a visual treat.
Camassias too, in shades of blue and white are lovely for cutting. Lilacs are graceful, with their gentle hues and sweet scent, and the ever reliable sweet rocket and cow parsley blend effortlessly with many creations.
Summer brings easy pickings, with a profusion of growth and a kaleidoscope of colour in the cut flower garden. Early in summer we see aquilegias, foxgloves, peonies, alliums, roses, sweet peas, cornflowers and the gorgeous distinctive nigella. These give way in later summer to many of the more vibrant colours of chrysanthemums, dahlias, crocosmia and many more.
We rise early with the birds and wildlife to work before the sun gets too strong.
Autumn is a special time, when mellow sunshine sheds a gentle light upon the changing leaves. Late season flowers and berries as well as vibrant foliage provide lovely material to work with. Many flowers continue to thrive until the first frosts, when their foliage dies, and they snuggle back into the ground where they safely sleep over winter, out of site, and away from the cold fingers of Jack Frost.
Autumn is a time for sweeping up and preparing for winter, lifting tender roots and corms to the frost free shed, and dividing perennial plants for next year's flowers.
With Christmas preparations underway, we're busy with our workshops and making ordered natural wreaths, garlands and decorations.
Winter alone has a beauty which is unsurpassed.The fallen leaves and faded flowers expose the beauty of intricate shape and form.
Any welcome blink of sunlight in the short days is savoured and cherished. Winter is a time to take stock, to tidy up, and make plans for the following year.
In the limbo period between Christmas and New Year, it's a great slot in which to mull through seed catalogues and plan ahead. It's also time for mulching, planting bare root shrubs, and digging out perennial weeds before they have a chance to take over.
In fact, all in all, it's a really productive time in the flower field. Winter has more to offer than we see at a cursory glance.
Berries aren't just for Christmas, and from October onwards, there are gorgeous berries on the hollies, cotoneasters and pyracanthas, not forgetting the roseships. All of these of course provide food for the birds, so we're very careful not to strip the shrubs. In mild weather, the dainty viburnum bordatens comes into flower, as well as the more robust Viburnum tinus which, although ubiquitous, is really lovely as a cut flower en mass, if we simply remove some of the foliage to expose the flowers. Cornus mas has lovely delicate yellow flowers in early February and the delightfully shy hellabors flower from January, so reluctant to reveal their lovely faces which tilt slightly downward. There are left over seed heads of Cynara and Acanthus, as well as delightful hazel catkins and the soft pusy willows.
The yellow willow and vivid red dogwood bring a welcome vibrancy in the dull days.
Lonicera purpusii and winter box have lovely pungent scents, attracting the few winter pollinators to their nectar core. Prunus sibhirtella has pretty dainty pink flowers in milder weather.
Foliage is never in short supply, and greyish foliage such as eucalyptus provides a lovely back drop for winter arrangements.