Summer Loving – a florist’s advice on using cut summer flowers

I’m really into growing flowers for the house now and as well as picking flowers from my garden (which I have to admit does cause me a bit of pain!), I’ve turned over an area of my allotment specifically to use as a cutting garden.   

I thought it would be interesting to ask a florist for her top tips on what she likes to use in summer arrangements, so I got in touch with Katie Griffiths of Love from Katie in Oxford.  She’s come up with some great ideas, so many thanks for your advice Katie!

” I was delighted when Janet got in touch and invited me to do a guest blog! Being a florist, summer is definitely the busiest time of year. Love is in the air and weddings are in full swing come June until September. It is definitely a gorgeous time of year for the garden, bursting with colour, fragrance and texture. I often take my inspiration from nature and the seasons and love using British flowers and foliage.

Popular summer flowers are nigella, roses, peonies, scabious, sweet peas, alchemilla, viburnum opulus, agapanthus, stocks and lots of lovely textured foliage. Plants like mint, rosemary and jasmine are all gorgeous scented additions to bouquets and vase arrangements.

When using cut garden flowers, it is always best to cut the flowers as close to the base as possible and leave them in water to hydrate and recover from being picked before you arrange them.  Make sure all the leaves are stripped off below the water line to avoid a build-up of bacteria. If the flowers are going in to a vase or jug then it is always best to keep them somewhere cool so that they last longer.

Jam Jars - sweet peas, peonies, ranunculus, chamomile flowers, anemones, ixias, eucalyptus parvifolia and pittosporum

Jam Jars – sweet peas, peonies, ranunculus, chamomile flowers, anemones, ixias, eucalyptus parvifolia and pittosporum

A particular favourite of mine is using old jam jars to decorate a table, sometimes a bit of old lace or ribbon wrapped around the jar can jazz it up a bit and hide the stems from view.

If you are going to arrange the flowers in floral foam it is best that the flowers have a good drink beforehand. Perhaps leave them in water over night before using them so that they are in prime condition and survive longer in the foam.

A fun and simple way to use your garden flowers is to make a Summer Wreath.

summer wreath by Katie Griffiths

You can get floral foam rings from your local florist and you will just need a good pair of scissors and some lovely cut flowers of your choice!

Summer Wreaths - roses, geraniums, buttercups, campanula, astrantia, alchemilla, cotinus, beech leaves, hypericum and lavender

Summer Wreaths – roses, geraniums, buttercups, campanula, astrantia, alchemilla, cotinus, beech leaves, hypericum and lavender

You can use anything you can find in the garden, it is always fun foraging for foliage and creating different textures and colour combinations. These can also be used as table centres, perhaps with a candle in the centre for a lovely Summer BBQ party.

A little tip for flower arranging, I love filling old jugs with flowers around the house. It is always good to have foliage, focal and filler flowers. Examples of these would be -

Summer Foliage – mint, senecio, rosemary

Plant mint with care!  It's a very invasive plant so often best in pots

Plant mint with care! It’s a very invasive plant so often best grown in pots

Summer Filler Flowers – alchemilla, astrantia, sweet peas, chamomile

Alchemilla mollis

Alchemilla mollis can become a nuisance if it seeds around too much, so cutting the flowers for summer arrangements is a great way to deal with the surplus

Summer Focal Flowers – peonies, roses, stocks, allium

Roses

Choose roses for fabulous scent and long, or repeat, flowering periods

Use your foliage to start with and fill the jug enough so that it creates a support for the rest of the flowers, I then go in with my filler flowers and create texture. I would put my focal flowers in last so that they are supported by the rest of the ingredients and stand out.

Jug with roses, agapanthus, mint, allium, snapdragon, stocks and veronica

Jug with roses, agapanthus, mint, allium, snapdragon, stocks and veronica

Cut garden flowers always look pretty no matter how you arrange them so make sure you have fun with it! “

Katie can be contacted on 07789 170707, email katie@lovefromkatie.co.uk or take a look at her website www.lovefromkatie.co.uk

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