"Beautiful bouquets"

Flower arrangements can offer inspiration for the garden.
Sunday, 09 December 2012     

Some of the birthday flowers

We celebrated several birthdays in our family last week (including a 21st!) and were delighted to receive some beautiful bouquets of flowers from family and friends. Our lounge room was transformed into a fragrant flowery bower for the week. Apart from the sheer pleasure of having fresh flowers in the home, I love to examine such arrangements for the blooms and foliage used and the clever ways that florists combine them, to get ideas for my garden.

One bouquet was comprised solely of green and white, with pristine white roses and mophead hydrangeas (some stems in full bloom and others as green-tinged unopened flower buds) teamed with spikes of Ornithogalum thyrsoides (sometimes known as chincherinchee, an excellent cut-flower but not something I have ever been able to grow successfully), which has star-like white flowers with green markings and green-tipped buds. Some most unusual lime-green blooms (which I think were florists' chrysanthemums) and lush green foliage rounded out the arrangement, which had a wonderful cool-as-a-cucumber allure on the day it arrived, which was one of the hottest days of the year so far! This lovely bunch of flowers reminded me of the beauty of a green and white border and made me vow to improve the section of my garden devoted to this colour scheme, by introducing some hydrangeas with lime-green flower buds and some more greenish-coloured flowers, such as Nicotiana langsdorfii and hellebores.

Another of the bouquets contained flowers gathered from the garden of a friend and was a symphony of pinks and silver, with various shades of pink Pentas, mophead hydrangeas, Alstroemeria, roses and even gum blossom. Velvety silver foliage from a plant I was not familiar with really set off the flower colours and reminded me that pink and silver is a truly gorgeous combination - in a bouquet and in the garden.

Another of the bunches had a mass of Lilium buds, which opened over the week to huge, lavish pink blooms with deep pink markings and stamens. These details were echoed by unusual burgundy Amaranthus or Celosia flowers, with rounded heads of tiny chenille blooms, very different from the drooping tassels of the Amaranthus caudatus that grows in my garden. The combination of pink and burgundy is one I use in my own garden a lot, as the burgundy provides a deep and satisfying note. I also love to pair burgundy with silver foliage and milky-blue flowers, such as Salvia 'African Sky'.

It is always very sad when cut-flowers start to wilt and fade. Where possible, I take cuttings of anything in the bunch that has suitable material to strike. Several of my Pentas plants in the garden have been obtained this way, so I have potted up the pretty pink ones from the home-grown bouquet, plus the silver foliage plant. Some pieces of the Amaranthus/Celosia also made their way into my propagating box. The rest of the spent flowers will go into my compost heap, so that they will always be part of my garden in some form or another.

 Reader Comments

1/10  Christine - 2154 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 10 December 2012

Just a little message to say Thankyou for all your help this year, as new to gardening and have learnt so much from you. I love gardening even more since I found your blog and just picked some dwarf beans (still smiling) from my first veg garden waiting for tomatoes & strawberries of course. Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas and look forward to the blog"s return in 2013. Thanks, Christine, hope you continue to get joy from your garden. Deirdre

2/10  Barbara - 3196 (Zone:10 - Mediteranean) Monday, 10 December 2012

Hello Deirdre, Thankyou for sharing some of the joy of your family birthday week with us, I really love a gift of flowers particularly those that come from friends gardens. I believe that your "chenille" flowers are Gomphrena. Best wishes,Barbara Thanks, Barbara. I will look into that name. All the best. Deirdre

3/10  Tracey - 2158 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 10 December 2012

Hi Deirdre, I enjoy reading your blog and learn something each week. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion with us. Best wishes to you and your family for Christmas and 2013. Thanks for your kind feedback, and all the best. Deirdre

4/10  Sue - 2073 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 10 December 2012

Posies from the garden are my "thing" and thinking I had nothing last weekend I found a large vereya head (orange) shasta daisies and mini white agapanthus and christmas bush which made a stunning posie - not the usual soft pink and mauve with roses and lavender that I normally do. The recipient was thrilled with the unusual flower and colour combination. Have a wonderful christmas and thank you for your blogs throughout the year - always interesting. Sue Your posy sounds amazing. I love orange flowers. All the best. Deirdre

5/10  Ian - 2506 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 10 December 2012

Hi Deirdre, Season"s greetings and best wishes to you and the family for Christmas and the New Year. Look forward to more of your garden writing in 2013. regards Ian Thanks very much, Ian, and all the best. Deirdre

6/10  Sue - 2125 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 10 December 2012

Thank you for the hint on using used cut flowers to strike new cuttings. I hadn"t thought of that before. I will pass that on as a tip to our members at our February garden club meeting. I already told them about your new site. Sue W Thanks, Sue! Deirdre

7/10  Gillian - 2073 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 10 December 2012

Cut flowers are such a joy to have in the house. Thankyou for a wonderful, instructive and enjoyable blog. Have a marvellous Christmas and I look forward to your musings in the coming year! Gillian P.S. Could the silver be the Mt. Morgan wattle? Thanks, Gillian. I did wonder if the silver foliage could be from a wattle. Will ask my friend! Deirdre

8/10  Margaret - 2122 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 10 December 2012

Wonderful bouquets of flowers - they must have filled your home with lovely fragrance. Chincherinchees are easy to grow - I had a great display this year. Many thanks for your informative blogs, they are absolutely an inspriation. All the best to you and your family. Margaret Thanks, Margaret. Great to hear that it is possible to grow chincherinchees. Will try them again, as they have been the flowers from the bouquets that have lasted the longest in the vases. Deirdre

9/10  Georgina - 2076 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 10 December 2012

Thank you Deirdre for another year of wonderful information on Sydney gardening. I"m so glad you will be back in 2013. Enjoy your break and have a relaxing time in your garden. Happy gardening,Georgina Thanks so much, Georgina, and all the best. Deirdre

10/10  Jan - 2582 (Zone:9 - Cool Temperate) Thursday, 13 December 2012

Thanks for providing guidance and inspiration Deirdre. Best wishes for a wonderful festive break. Hope your country garden is coping well with the dry spell. Everything is a bit droopy in Yass at the moment! I"m looking forward to having time in the garden and to look over your emails more closely soon. Jan Thanks very much, Jan. Deirdre

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