Friday, October 28, 2011

Time for some beautiful blooms

Time for some beautiful blooms
  Supplied © Enlarge photo
There is nothing like the beauty and fragrance provided by fresh flowers cut straight from the garden.
Samantha Turner, from Garden Elegance in Subiaco, said that as well as providing a readily available supply of beautiful blooms, another advantage of growing your own cut flowers was that your supply could vary with the seasons, depending on what you decided to plant.
So which plants are best to provide fabulous floral displays? We asked the experts for their recommendations.
Robbie Melville, manager of Melville Nurseries in Carmel, said roses were ever-popular because they were inexpensive and provided beautiful perfume and flowers for 10 months of the year (from September through until July).
Hybrid tea roses were the best for cut flowers.
"Kardinal, which is a red rose, is probably the longest-lasting cut rose and will give two weeks in a vase if looked after properly," Mr Melville said.
Lorraine Hoglin, general manager of fresh flower wholesaler Everbloom Flowers, agreed that roses were a great option for cut flowers but when they were not flowering, bulbs would just about be ready to bloom.
"Daffodils, iris and freesia are good to plant," she said. "These can be planted in the same area as the roses and only need to be pulled up every second year and divided; they are dormant when the roses are flowering.
WA is famous for its stunning spring wildflowers, which also make for gorgeous floral arrangements.
Waldecks' Hilton Blake said Bracteantha bracteata, or everlasting daisies, were easy to grow, and also recommended Lucinda's Everlastings seeds (available from Waldecks Garden Centres), which could be simply scattered in autumn.
"Ten grams of Lucinda's Everlastings will produce a 10sqm carpet of the magnificent flowers in spring," he said.
"The cut everlasting in a vase will last a month or so but the flowers can be hung upside down in a dark, airy position to dry and used as a dried flower for the entire year."
PLANTING TIP: "Everlastings are so easy to grow that they will almost grow anywhere, but an open sunny position will give you the most amazing display of colour," Mr Blake said.
Ms Turner recommended sweet peas for their ease of growing and beautiful colours.
Sweet peas were available in dwarf varieties growing up to 40cm, or traditional, which could grow to more than a metre.
"Small ones are ideal to grow in a pot," she said.
"Sow the seeds in autumn in a full sun position, making sure the taller varieties have support.
"This doesn't have to be fancy because the peas will cover it.
"Sow in autumn to have flowers in spring."
PLANTING TIP: Ms Turner said sweet peas may benefit from a little dolomite lime dug into the ground at planting if the soil is not already alkaline.
Ms Turner said kangaroo paws made for great cut flowers because they were long lasting.
There was also the choice of planting dwarf or large-stemmed varieties, depending on how big you wanted your flower arrangements.
"The Big Red is large and gets to about a metre, or for dwarfs, Bush Gems are smaller and available in lots of colours including yellow, red and violet," she said.
Flowering from early spring, kangaroo paws were best planted during winter in full sun.

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