Welcome to this weeks “In A Vase On Monday’ when I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join in her challenge to find something from the garden to put in a vase every Monday.
This week is British Flowers Week and all over the UK flower growers and florists are focusing on the beautiful flowers and foliage that are grown in Britain. Locally grown flowers smell better and last longer than flowers which have undertaken a long cramped journey to reach our shelves and British Flowers Week is all about promoting our British growers who are bringing increasing numbers of home grown flowers back to our florists, supermarkets and farmers markets.
I have set myself the challenge of not buying any flowers this year – Cathy’s meme has shown me that there really is always something to be found in the garden. Not everyone has the time or space to do this, however, so this week I will be joining in with British Flowers Week by looking at the flowers in my Cutting Garden that you could be buying from a local grower. Many of the lovely annuals are rarely seen for sale as they do not travel well, but by finding a local grower you would have the full range of flowers picked fresh from the field to choose from. For more information do look at the website British Flowers Week. You will also find lots going on at #BritishFlowerWeek on social media.
This weeks jug of home grown peonies is quite similar to last weeks – except the jug is shorter and rounder and the photos were shot outside at the end of the day rather than inside in the morning. I am making no apology for using the same flowers – in peony season I make the most of what I have and all my vases are dominated by my favourite flower.
Peonies are an expensive cut flower to buy. When I lived in London I used to treat myself to one bunch a season and I promised myself that if ever I had a ‘proper’ garden I would grow enough peonies to fill far more than one vase each peony season.
I have certainly fulfilled that promise – for the past two weeks I have been picking peonies almost daily and still they keep coming. The first five peonies were planted in the spring of 2010 and I have planted many more every spring since then.
The original 5 year old plants are now quite substantial and have had in excess of fifteen buds each. The peonies that I planted this spring will not flower until next year and then will only have one or two buds. Like asparagus, peonies require patience, but once they are established they just get better every year.
In with the peonies I have included some of the hardy annual Ammi majus, which has just started to flower in the Cutting Garden. These plants were grown from seed sown last autumn. By way of comparison I sowed a few trays in the greenhouse and overwintered the plants in the cold frames. They were planted out in March. I also direct sowed a few rows and kept them protected with a fleece tunnel. Both types of sowing have flowered outside at the same time, along with the batch that was sown in February in the greenhouse and also planted out in March. The only difference is that the seed sown indoors and overwintered under cover has grown much taller – almost too tall.
The photo above is focused on the yellow interior of peony Bowl Of Beauty.
Peony Gay Paree is a similar form but the interior is a pale pink. Also in the jug is Sarah Bernhardt and Monsieur Jules Elie.
I know that tonight I am preaching to the converted – all we participants in Cathy’s weekly challenge know that our home grown flowers are fresher, more varied and smell better than most of the flowers generally available to us in the shops. Things are changing though – the supermarkets are stocking more British grown flowers – there are some lovely Sweet Williams and stocks available at the moment and M&S used only British flowers on their Chelsea exhibit back in May. Farmer-florists are increasingly popular in America and we are heading the same way with far more small growers focusing not just on growing flowers buy also providing design services and bouquets.
It is my intention to post a daily flower focus this week to help highlight the types of flowers you can find if you choose to buy British (apologies to all my readers from abroad but the same principles apply wherever you are). I might struggle on Wednesday as I am out for the day enjoying the racing at Ascot – but I will try.
I would love to hear how you feel about buying locally grown flowers instead of imports – where would you go to buy a special bouquet? If you have any good local growers do share their details and give them a plug (this is not restricted to UK readers – we all need to promote our local flower growers wherever we are). If you are reading this and you are a flower grower with flowers to sell, please leave your details and give your business a plug!.
Finally thank you to Cathy for organising this meme and inspiring us all to grow more of our own flowers – I hope you will pop over to her blog to see what she and the others have made this week.