Newsletter #15- May 2015- Australian natives for cut flowers, and happy Mothers Day!

 CELEBRATE MOTHERS DAY WITH AUSSIE NATIVE FLOWERS

Mums make the world a better place. My mother (and grandmothers) gave me the gift of my lifelong passion for plants through their own love of gardening, native plants, conservation and bush walking.

So on mum’s special day, it’s about time to have a change from everyday old chrysanthemums. There are some real treasures that bloom around Mothers Day. Wouldn’t it be nice to start an Australian tradition of a bunch of banksias? Now there’s a flower with attitude! A fitting tribute for mums I reckon. Or maybe some cuddly flannel flowers, woolly bush and kangaroo paws.

Search out something truly Australian, and give mum a bunch of native wildflowers.  I found these beauties at The Wildflower Place, Erina, NSW

GROW YOUR OWN BOUQUET

There is a great satisfaction in wandering about the garden with a pair of secateurs and being able to pick a glorious bunch of flowers to grace the home or give to a loved one. Our Aussie natives are prized all over the world for their unique look, so when planning your  garden, think of adding plants that are great for cut flowers, and become your own florist.

As an added bonus, many of the plants that make great cut flowers are bird attracting too. The larger flowered grevilleas and flowering gum blossoms are especially good for adding oomph to bunches, and come in a good range of colours. If you don’t pick the flowers for your home, the birds get a feast!

Corymbia ficifolia bunches at a commercial flower farm

There are a great range of native shrubs that have become florists standards, like Ozathamnus, geraldton wax and Philotheca. With their tiny leaves and masses of delicate flowers, they are used as fill around the larger stars. An added bonus is that a great many also have aromatic foliage, great for adding the smell of the bush to your house too.

Thryptomene saxicola is a little charmer. It has its main flowering in spring with more pink or white flowers all year around and a delicate spicy scent. Riceflowers have small leaves, but have umbels of long lasting white, pink or lemon coloured flowers, and some have a curry perfume when crushed. Waxflower, or Chamelaucium, is another great foliage filler studded with many pretty flowers and a faintly citrus scent. Breeders have produced a beaut range of colours.

The best part about growing plants for picking is that the act of cutting the blooms will also serve to prune the plant. This will help to encourage a dense habit and a better shaped plant, and more flowers in the future.

Have a look at my top ten plants for cut flowers article

MORE HINTS FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL BUNCHES

Australian plants have great flowers for floristry work, but there are some special extras that you can add too. Flower buds, gumnuts and seed pods make great additions to a bunch of flowers.

Arranging your  bunch is a bit of an art. Put your most eye catching flowers towards the centre, then use your smaller fill plants to surround and draw the eye to the special blooms, which will also help all the stems to stand up in the vase.

Foliage is a great way to make your arrangement look fuller and more generous, so take another wander in the garden with your secateurs if your bunch looks a bit on the sparse side. A large bunch of flowers will drink a lot, so be sure to check the water level in your vase every couple of days and top up if necessary.

Kangaroo paws are stars for floristry, with their textured feltiness and sculptural form. They come in a fabulous range of colours, and one of my limited new release ones is a subtle pale purple colour.