garden flowers

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Common name:  African lily

Botanical Names: Agapanthus

Origin: South Africa

Colours: shades of blue and white

These lovely flowers have long, strong stems with a round cluster of funnel shaped flowers at the top. When you buy them as cut flowers, they have no leaves, as the leaves grow at the base of the plant from the roots.   Their name comes from the Greek word agape which means love and anthos meaning flower.


Outside the UK, Agapanthus is known as ‘Lily of the Nile’, although it’s not a lily.  They were one of the first plants to come from South Africa.  They arrived around 1650 and have now naturalised on the sand dunes in the Isles of Scilly and Torquay.


As cut flowers they are mainly available in the summer, but a few varieties are available in spring and winter.  They are easy to grow as plants, they like well-drained soil and full sun in the garden. They should be protected from frost with mulch or fleece in the winter as even hardy varieties can suffer from the frost.


Agapanthus is fashionable as both a cut flower and plants in the garden.  Their strong tall stems are often used in large vases and arrangements.  They commonly come in shades of blue from powder blue to a deep indigo; they are rarer in white as a cut flower.  They will last up to ten days in a vase.


Flower Council of Holland

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This fabulous living catwalk has been designed by four-time Chelsea Young Florist of the Year, Joe Massie.  The catwalk is the highlight of Kildare Village’s Chic Summer Festival event.  There is a programme of events throughout July which include musical performances, artisan food and floral inspired cocktails.


Joe’s installation features three floral dresses surrounded by a carpet of flowers and plants.  The designs reflect aspects of an Irish Summer, one dress is inspired by cornflowers, one by butterflies and one by daisies.  Daisies are particularly relevant as the event’s ambassador is Daisy Lowe, she launched the event on 5th July.


Joe’s team also decorated the performance stage and food marquee.  The exquisite designs were very labour intensive and took a team of 8 florists, five days to complete.  The catwalk will be in the open air for a month, so a combination of real and artificial materials were used to ensure the designs look perfect throughout the event.


The dresses contain fresh grasses, succulents, echeverias, lichen and branches. The plants and flowers used were roses, dahlia, hydrangea, marguerite daisies, gyposphilia, lavender, cornflowers, and cosmos.  The installation can be viewed until Sunday 29th July, at Kildare Village outlet shopping, Ireland.

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Green flowers may seem like an unusual choice for wedding flowers, but green can be a very beautiful and natural colour scheme.  There are plenty of green flowers to choose from whether you prefer soft sage green or bright lime green, you can even get acid green flowers.  Adding green flowers to a mixed colour design will ‘lift’ the other colours.

Counting down from number 10:

Green-Chrysanthemum10 – Feeling Green Spray Chrysanthemum
This is a spray type of chrysanth so it has several heads on a stem.  The flowers are very hardy so are good for designs that won’t be in water.  The uniform shape of these chrysanths looks great in compact designs like pomanders or spheres of flowers.
Green-Trick-Dianthus9 –  Green Trick Dianthus
These unusual looking flowers are a type of sweet william, from the carnation family.  You usually see them in small bunches of pinks and reds.  This fluffy flower is a spherical shape and looks a bit like moss.  It looks great mixed with a vibrant colour in modern textured bouquets or kept simple with white flowers and foliage.
Green-Hydrangea8 – Hydrangea
For summer weddings Hydrangea are the perfect flower.  The large blooms come in various shades of green from a soft pale colour to lime to and green with hints of pink.  Hydrangeas work well with a country garden theme or a more contemporary look.  They are also  lovely grouped together for bridal bouquets. Hydrangea may seem a little pricey but they are at least twice the size of most flowers and fill a lot of space in an arrangement.
Green-Chrysanthemum7 – Shamrock Chrysanthemum Bloom
This is the second chrysanth in my top ten list, but it looks so different to chrysanth spray I had to include it.  You would be forgiven for not regconising these flowers as Chrysanthemums.  Their spiky shape and vivd lime colour is a million miles away from the old fashioned chrysanth sprays supermarkets offer.  These blooms work best in large contemporary designs and look fabulous mixed with bright exotic flowers.
Green-Amaranthus6 – Amaranthus
This flower has beautiful flowing heads that look lovely anywhere flowers can naturally trail or hang down.  The edge of a mantelpiece arrangement, hanging from a garland at the church entrance or hanging from a bouquet.  It is a pretty alternative to ivy or grasses.
My top 5 green flowers will follow in tomorrows post.
Green Trick Dianthus –
Amaranthus –

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Common name:  Hydrangea

Botanical Names: Hydrangea

Origin: Japan

Colours: White, pink, purple, blue

Hydrangeas are thirsty plants and get their name from the Greek word “Hydor” meaning water, they were introduced to the UK in 1788 from Japan.  There are many varieties and colours from pure white through to blush pink, and amethyst, as well as many beautiful two tone varieties.  There are three main types of hydrangea, pronounced hiy-DRANE-gee-a, the Mophead has large round flowers made up of dozens of tiny florets.  This is the most recognizable type and popular as a cut flower.  Panicle is a long cone shaped cluster of florets and Lacecap is a flatter shape with lots of tiny buds surrounded by a circle of normal sized flowers.


Hydrangeas have become very popular cut flowers in recent years; they are often featured in home and lifestyle magazines for modern rooms or country kitchens.  They drink a lot of water, so hydrangeas should always be in deep water.  If the flower head goes soft or starts to wilt the stem should be recut and plunged into boiling water for 30 seconds before replacing into the vase.  For a contemporary look use a vase of hydrangeas in a vivid colour.  The beautiful pastel shades or two tone varieties give a more vintage or rustic appearance.  I would mix hydrangeas with roses or peonies for a vintage look.


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Lily Allen

images from marie claire

Singer and fashion designer Lily Allen recently married Sam cooper in a typical village wedding, their ceremony took place at St James the Great , a picturesque church in the Cotswolds.  Lily wore a vintage style dress by French designer Delphine Manivet, it featured a sweetheart neckline with lace sleeves and overlay with a long train.   She also wore a full length 1920s veil adorned with two large flowers.

Lily carried a gorgeous bouquet of country garden flowers in soft pastel shades.  Her bouquet featured garden roses, spray roses, peonies, hydrangea and field pennycress.  Her bridesmaids wore floaty peach dresses and carried small version of Lily’s bouquet.  The flower girls wore ivory lace dresses and wore circlets of flowers in their hair.

Bride's maids

Either side of the entrance to the church there were two large arrangements of garden flowers in blues, purples and whites including delphinium, peony, hydrangea, scabious and viburnum.

Lily Allen church flowers

A palette of pastel colours is perfect for a vintage themed wedding.  If you want to achieve the same classic look, pick flowers such as stocks that are available in lovely pastels shades including pinks, lillacs and creams. Scabious is another pretty garden flower, in either soft blue or white.  Lily Allen had gorgeous garden roses in peachy apricot tones, the David Austin rose Juliet is a lovely peach garden rose.

David Austin Juliet rose

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