Backyard Bouquet Sun Perennials

Who can resist the splendor of a bouquet of freshly cut flowers ? How would you like to grow your own bouquets for family and friends? Sun perennials (SP) offer a sustainable and economical choice for a cutting garden. Once established they will yield a harvest of blooms year after year. Many will even repeat bloom after cutting. With a little planning you can have fresh flowers in spring, summer, and fall. For success these plants are best grown in full sun or part shade.

For our 2013 CGC plant sale we have chosen a variety of sun perennials that are great for cutting and arranging. Use the flower pictures on display at our SP booth to “Pick” the blooms that suit your lifestyle, décor, and color preference. We also provide planting tips and information to get you growing. Among the many choices we have available here are some highlights.

If your taste is toward the modern, consider Geum. These showy plants produce masses of bright flowers in tropical colors such as mango, tangerine and red.
For those with a fondness for the shire may we recommend Erygium ‘Blue Hobbit’ a dwarf variety of sea holly. Use the unusual spiny silver blue flowers of this plant to add whimsy to an arrangement.

Flower bouquetDianthus, the perennial variety of carnations, produces many fragrant long lasting flowers in shades of pink with white and red accents. As a bonus, the blue-green foliage of dianthus is beautiful almost year round in the garden.

To create a vibrant summer bouquet choose Achillea ‘Saucy Seduction’ with large rosy pink flowers and subtle white shading or the daisy like yellow and red flowers of Gaillardia, Coreopsis, or Helianthus.

For true daisy flowers select Leucanthemums (Shasta daisies) with their large 5”white flowers with yellow centers. Add hot colors such as marmalade orange, magenta, or reddish-orange by growing some of the new Echinacea (cone flowers) varieties also available in double pompom type petals.

Who can resist lilies for bright floral beauty? Try one of the new “Lilly Looks” dwarf (12-20” Ht.) cultivars of Asiatic lilies. The small compact plants make them well suited for container gardening.

For an old fashioned look make a bouquet with a few large delicate peony blooms or try Phlox ‘tiara’ for its fragrant long lasting white rose-bud like flowers.

For those who are fond of blue, we offer many choices, including Campanula, Salvia Madeline with amazing bicolor flowers, Scabiosa ‘Giant Blue’, Veronica ‘Blue Bomb’ and ‘Blue Streak’, aromatic Nepeta (catmint), and Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’.

To add height and energy to an arrangement consider some of the SP varieties which produce colorful floriferous stalks of flowers. Lobelia (Cardinal flower) has long blooming scarlet colored tubular stems. The new Fan®Series of Lobelia offers long blooming stems in shades of deep blue, dark rose-pink and salmon-pink. Long lasting Penstemons also grow beautiful tubular flower stalks of pink, white, purple, red and blue.

For a vertical element consider the slender delicate stalks of Siberian Iris topped with gorgeous bicolor blooms in colors of yellow, white, and purple. These make splendid cut flowers.

To fill in your floral arrangement look to your yard or vegetable garden for foliage. Consider the fragrant lacy foliage of Achillea, fennel or carrot or the beautiful multi-textured leaves of Hosta and Heuchura.

When growing perennials, be patient, as flower yields may be modest the first year. True rewards come the second year. By the third year you should have an abundant harvest for sharing with neighbors. For sustainable gardening remember to toss your spent bouquets in your compost pile and let them nourish future bouquets. Experience the joy of giving, share a bouquet of home grown flowers with friends and neighbors.

The Civic Garden Center’s annual Plant Sale is May 4, 9 am-3 pm and May 5, 11 am-3 pm on our grounds, located at 2715 Reading Rd in Cincinnati. To learn more about arranging colorful flowers in your garden, check out our class on April 17 from 6-8 pm, Color for Every Season. You can register on our website.

– Mary Bishop, Civic Garden Center Board vice-president, chair of the Sun Perennials booth at THE Plant Sale

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