January sown Sweet Pea varieties for 2019

With the Christmas and New year festivities behind us our thoughts are turning to the new gardening year.  Sowing sweet peas just after Christmas has become a bit of a tradition and makes you feel that the new year has begun even though the January weather is cold and uninviting.

This year we have decided to create two themes using the following varieties (all available from Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (www.rpsweetpeas.com)).  For us a sweet pea must have a good scent to be worth growing.  We also look for varieties that have a longer flower stem so that they sit well amongst other cottage garden flowers when brought into the house.

Details on how we sow our sweet peas and bring on our plants are also included below.


Pink, red and white selection

Emily (tall grandiflora type – rose pink on a white ground)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Millennium (tall spencer type – crimson)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Zorija Rose (tall grandiflora type – deep rose shades)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Hannah Dale (tall early grandiflora type – purple maroon)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Mollie Rilstone (tall spencer type – cream with a pink edge)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

CCC (tall grandiflora type – white)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Blue and white collection

Blue Danube (tall spencer type – mid-blue)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Just Jenny (tall spencer type – navy blue)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

King Size Navy Blue (tall semi-grandiflora type – navy blue)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Greenfingers (tall grandiflora type – cream with a violet edge)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Adorabel (tall grandiflora type – lavender turning mauve blue)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Dragonfly (tall semi-grandiflora type – cream marked with lavender)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

CCC (tall grandiflora type – white)

Photo credit:  Roger Parsons Sweet Peas (real-time link to http://www.rpsweetpeas.com)

Sowing and growing sweet peas

There seems to be a lot of mystique around sowing sweet peas but we have always found them very easy to grow and need no specialist equipment or seed treatment.  Although in the past we have soaked the seed overnight before sowing we have not found this necessary to get good germination.  Roger Parsons ( www.rpsweetpeas.com ) indicates that soaking or chipping the seed may in fact reduce germination.

We certainly have good success with the following approach:

  • Sow 3 or 4 seeds in January in standard 9cm pots in a mix of multi-purpose compost and perlite.
  • Water well and place on the kitchen window sill (this is usually around a constant 18°C-20°C).  Do not water again until the seedlings start to emerge.
  • You will typically see the first seedlings show themselves in about 7-14 days.
  • Once the seedlings have emerged we move them out into a cold, unheated greenhouse.  They are best grown on hard in plenty of light so that they do not get leggy.  If the temperature drops to below -5°C they may need some protection.
  • We keep the seedlings up high on the greenhouse staging so that there is less risk of mice and other rodents getting to them.
  • Once the plants have reached four leaves, pinch out the tops of all the plants so that they bush out.
  • In around mid-March, we harden off for a couple of weeks before planting out into the garden.  We have grown them up canes in the past but this requires a lot of attention to ensure the plants are tied in effectively.  More recently we have found that standard pea and bean netting works particularly well as long as you buy a decent quality that can be used again and again over a number of years.
  • You should create a deep well dug planting trench incorporating lots of well-rotted organic matter into the soil both to hold the moisture and feed the hungry plants through the season.
  • Plant out the whole pot of 3 or 4 plants together without disturbing the roots and water in well.  Each pot should be planted around 12 inches apart and the tendrils gently encouraged to take a grip of the netting.
  • The final stage for us (if we don’t want to have wasted all our hard work) is to run chicken wire around the base of the row to keep the rabbits at bay.

All you need to do now is stand back and watch them grow making sure that you keep them regularly watered and fed with a liquid feed every couple of weeks once they are flowering.   As soon as they start to flower pick them regularly (probably every day).  The more you pick the more flowers you will get!

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The new rose garden begins to flower – very exciting!

When we started this blog last September we described our dreams and plans to create a beautiful new flower garden.  Our intention was to move away from a cut garden focused purely on growing cut flowers for sale in regimented straight beds to a more aesthetically pleasing space, still a cutting garden but somewhere that you want to stop, sit and enjoy.

During the winter we spent many hours preparing the ground and setting out the new layout, planting the new formal hedging and building the new rose arches.  In March we started to plant out all the new roses we had spent many happy hours choosing from the catalogues.

Despite all the challenges with the weather during the long cold, wet winter and now the heat and drought of mid-summer, the new roses are developing wonderfully.  Behind the new short clipped hedge we have planted a selection of pink and white roses ranging from deep dusky pink through mid-pink to pure white.  All have been chosen for their scent, repeat flowering and suitability for cutting.

All four varieties have been flowering for some weeks now and with regular dead heading are continuing to repeat flower.  The foliage seems to be disease free so far.

Here are the four varieties we have planted in this area:

Rose "Sweet Parfum de Provence"
Rose “Sweet Parfum de Provence”
Rose "Prince Jardinier"
Rose “Prince Jardinier”
Rose "A Whiter Shade of Pale"
Rose “A Whiter Shade of Pale”
Rose "White Perfumella"
Rose “White Perfumella”

We have written previously about our plans for enhancing the garden in the evenings with white blooms that shine out in the dusk and with scent that hangs in the air ( Zaluzianskya – Twilight Scent ).  These light coloured blooms have been introduced as part of these plans with the aim of illuminating the walk around the garden at dusk.


Honey Pot Flowers are wedding and celebration florists based in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom specialising in natural, locally grown seasonal flowers. We grow many of our own flowers allowing us to offer something very different and uniquely personal.

 

 

Zaluzianskya – Twilight Scent

Last autumn we were inspired by Lia Leendertz’s book Twilight Garden¹ and we undertook to increase the number of plants and flowers that come into their own in the evening light. Our aim was to increase the impact of the garden as the sun goes down adding walk ways of light and scented flowers around the garden and, in particular, in areas where we sit of an evening.

This summer has proved to be perfect – hot and dry and ideal for sitting out on those long balmy evenings.

There are a number of plants listed in Lia’s book that we have not come across before. One of these is Zaluzianskya or Night Phlox. It is a rather uninspiring plant during the heat of the day as all the flowers close up showing only the maroon undersides of the petals. Come the evening however, the flowers open into a myriad of shining white stars that seem to glow in the fading light. Their wonderful scent begins to hang in the air. Scents are often difficult to describe but we both feel the scent of Zaluzianskya is interestingly different from many other flowers. To my mind it is a complex aroma of honey and sweets with a spicy edge.

The species that we have grown from seed is Zaluzianskya capensis ‘Midnight Candy’ ( available from Chiltern Seeds ). Lia’s book talks also of a different species Zaluzianskya ovata which we may well try next year having had so much success with Z. capensis this year.

If you are looking to bring a new dimension to your garden in the evening this is something fun to try. It will certainly be a talking point if you use your garden for sitting out and entertaining.

On using Zaluzianskya as a cut flower the jury is still out. It does cut and we have placed it in water in small ‘jam-jar’ arrangements. The flowers do seem to open in the evening for a dinner party but we have found that the scent does not seem to be as intense as from those flowers opening in the fresh air on the patio. Why we are not yet sure. Our conclusion so far is therefore to grow it in small pots so that you can bring out the potted plants and place them strategically where you want them.

Well worth having a try if you have not grown this before.

Latin name: Zaluzianskya capensis

Height: 45cm

Hardy annual

Common name: Night Phlox

Native origins: South Africa

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Further Reading

¹ “Twilight garden – a guide to enjoying your garden in the evening hours” by Lia Leendertz (ISBN 9781862059115)

 


Honey Pot Flowers are wedding and celebration florists based in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom specialising in natural, locally grown seasonal flowers. We grow many of our own flowers allowing us to offer something very different and uniquely personal.

Six colourful “cabbages” on Saturday

We may be very used to eating their green vegetable cousins but some members of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae) prove to be very colourful, and in some instances highly perfumed, garden plants.

Here are six that are currently flowering in the garden or will be coming into bloom in the next few weeks.  Some like wallflowers, honesty and sweet rocket are biennials and we seeded these last summer  (To sow or not to sow? When is the right time to sow seeds for the flower garden?) and planted out in the early autumn to overwinter in the flower beds.  Others (eg. candytuft and aubretia) are fully hardy perennials.

The old family name Cruciferae is derived from the structure of the four petals of the flowers arranged in the shape of a cross.  Most have pod-like seed heads and some (eg. honesty) provide beautiful cutting and arranging material in their own right.

Although some of these may be considered rather ‘old fashioned’ flowers, I think that with good design they can be used to great effect to create strong vibrant and highly scented combinations that work well in a contemporary setting.

It is worth being aware that being  closely related to other brassicas these varieties can suffer from the same pests and diseases as other members of the cabbage family.  It is worth rotating their position around the garden trying not to plant into the same soil year after year.

Here are my six for this week:


One:  Wallflower – this is wallflower ‘Blood red’ and ‘Fire King’ set amongst Jan Reus tulips to great effect.  We also have wallflower ‘Fire King’ flowering with deep blue perennial cornflowers to create a striking contrast.

Tulip Jan Reus mixed with Ballerina and scented Fire King and Blood Red wallflowers
Tulip Jan Reus mixed with Ballerina and scented Fire King and Blood Red wallflowers

Two:  Cuckoo Flower or Lady’s Smock ( Cardamine pratensis ) – this is a charming spring flower that emerges in damp grassland year after year.  Its names derives from the fact that it flowers at the same as the first cuckoos are heard.  It is also the food plant for Orange Tip butterflies ¹.

20180511_155842 Cuckoo Flower
Cuckoo Flower (Cardemine pratensis)

Three: Honesty (Lunnaria annua) – growing here in the woodland walk and providing a vivid additional colour in the dappled shade.

Honesty (Lunaria annua)
Honesty (Lunaria annua)

Four:  Sweet Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) – a biennial that was sown last summer and nutured throughout the winter.  The purple and white flowers have a wonderful scent ideal for filling the evening garden with perfume or cutting for the house.

Hesperis in the cutting garden
Hesperis in the cutting garden

Five: Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) – this hardy perennial plant on the edge of the rockery seems to thrive every year.

Candytuft
Candytuft

Six: Aubretia – an immediately familiar plant but one that I only recently discovered was in the Brassicaceae .  In spring these mounds of Aubretia tumble down the walls at the front of the house making a spectacular sight every year.  Once flowered it is important to cut them into shape and trim off the flower heads with shears so that you get fresh lush growth to flower next year.

Aubretia contrasting with the fresh green of Euonymus
Aubretia contrasting with the fresh green of Euonymus

The Six on Saturday meme is hosted by The Propagator. Click on the link to see what other plant lovers are chatting about.


Honey Pot Flowers are wedding and celebration florists based in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom specialising in natural, locally grown seasonal flowers. We grow many of our own flowers allowing us to offer something very different and uniquely personal.

Spring sunshine and tulips in full bloom

Back in the autumn we were planning our spring tulip display (Tulips – planning and planting for 2018).  At the time you never really know how it will turn out – but that is half the fun.

Now, in May, we are enjoying all that designing, planning and planting to the full.  Here are a few of the highlights.

Tulips Princess Irene, fragrant Brown Sugar and Ballerina contrasted by blue forget-me-nots
Tulips Princess Irene, fragrant Brown Sugar and Ballerina contrasted by blue forget-me-nots
Tulips Aafke, Christmas Pearl, Carvelle, and Finola with Pansy Matrix cassis
Tulips Aafke, Christmas Pearl, Carvelle, and Finola with Pansy Matrix cassis
Tulip Jan Reus mixed with Ballerina and scented Fire King and Blood Red wallflowers
Tulip Jan Reus mixed with Ballerina and scented Fire King and Blood Red wallflowers
Scented Brown Sugar tulips amongst budding Wisteria
Scented Brown Sugar tulips amongst budding Wisteria
Tulips Merlot, Marilyn and Pretty Woman amongst a sea of camassia
Tulips Merlot, Marilyn and Pretty Woman amongst a sea of camassia

 

Narcissus – spring itself

Perhaps it is because Narcissus (Daffodils) are so common and easy to grow that we tend to overlook how interesting and different they are from many other plants.  Spring would certainly not be spring without them and their happy colours bring a breath of fresh air after a long grey, cold winter.

In researching for this article I was surprised to see just how many different species of Narcissus there are.  Anna Pavord ¹ indicates that there are over 50.  It has been equally fascinating to see how the different varieties that we have put in the garden over the years relate to each of these species.

Although we have our own native wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) in Britain, many of the species we grow in our gardens have a distribution centred on the Iberian peninsula with others stretching across France and into Italy and Greece.  They are very easy to establish in the English garden and come back reliably year after year.  Any investment in Narcissus bulbs will give you years of pleasure with very little trouble.

The majority of Narcissus are fully hardy and grow well in full sun or dappled shade.  Most daffodils like soil that is well drained but not too dry in the summer.  Although they look lovely in borders and large tubs they look particularly effective naturalised in grass.  One of my favourite parts of our garden in spring is the orchard where the daffodils have established themselves well at the base of each of the apple, plum, cherry and pear trees.  We have written previously about the orchard in an earlier blog (The Orchard – beautiful in spring, productive in autumn).

Spring daffodils throughout the orchard bring colour before the blossom breaks
Spring daffodils throughout the orchard bring colour before the blossom breaks

Pests

Luckily for us Narcissus have their own inbuilt protection against the common pests in the garden.  Due to the thick, unpleasant and toxic sap most wild animals do not eat Narcissus.  They are rarely eaten by slugs and snails although we do sometimes see damage on the open flowers.

Cutting and conditioning

Whereas Narcissus make excellent cut flowers it is important to recognise that if placed, freshly cut, in a vase of mixed flowers the sap will make the other flowers wilt prematurely.

When cutting Narcissus we always cut into a separate bucket of cool, fresh water away from other flowers.  Every 20 minutes we change the water until the sticky sap stops running from the cut stems.  Once the sap stops running we leave the flowers to condition for a couple of hours in a cool place.  At this point it is safe to incorporate the Narcissus with other mixed flowers in a bouquet or arrangement.   Don’t cut the stems again otherwise the sap will start to run again and contaminate your vase water and affect the other flowers.

Narcissus should be picked when the flowers are still tight and fairly green but their necks have turned towards 90 degrees rather than facing straight up.  They will have a long vase life of up to 10 days if cut at the right stage and properly conditioned.

P1000655

Varieties across the garden

Over nearly 25 years we have planted a huge range of Narcissus throughout the garden and I am afraid that the names of many have been lost in the mists of time.  Carol and I tend to disagree on which we like best but luckily there is a place for all of them.

Some of the more miniature daffodils such as ‘Jenny ‘ and the ever popular ‘Tête-à-tête’ (both Cyclamineus types showing the characteristics of Narcissus cyclamineus) are establishing themselves beautifully in the front of the borders.  As mentioned earlier, the larger trumpet varieties look wonderful in the orchard and woodland.

Miniature daffodil Jenny

Later in the spring the Pheasant Eye’s begin to emerge (Narcissus poeticus).  These have smaller and more delicate flowers and we find these particularly useful for cut flower arrangements.

Pheasant's Eye Narcissus (Narcissus poeticus type)
Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus (Narcissus poeticus type)

Although we like them all, one of our favourites has to be ‘Thalia’.  This is a multi-headed white Narcissus of the Triandrus type which show the characteristics of Narcissus triandrus.

Multiheaded Thalia (Triandrus type daffodil)
Multiheaded Thalia (Triandrus type daffodil)

More recently we have started to introduce ‘Bridal Crown’ and ‘Avalanche’ which both have small fragrant flowers and are of the Tazetta type (related to Narcissus tazetta).  As well as growing well in pots amongst the tulips and violas we have also planted some amongst newly planted roses giving a lovely spring show as the rose bushes begin to break (see: New additions to our garden of Roses and 3 fragrant roses for Autumn).

Narcissus Avalanche (multiheaded Tazetta daffodil)
Narcissus Avalanche (multiheaded Tazetta daffodil)

Family:  Amaryllidaceae

Floriography (the language of flowers):  Self-love ²

And finally a little poetry…

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth (1815)

Further reading

¹ “Bulb” by Anna Pavord (ISBN 978-1-84533-415-4)

² “The language of flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (ISBN 978-0-230-75258-0)


Honey Pot Flowers are wedding and celebration florists based in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom specialising in natural, locally grown seasonal flowers. We grow many of our own flowers allowing us to offer something very different and uniquely personal.

Scabious – the essence of an English Country Garden

Picture yourself in July, the sun is shining and you are taking a gentle amble down a quiet country lane, the warm breeze is reflecting off the track and the blue field scabious (Knautia avensis) are gently moving in the wind.  The butterflies and other insects are quietly working their way amongst the roadside flowers enjoying the rich nectar.  Smiling yet?

Certainly if you are looking to create the look and feel of a meadow in either your garden, at your wedding or in your floristry arrangements then the inclusion of summer flowering scabious is an absolute essential.  They are nectar rich and excellent at attracting a wide range of butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects and they provide a loose, open and natural feel to any arrangement.   With so many species and varieties to choose from you are spoilt for choice.

The naming of Scabious and its relatives

Often referred to as pincushion flowers due to the beautiful detail of the stamens, the name ‘Scabious’ is believed to be derived from ‘scabies’.  In medieval times the plant was reportedly used to treat the severe itching that results from this disease.

The term ‘Scabious’ is commonly used across a number of related genera; Scabiosa, Knautia, Cephalaria and Succisa.  They belong to the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae (although many references still refer to them belonging to the teasel family, Dipsacaceae, which I believe has now been merged with Honeysuckle family² ).

Scabious 'Oxford Blue'
Scabious ‘Oxford Blue’ sits beautifully within this birthday bouquet of whites, blue and yellow. Flowers by Honey Pot Flowers

Getting them started

We usually sow our scabious seeds indoors in half trays of damp compost lightly covered with vermiculite.  I usually cover the trays in cling film until the seedlings start to emerge so I don’t have to worry about watering the trays before the green shoots appear.  We rarely sow straight into the ground as too many of our precious plants succumb to slugs and weeds.  You can sow throughout April so if you want to try these charming plants there is still time.

Once the seedlings are large enough to handle we prick out into modules or trays of compost until the weather is warm enough to harden them off and plant them out.  Don’t be tempted to plant them out too early or they will just sulk.

Willow heart
Dark burgundy Scabiosa atropurpurea, blue ageratum and yellow rudbeckia decorating a hand-made willow heart. Flowers by Honey Pot Flowers

Growing them on

Typically scabious like full sun and well drained soil.  We tend to plant out at one Waverley standard trowel length apart (c. 9 inches).   Growing the young plants in modules makes this so much easier and prevents excessive disturbance when they are planted out.

We do find that some scabious can be a bit wayward and need to be supported if you want long straight stems that are good for cutting and arranging.  We support many of our flowers in the cutting garden using horizontal pea netting.  By stretching across the bed using canes we can raise the height gently as the plants develop.  The holes are big enough to place your hand through for cutting and if you buy a good quality netting it can be used again and again, year after year.

If you want to keep them flowering, keep cutting.  They will flower all summer long until the first frosts cut them back.   However, if you do miss some the seed heads are also very attractive and can make a interesting addition to late summer arrangements.

Lilac Scabiosa atropurpurea and seedhead
Lilac Scabiosa atropurpurea and seed head (right).

Cutting and conditioning

Scabious are very straight forward when it comes to cutting and conditioning.  As with most flowers they are best cut in the early morning before the sun gets too hot.  Cut straight into clean fresh water with floral preservative removing any leaves that lie below the water surface and leave to condition in a cool place for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.  They can be used with floral foam.

The stage of development at which you cut is quite critical if you want to achieve a long vase life.  If you cut a flower that is too mature then the flower will soon shatter and the petals will fall.  It is quite difficult to describe the correct stage in words and so I have tried to illustrate this with the following two pictures of Scabiosa atropurpurea.

Scabious flowers slightly too mature for cutting.
Scabious flowers slightly too mature for cutting. The central florets are all open and the pollen is very visible. Will have a reduced vase life and petals may fall prematurely.
Ideal cutting stage for Scabious.
Ideal cutting stage for Scabious. Central florets are still in bud whilst the outer florets are open

Floriography

Many flowers have traditional meanings and their inclusion in bouquets or posies indicated a particular sentiment or emotion.  Scabious generally signifies ‘unfortunate love’ with Sweet Scabious (Scabiosa atropurpurea) more specifically meaning ‘widowhood’.

Scabiosa atropurpurea

We grow a lot off this S. atropurpurea in the flower garden.  It comes in a wide range of wonderful colours from blue, white, violet, crimson and burgundy.  The darker colours in particular are set off beautifully by the white stamens.  It has a sweet honey like scent and has the common name Sweet Scabious (but is also known as the mourning bride scabious so you may wish to reflect on this if using it in wedding bouquets!).

Although strictly a perennial it is said to only be hardy to zero degrees centigrade.  In our garden in Warwickshire (UK Midlands) it rarely survives the winters and so we treat it like an annual sowing fresh plants each year.  It grows very quickly and flowers throughout the summer if you keep cutting.

When deciding where to plant it think Mediterranean.  Like many flowers if you add too much fertiliser or water you will suppress flowering and get lots of lush foliage instead.

Deep burgundy scabious
Deep burgundy scabious with its white pin cushion stamens makes a striking contrast in this celebration bouquet with dahlias, phlox, liatris and antirrhinums. Flowers by Honey Pot Flowers

Scabiosa caucasica

Scabiosa caucasica is much hardier than S. atropurpurea and is said to be hardy to -18°C.  It originates from the Caucasus, Northern Iran and North Eastern Turkey growing in subalpine meadows and rocky slopes ¹ . Like many Mediterranean plants it is the dampness that will kill it in the winter rather than the cold so it needs to be in a well drained position in the garden.  It is reported¹ to be short lived on acid or wet soils and prefers a chalky or limy soil in full sun.

S. caucasica  has a much flatter flower with a more pronounced centre than S. atropurpurea.  The stems tend to be much sturdier than S. atropurpurea and this makes it an excellent cut flower.  S. caucasica is probably one of our favourite meadow style flowers for incorporating in our country style wedding bouquets at Honey Pot Flowers.  A beautiful flower.

Scabiosa caucasica
Beautiful blue and white country style wedding bouquet incorporating pale blue Scabiosa caucasica, white peonies, blue nigella and white astilbe and veronica. Flowers by Honey Pot Flowers

Knautia macedonica

This is a deep crimson scabious producing many small flowers throughout the summer. It is truely perennial in our garden and is hardy to -20°C or less.  In the wild it grows in scrub and open woods¹.  K. macedonica has been a bit of a labour of love for us having tried on many occasions to germinate it from seed with little success.  Eventually we succeeded and it was worth the effort.

Our treasured plants do however seem to be very tasty and we have to protect them in the early months of the year from both slugs and snails.  Claire Austin does describe it as rabbit resistant although we find we have to protect the young plants from rabbits in the early months.

A charming little plant that adds something very different to the summer garden.  Not terribly useful as a cut flower but lovely in an informal border.

Knautia Knautia macedonica Flower Insect 1626px

(c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man). Location credit to the Chanticleer Garden. [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

Cephalaria gigantea

This one is perhaps something of an impostor in this list.  It is something we have tried to grow from seed on a number of occasions without success.  However, it is such a beautiful plant that I am sure we will try again to get one established.  There is a wonderful specimen in one of our local National Trust properties at Upton House.

As the common name Giant Scabious suggests, C. gigantea is a big plant growing into a large clump of some 6 feet in height.  It is a hardy perennial producing delicate, pale yellow flowers, from June until September.  It is probably not something for the small garden.

Unlike the other scabious listed above, C. gigantea  grows naturally in wet meadows and by streams and is a native of the Caucasus and Northern Turkey¹.

Giant scabious - Flickr - S. Rae
By S. Rae from Scotland, UK (giant scabious) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons 

References

  1. “Perennials:  Volume 2 Late perennials” by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix (ISBN:  0-330-29275-7)
  2. LuontoPortti / NatureGate

 


Honey Pot Flowers are wedding and celebration florists based in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom specialising in natural, locally grown seasonal flowers. We grow many of our own flowers allowing us to offer something very different and uniquely personal.