August rounds the corner into autumn, which means it’s time to harvest the fruits of your garden labours, and see what flowers can be brought into the home for a longer life.
At this time of year early summer flowers begin to turn to seed and fruits are set and ripening on the bough. You can feel it in the mornings, the cooler dewy air bringing a sharp autumnal vibrant tone to flowers and plants – greens begin to yellow, and fields of grasses turn golden as the sun lowers itself on the horizon. Time spent in a chair regarding the garden around you right now is time well spent.
Good flowers for cutting and drying.
Dahlias – Native to Mexico, they don’t like the wet or cool too much, so if growing them for floristry a tunnel is needed, or a sheltered patch of soil in good sun. As the tubers need lifting over the winter, they can be grown in extra large tubs on a patio.
Otto’s Thrill – a showy pink flower, I love it for the huge size it reaches – 14” across last year, so let’s see if I can beat that. The real supermodel of the bunch though is the almost nude colour of Café au Lait – it makes an elegant statement bloom in a bouquet or in a vase.
Hydrangeas – now at their peak but wait a while longer for cutting and drying. If you want to play with the tones of your Hydrangea’s colour, you can buy Hydrangea Colourant in most DIY stores. Old habits were to use rusted nails, but the powder is safer!
Delphinium & Larkspur – Keep their intense blue hue, and become brittle like wheat. Perfect for floral confetti, but as petals become damp again, they may stain fabrics or flooring
Lavender – Fades to a lilac hue, scented.
Poppies -The seedheads are architectural and look great sprayed in metallic hues in Christmas arrangements.
Achillea – Yarrow has huge flat umbel flowers that stay upright once dried.
When cutting flowers from your own garden to use in arrangements, always cut first thing in the morning, and stand in deep buckets of cool water for an hour or so. Trim off any leaves on the lower stem that will be below the water line in your vase before arranging them. Keep the water fresh in the vase to prolong flower blooms.
The secret to drying flowers is to complete the dehydration quickly and smoothly, typically hanging them upside down in a bunch, in a dark warm airy place, or above a radiator perhaps. Kitchens, though warm tend to be too steamy at times!
Article by: Tara Maloney
Sign up to the TLM Newsletter