Botanique Workshop head florist Pip describes the her favourite flowers coming into season right now...
May is upon us, and with it comes the appearance of lots of summer blooming flowers, hooray! If you have been into either of our shops in the last week you may have spotted the arrival of the ever-popular peonies making a return to the flower stands. There will be more varieties available soon, some of which are British-grown, as the season progresses.
The growing season for peonies is typically from May through to July, which is when you will see British-grown peonies, although it is often possible to buy them out of season by sourcing them from Holland where they have been bought from growers in Israel, Kenya, Chile and Ecuador. However, now is definitely the time to enjoy them, flowers are always at their best when bought in season, especially if they can be bought from local growers.
The pale pink Sarah Bernhardt variety of peony is a particular favourite, both sold in our shops and also used in many the weddings we do at this time of year. It’s not difficult to see why these flowers are so popular with brides, their delicate multi-layered petal structure in whites, pinks and coral tones are a beautiful and blowsy feature to any bridal bouquet.
Caring for cut-stem peonies requires keeping the water in the vase clean, cutting their stem after buying them and before placing back into water, and keeping out of direct sunlight if you want them to last as long as possible. Cutting your stems at an angle is a method used by florists to maximize the surface area of the bottom of the stem allow the flower to take in as much water as possible to keep flower looking its best. To encourage tight peonies to open, it is sometimes helpful it sit them in some warm water, and place them in a sunny spot for a short time. Sadly, once peonies have fully opened they don’t last as long as many other cut flowers, but you should be able to enjoy them for 3-5 days once they have fully opened – definitely worth it in our eyes!
Another of my favourite early summer flowers is Sweet Pea. I love them for their pretty, delicate look, their colour varieties and of course their beautiful scent. We have had some amazing long trailing stems of sweet pea in the shop recently, which are grown in Italy and proved extremely popular. There will be plenty of British sweet peas available as the season continues. Holland also grows many types of sweet pea which can be surprisingly long lasting for such a delicate flower.
Nigella, or Love-in-a-mist flower is another small pretty flower we have for sale at the moment. Available in pale blues, purples and white, its stem foliage is light and fluffy and almost as pretty as the flower itself, but note that they are not as long lasting as many of the stronger more robust flowers. Again we suggest keeping water in your vase clean, re-cutting the stem ends before placing back into water, and out of direct sunlight to prolong the length of your flowers once you have got them home. Nigella is a cottage garden favourite, and no doubt you will be able to spot nigella growing in and around people’s gardens during the early summer months.
As a florist, it really is a wonderful time of year, look out for other new season flowers too in our shops (and in peoples gardens!) such as Campanula, Allium, Alchemilla Mollis, Bupleurum, Delphinium, Poppy to name just a few! Our new seasonal bouquets to order via our website are now available, all of which contain many of the flowers mentioned above.