A late summer bouquet
Rozanne Delamore, The Ledbury Flower Farmer, talks us through the abundance of her late summer cutting patch and what’s been inspiring her gift bouquets in recent weeks.
I love the exuberance of the cutting patch in late summer here in rural Herefordshire when it’s full of blousy cosmos and the precision geometry of dahlias. There are also lots of seed heads and grasses which I treasure for their graceful forms.
All bouquets need three types of flower: focal flowers (large eye-catchers), secondary flowers (slightly smaller than the focals and a complementary colour) and fillers (smaller, airier ingredients which fill out the spaces and add a bit of movement and often contrasting forms). Most of my late summer bouquets have dahlias as their focal flower although the recent second flush of roses means that recently I’ve been able to include these too. They’ve been accompanied by secondary flowers like malope, alstromeria and snapdragons or small sunflowers. For fillers, and for a splash of colour and interest I’ve used statice and cosmos along with salvia viridis or painted sage. For a delicate upper storey and to add movement, I love the delicacy of seed heads and grasses – my favourites at this time of year are frosted explosion, feather top grass and fox tail barley.
For foliage I continue to enjoy the delicate glaucus blue of chickpeas (see bouquet below) – I bought dried chickpeas from my local supermarket and simply planted them! The foliage is very like a wild vetch but bigger, with small white flowers and some pea pods on it too! I also use orach now that it has formed shapely seed fronds (see photo above) and which customers can dry and save. They can then harvest the dried seeds to plant for a crop of their own next year. A bouquet that keeps on giving! Chick pea and orach are both annual foliages (they grow just for a season, set seed and then die off) and unlike shrubs you don’t have to wait for them to mature before you can pick them. I have a space set aside especially for shrubs in my cutting area I have recently loved using my cotinus, pink snowberry, false indigo, abelia (which also has a lovely scent). For perennials (plants which flower, die back and regrow the next season), I find sedum especially useful as you can use it in bouquets either young, for texture and a lovely blue green colour, or mature for its chunky broad pink florets.
Having so many gorgeous ingredients to choose from allows each bouquet I make to be completely unique. I love the ease with which late summer colours complement each other. The great thing about growing my own flowers and foliage is that I’m always spoiled for choice and can choose what’s looking loveliest so that my customers can enjoy the best of the moment too!
Find out more about The Ledbury Flower Farmer