Flowers are my favourite of life’s simple pleasures. Whether I’m giving or receiving a bunch, admiring or arranging, buying from a fancy florist or simply picking them in the wild, flowers make me genuinely happy in a way that nothing else can.
It’s that time of year again when I longingly look forward to the long lingering summer days yet I’m awfully displeased at the passing of Spring. For me, nothing highlights the fast approach of Summer, like returning from the flower market with peonies instead of ranunculus. Oh how I wish I could have these blooms all year round; they’re my top two favourite flowers ever! Although they’re pretty pricey blooms I always think they’re worth the splurge.
Here are my 5 favourite blooms in season during Spring/Summer and a few tips on how to make the most of a bunch.
1. Peony – I LOVE peonies; they hold a special place in my heart. Specifically the Dr. Alexander Flemming, the Attar of Roses and the Auguste Dessert varieties. It’s the vivid, sugar pink, double petals surrounding golden stamens, and that intense fragrance that sets them apart from the more popular Sarah Bernhardt variety; making me love them even more. Oh the magic, watching this flower bloom from a tight, rounded fist to an outstanding show of delicate frilly feminine beauty. You can literally watch as it opens; just place the stem in warm water or move your arrangement to a very warm room and stand by. It’s a sight to behold! I can never resist buying this flower.
Flower Power Tip: The fullness of opened peonies make them perfect for single stem display in bud vases; a few stalks of lavender adds a nice touch in appearance and fragrance.
2. Ranunculus – Considering my serious obsession with very bright colours, it should come as no surprise that ranunculus are among my top 5 favourite blooms. These multi-layered beauties are like a dream. The petals look like the brightly coloured crepe paper I used to make flowers as a child. They’re so thin, delicate and perfectly formed, they sometimes look unreal. Beyond their intrinsic beauty, ranunculus make great container plants and they last remarkably long as cut flowers too. What’s not to like?!
Flower Power Tip: Cutting the stems every other day and changing the water makes ranunculus last much longer as cut flowers.
3. Hyacinth – Wonderfully fragrant and extravagant in appearance, the arrival of the hyacinth truly signifies the arrival of Spring. The bell shaped blossoms bloom in dense clusters, curling outwards to create the most uniform and complex design you’ll ever see in a flower. They’re characterised by a lovely sweet fragrance and are found in shades of white, peach, orange, salmon, yellow, pink, carmine red, purple, lavender, indigo and azure blue. Yes, you guessed it, there’s a shade out there for everyone.
Flower Power Tip: Hyacinths last longer with the bulbs so it’s worth investing in bulb vases for your fragrant display.
4. Poppy – The striking beauty of this papery, cup shaped bloom draws me in every time. I never get to take these home as the don’t do very well as cut flowers, but I savour the moments I get to enjoy their existence. Whether it’s in a garden or even as we drive by poppy fields in the English countryside.
Here’s an excerpt from my ode to the poppy: Delicate flowers standing tall and strong, grasping tightly to slender green stems. When the fierce wind blows, these fragile but brave ones close their petals to protect themselves and the next generation – the precious seeds they carry inside.
When life throws crap at me, I think of myself as a pretty red poppy. Try it; it helps!
Flower Power Tip: A good cut flower alternative to poppies are anemones. They bear a striking resemblance to poppies and are available in a wide range of colours – pink, red, white and purple to name a few. It’s an equally beautiful flower which is bound to last longer in a vase than a poppy would.
5. Craspedia – Commonly known as billy balls, billy buttons and woolyheads, craspedia is an aesthetically pleasing spherical golden flower, made up of many tiny florets. It comes from the genus of daisies. The shape and colour of this flower makes it very versatile for use in any floral arrangement. I like coupling them with sugar pink peonies, hot pink ranunculus and even with small succulents. When the vibrant yellow colour of this delightful flower fades, just hang them upside-down in a cool, dry place and reuse in a dried flower arrangement in autumn.
Flower Power Tip: Try to cut the stems under water, if possible, so that they last a longer time in the vase.
What are your favourite blooms of the season?