The 10 best cut flowers to grow from seed for the mindful gardener
In this blog I am going to share with you my top 10 cut flowers to grow mindfully from seed.
Each plant or flower I’m going to talk about has been selected for its ability to entrance one of your senses. For the beginner mindful gardener tuning in to your senses is a great way to hone your practice and benefit from the relaxation gardening can bring.
As their name suggests these clambering stems from the pea family, scramble up anything you give them opportunity to (mine are going to be using this year’s Christmas tree to climb up) before bursting into bold brightly coloured sweetly scented blooms that will captivate your attention whenever you are near. Their seeds have a tough coat that needs to split before they can germinate. You can give them a helping hand to do this by soaking them in water overnight before planting so they swell.
Delicate white or purple flowers pepper the tops of these cottage garden favourites. Grown as a biennial, i.e. sown this year, produce flowers next year. They will flower during the May gap. If you’ve not heard me talk about this before, then it is the mindful florist's worst nightmare. Unless she has been canny and asked the mindful gardener to sow some biennials! Its that gap between the spring flowering bulbs finishing and the annual flowers starting to bloom, and we can find ourselves with a distinct lack of flower to arrange.
A very easy to grow cut and come again plant. This means that the more you cut the flowers the more the plant will produce. Big round daisy shaped flowers surrounded by almost ferny like leaves lends a wonderfully light quality to a bouquet.
Antirrhinum or Snapdragon
A classic spire shape (one of my 5 must-have flowers shapes in every bouquet). These beauties are actually perennial plants i.e. they will come back year after year, but their flowering capability is much lower in subsequent years, so I like to grow them as an annual plant and sow fresh seeds each year.
A quick word about foliage here. It is really easy when growing cut flowers to get carried away with all the pretty flowers, but what you really need to make an arrangement come together is some great foliage. The contrasting hot lime green and darker green of the stems in this plant really draws the eye and the fact that the more you cut the more it grows means it had to make it into my top ten.
Now your average zinnia wouldn’t be a treat for your sense of touch but the zinderella variety has been grown to ensure it has this wonderful fluffy collar around the eye of the flower. It was actually my little girl who drew my attention to this last summer when she would stroke them and say ‘ah’. The fact that I didn’t notice this is a sure fire sign that I was rushing through life like we all do, and this served as a great reminder to stop, look and appreciate. This variety is available in a few different colours, Peach, lilac, purple and red.
Panicum elegans 'Frosted explosion'
Not only will you find your hand reaching out to brush through the airy fronds of this plant as you wander on past, but the little seed pods on the ends of the stems really catch your attention in arrangements too. Easy to grow and once you’ve bought it once you won’t need to keep on buying it as it is the easiest seed to save and re-sow the next year.
These are a relatively new addition to my cutting garden and I have to say they are so versatile. A wonderful green when picked fresh that adds a lovely bit of nodding movement to an arrangement (I usually group them in bunches of 5 to 10 stems for maximum impact). Once picked stand the stems upright in a jar and they will dry of their own accord. Whether fresh or dried when the wind blows through your patch of briza maxima the gently knocking together of the seed heads is a wonderous sound. A word of warning though, this will readily self-seed so plant it somewhere you are happy for it to stay!
Cerinthe Purpurescens or Honeywort
On to another self- seeder (a good thing in my opinion as you get free plants for zero effort) and also a plant that appeals to your sense of sound. In a slightly different way this time though. As the sound that these beauties will bring, is the sound of gently humming from the bees that will be ALL over your patch of cerinthe. So whether you are sitting enjoying a cup of tea with the sun shining on your face while the bees buzz merrily or incorporating some of these silvery/ purple headed stems into a bouquet this is a staple of the mindful gardener and mindful florist’s toolkit.
Otherwise known as a pot marigold, you have probably come across these scattered across a salad as a peppery garnish.
As well as being delightfully edible (teas, garnishes for salads, butter, even adding their pizazz to floral ice cubes) they are also great as a cut flower. Coming in shades of orange, yellow and dusky red their round disc shape, the fact that the self-seed freely and their cut and come again nature makes them a go to flower in my opinion.
So now you’ve heard what my top 10 are, how about giving some mindful seed sowing a try? Some great ones to start with now are sweet peas and antirrhinum, you might want to wait until early march for the others as they aren’t quite as hardy. If you are new to gardening, or perhaps you’ve done a bit of gardening but you’d like to make your gardening tasks a little more mindful then check out my blog post ‘How to sow your seeds mindfully’ that has plenty of ideas to get you started (I’ll link it below).
If you’d like a little more support then my 12 month Mind in Bloom membership programme is launching in beta mode next week! Members, get regular access to me and my mindful gardening and floristry knowledge, in the form of a private Facebook group, monthly Garden live sessions (via zoom) as well as online video tutorials, worksheets and checklists, as well as a monthly mindful gardening activity sent to you in the post. The beta aspect means that I will be asking you for feedback as you work through the programme, to make sure it is as good as it possibly can be and in return you will get a whopping 25% discount. Here's the link to the waitlist. You’ll want to be on it as places are limited.