Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Lavender, the most wonderful of the herbs. It’s fragrance and beauty are unmatched. What would summer be like without it? Lavender makes such a wonderful cut flower.
Though lavender is commonly used in floral arrangements, the other herbs are often ignored. That’s a shame. They can add beauty, color, texture, and fragrance to designs. Herbs suitable for cut flowers include annuals, perennials, and shrubs.
Yarrow is common in herb gardens. It is also grown as a perennial. Available in many colors, this herb is very versatile as a cut flower.
One of the most popular herbs happens to be purple coneflower or Echinacea. In addition to the ordinary purple one, there are many kinds available. You can even buy white ones.
For arrangements, one of my favorite herbs is beebalm. The fluffy blooms are unusually shaped, and add an interesting touch. This flower is available in many colors, but pinks and reds seem to be the most common. If you’re buying plants for your cutting garden, do choose mildew resistant varieties.
Common garden sage has beautiful flowers. They open on long stalks in late spring to early summer.
About the same time my chives come into bloom. Appearing as long-stalked, rounded puffy heads the flowers are usually pale lavender. However, there are white-flowering ones available.
Tansy is often used as a cut flower. This plant also has very nice foliage.
Now there are some outstanding varieties of ornamental oreganos. These are ideal for cut flowers.
For cut flowers, the basils just can’t be beat. This is usually grown for culinary purposes, but the flowering stems are just too beautiful to neglect. Some have wonderfully colored stems. Depending on the variety being grown, the blooms may be white or purple.
St. Johns wort is a versatile herb. It is used as a medicinal plant, but the unusual blooms are great as a cut flower. Depending on the kind being grown, this may be a perennial or a shrub. In addition to the flowers, it also bears attractive unusual fruits. They are now used as a cut flower, and should be available from various retail sources.
Foxglove is often grown in shady herb gardens. Its flowering stems are just stunning. Whether you want a true perennial or a biennial foxglove, just take your pick. I grow a white-flowering kind that is a perennial.
Often foxgloves are biennials, meaning they bloom the second year after they’re planted, and then die. The exception is ‘Foxy,’ which will bloom the first year, and re-bloom the following year. In addition to the original tall flowering stem, most foxgloves will produce additional flowers later on side shoots near the base of the plant. They aren’t as tall as the original one, but otherwise they are just as lovely.
Anise-hyssop is often grown in perennial gardens. Though the flowers may vary somewhat in color, the ones I’ve used are usually white or purple to pink. A single plant can produce a number of flowering stems, so you probably won’t need many if you’re growing this.
During the fall, joe-pye weed blooms. This beautiful herb makes a great cut flower.
Calendula, or pot marigold, is an annual herb. The daisy-like blooms tend to be vivid hot colors, such as yellow and orange, or softer pastels. Though the stems tend to be short, they are often used in floral arrangements.
The catmints have long been a favorite in cut flower gardens. These herbs
have gray-green, velvety foliage. Usually the blooms will be either white or
Every floral arrangement needs some foliage to provide visual interest. Herbs can provide that. I often like to use the variegated artemisias and the tri-color sage. Dill is also wonderful. For foliage, I also use that of the horehound, because the beautifully textured leaves are so gorgeous. The ornamental mints can also be used. I have a variegated one as well as a curly one that are just ideal for this.